FIVE THINGS 2015 TAUGHT US ABOUT DIGITAL MARKETING

Digital marketing changes quickly. We’ve known that forever. But lately, it’s changing even more quickly. Our current social media channels are evolving everyday. New competitors are rising through the wood works even faster, but what does that mean? What should our brands care about? What should we takeaway from 2015?

There are five areas, which will impact brands the most. They are based upon the content we create, the ways we disseminate the content, how we amplify it, and the money we are able to put towards it.

CONTENT IS THE WAY

Without great content, not much else matters. The content our brands create must be agnostic of channel and device. It needs to be able to travel the web when being shared, promoted, and shared again. People need to be able to interact with the piece of content on whatever channel they choose and prefer.

SOCIAL IS A BEHAVIOR

Many consider social media a channel, but social has become a behavior. It’s a way of living. We, as consumers, consume content in an instant. We purchase through mobile while we are commuting. We swipe left before we have a chance to engage because we make our decisions in an instant. In turn brands need to be able to grab our attention faster, and keep it before we swipe away. We share when it’s entertaining or informative. We care about what’s shared, because it’s a perception of our personal brand. We wouldn’t share something that’s uncool or boring. As brands, we need to be in tune to these behaviors.

AMPLIFYING ACROSS WEB IS A MUST

Brand have to realize that it’s valuable and important to promote across the web today. Gone are the days of focusing on channel by channel, because as discussed content needs to live everywhere. When a consumer shares a video from YouTube, it can go from Facebook to Twitter to email to Apple TV. Brands must optimize and promote across the web and across devices.

VIDEO IS CLUTCH

With streaming video, video that disappears in seconds or hours, and Facebook profile pictures being able to be videos instead of just pictures, video is not just a choice. First it was visual, now it’s more than that. Consumers want to capture stories and experience things. It’s not about a product, it’s about the experience around it. It’s the brand story and what it stands for. And video is one way a brand can help do that.

HAVE A BUDGET

And the most important. Ensure your marketing team has a budget they can actually work with. Unfortunately, some brands give their marketing teams a little budget as an afterthought. This is no longer enough in order to grow awareness and engagement from a brand marketing standpoint. Without this, your content, your plans, won’t be able to reach their true potential. As you put together your 2016 plans, and you think where you want your brand to be, determine the amount of budget you’ll need to get there, and put an extra amount in (trust me, you’ll end up using it).

And now, let’s make it even bigger in 2016.

This post was originally written for Social Media Club. 

Your Checklist for Working with Influencers to Grow Your Fashion Brand

fashion brand influencers

Influencers is a word that seems to be used all too often. At it’s most basic, it is a word that defines a celebrity, journalist, advocate, social media “star”, or anyone who’s thoughts and opinions have a strong impact on the people who follow them.

Working with influencers to grow awareness of your fashion brand can be a great strategy. But first, you have to identify them.

The biggest thing to remember is that it isn’t just the number of followers a person has that characterizes them as an influencer. It’s typically that they are an expert in a subject matter in some capacity.

Whether you’re a startup or an established brand, it’s important to have some set parameters when working with influencers for a program. This helps to avoid issues when it comes to relevance and authenticity of content and ensuring the brand and influencer will work well together.

Here’s Your Checklist for Working with Influencers to Grow Your Fashion Brand

  1. Start with a lot of research: Check their background, check their current posts. What are they saying, how are they saying it? Do they engage with their following or do they delete comments they don’t like? Do they have an email signup on their website– then sign up. Are they on the platforms that you have seen the most traction for your brand? How often do they post? You cannot do too much research.
  2. Make sure they are on-brand: Do they have the same vibe as your brand? Is their tone complementary to yours? How do they communicate?
  3. They are still using their voice: While it’s important that their tone is complementary to yours, you also want to make sure that they still have their own voice. You want to make sure that don’t ever compromise their own brand in order to make money.
  4. Who are they working with already: Check to see that the influencer isn’t working with your direct competitors recently (at least in the last year).
  5. Are they too obvious: Meaning, often, once an influencer becomes more famous he/she may start saturating their content creation with sponsored stuff. When this happens, they often lose the respect of their following. So it’s good to check if they are still doing original content and sponsored posts are not their primary source of content.
  6. Give ideas: Some influencers (especially celebrities) may be great at what they do, but not so great at coming up with ideas for sponsored content. Don’t be afraid to give them a nudge towards what they could do, so when they create an Instagram post, it doesn’t seem like a blatant ad.
  7. Lay out the terms: Be sure you have stated everything that you want done in the collaboration upfront, including the number of social media posts per channel. How many blog posts you get, whether you’re included in any emails, etc. Also make sure that your brand can utilize their name and the content they create throughout owned, earned, and paid media. Don’t make any assumptions.

The last thing your brand wants is to be associated with sponsored content that isn’t original and valuable. So take the time and follow the list.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

Everything You Can Do Right Now to Leverage Pinterest to Increase Sales

leverage pinterest increase sales fashion business

Pinterest, having launched over 5 years ago, is still a marketer’s dreamland for reaching consumers. It is a visual storyboard for consumers who love to dream and plan. And when it comes to fashion, people are always dreaming…and planning.

With Fashion Week in full swing across the major cities of New York, London, Paris, and more… fashion enthusiasts are drooling over the latest upcoming trends and what they can potentially get their hands on. And with the holidays…(yes really) only a couple months away, people are planning what to buy their friends and family and also themselves.

It’s the perfect opportunity for your startup.

It’s the perfect time of year to be pinning pieces for your current and potential consumers to drool over and covet.

How can you take advantage of Pinterest right now?

Get inside the mind of your customer. Think through their lens. They’re still thinking of fashion week and they’re also looking ahead. Consider the following to get your Pinterest boards ready for both inspiring, planning, and purchasing.

  • Fashion Week lookalikes from your line
  • Influencer curation from the runway and street style
  • Sneak peeks of your holiday line
  • Fall and Winter inspiration
  • Planning for winter getaways

In addition to creating those boards,  your brand can:

  • ask people to contribute pins to your boards. Ask followers to share their favorites from the runway.
  • get in touch with some influencers who were there.
  • share lifestyle content related to the runway cities, holidays, and what your brand stands for (eco-friendly, luxe looks, animal welfare, etc).
  • feature followers who embody what your brand represents through re-pinning their content

Let your community see that their inspirations and planning boards can be a reality with your brand. Give them a chance to attain it.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

Checklist: How to Create a Successful Social Strategy for Your Brand

social strategy fashion business

It’s important to remember that great social media content is the key to being successful on any platform. It sounds obvious but a lot of brands (especially those with minimal resources), post things on social, just to post. There’s not a thoughtful approach. Furthermore, social media is more than a channel. It’s not just Facebook and Twitter. It’s a behavior that people have daily. And in order to reach them, brands need content that truly connects with their target audience.

So how do we build a social strategy that will be successful for your brand? Let’s consider this formula:

First: Do the Research

  • Identify your target based psychographics (what they value and care about)
  • See where they spend time online (are they on Instagram 10 times a day or do they tweet every last thought that pops into their heads?)
  • Compare how your competition fairs on these channels (what are brands that are similar to your doing?)

Second: Put Together Your Plan

  • Identify your overall purpose or goal for each platform (think more creatively than “making more sales”- mailing list sign ups is a good one)
  • Choose a few different kinds of content that you think will resonate with your audience (be specific- if you want to post inspirational quotes, what kind? About what topic? Around what sentiment?)
  • Identify the platforms you’ll use and their purpose for your brand and reaching your customer (i.e. customers use Pinterest to dream/plan – let them dream about their upcoming Fall wardrobe made by your brand)
  • Consider content formats and frequency per channel (i.e. Twitter will have a larger frequency than Facebook)
  • Identify content sources for creation/curation/co-creation (how will you make these graphics? Where will you find these interesting articles? etc)
  • Create success metrics to measure by (video views, website visits, social shares)

Third: Get Moving

  • Create the content!
  • Test your content
  • Measure your content against the goals you created
  • Review and assess, then make changes as you learn what’s working and what’s not

Tools You Need:

  • An editorial calendar to keep track of your monthly content per channel, and allows you to plan ahead for upcoming cultural events
  • A scheduling tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite
  • A budget to boost and target posts that are successful and important for an upcoming campaign or product launch

Finally:

  • Create a crisis and response management plan for when things go wrong – because eventually something usually does
  • Determine how you will mix in customer service or separate it from your posts within each channel

Your content is part of your brand’s identity and it should be created with similar thought and care as your collections.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

The Top Ten Reasons We Love Social Media

As brands, social media has been a way to reach and interact with consumers on a level that resonates with their behaviors on a day to day basis. They’re already there. They’re using channels they way they prefer. For example on Pinterest they’re planning and dreaming for their future; while on Periscope they’re getting an inside look; and on Instagram they’re building and sharing their own stories.
And as brands that is pretty great. It allows us to understand our target audience and provide content that will truly matter to them, where and when they prefer it. So instead of the 2016 lists we’re all about to read, let’s remember why social media is important to our brands, and why it still will be in 2016.
So as digital marketers we love social media. We love it simply because:
  1. You can get content out fast
  2. You are able to respond to consumers faster
  3. You know what your competition is doing on the same channels
  4. You can curate content
  5. You can see what themes are trending to create new content
  6. You can be involved within cultural phenomena
  7. You are able to create a dialogue
  8. You are able to see what content works right away
  9. You will know what content to put paid media behind
  10. Your brand can stand out
And that’s just part of the story. Your brand can also choose the channels that work best for success. Choose the content that will resonate deeper with your audience. And of course, finding the right paths to purchase, and helping consumers become loyal advocates through driving their followings to your brand as well.
Why does your brand, as a digital marketer, prefer to budget, spend, and invest in social media as a way to reach consumers?
Image sources:
Priority Media Plus
Business2community
 
This post was originally written for Socialnomics. 

Social Strategy Checklist for your Brand

 

social strategy fashion business

It’s important to remember that great social media content is the key to being successful on any platform. It sounds obvious but a lot of brands (especially those with minimal resources), post things on social, just to post. There’s not a thoughtful approach. Furthermore, social media is more than a channel. It’s not just Facebook and Twitter. It’s a behavior that people have daily. And in order to reach them, brands need content that truly connects with their target audience.

So how do we build a social strategy that will be successful for your brand? Let’s consider this formula:

First: Do the Research

  • Identify your target based psychographics (what they value and care about)
  • See where they spend time online (are they on Instagram 10 times a day or do they tweet every last thought that pops into their heads?)
  • Compare how your competition fairs on these channels (what are brands that are similar to your doing?)

Second: Put Together Your Plan

  • Identify your overall purpose or goal for each platform (think more creatively than “making more sales”- mailing list sign ups is a good one)
  • Choose a few different kinds of content that you think will resonate with your audience (be specific- if you want to post inspirational quotes, what kind? About what topic? Around what sentiment?)
  • Identify the platforms you’ll use and their purpose for your brand and reaching your customer (i.e. customers use Pinterest to dream/plan – let them dream about their upcoming Fall wardrobe made by your brand)
  • Consider content formats and frequency per channel (i.e. Twitter will have a larger frequency than Facebook)
  • Identify content sources for creation/curation/co-creation (how will you make these graphics? Where will you find these interesting articles? etc)
  • Create success metrics to measure by (video views, website visits, social shares)

Third: Get Moving

  • Create the content!
  • Test your content
  • Measure your content against the goals you created
  • Review and assess, then make changes as you learn what’s working and what’s not

Tools You Need:

  • An editorial calendar to keep track of your monthly content per channel, and allows you to plan ahead for upcoming cultural events
  • A scheduling tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite
  • A budget to boost and target posts that are successful and important for an upcoming campaign or product launch

Finally:

  • Create a crisis and response management plan for when things go wrong – because eventually something usually does
  • Determine how you will mix in customer service or separate it from your posts within each channel

Your content is part of your brand’s identity and it should be created with similar thought and care as your collections.

This post was originally written for startup fashion. 

Your Brands Needs a Social Strategy

fashion business social media marketing

Social media still seems new to some brands, but it’s not a new part of marketing. There are people hired for brands to run global social departments in order to stay competitive within the space and stay fresh and engaging with their customer base.

With startups, a social media strategy is an important piece to the overall marketing strategy.Sometimes with little time and little resources, we jump on social channels and run with haste, rather than with quality and thought-through content. Let’s change that.

Social media is:

  • Visual- Important for fashion brands to be able to show off their assets.
  • Fast- You can get sneak peeks and new off the shelf products in front of them right away.
  • A connective tissue- It allows you to connect to consumers in a way that no paper magazine ad could.

Great things for a startup who needs to make its presence known, and fast. But with the right strategy, there’s so much more you can do.

  • Gain Customer knowledge- You’ll get to see what your customers like and don’t like, what types of content they prefer, and where they prefer to engage with you.
  • Have faster customer service- It allows you to respond faster to their concerns and excitement.
  • Be competitive- It allows you to stay on top of your most fierce competition by listening and keeping a close eye.
  • Make it personal- It allows your startup and brand to connect to consumers on a personal level through responding in real time, answering questions, praising them for being awesome.
  • Build Relationships- And in turn allows you to build an army of advocates who will speak on your behalf.

These are just some of the reasons why you need to think strategically about your social content and not just post and be on social media because you know you should be.

You need to think through your target market, where they play on social, and what content is right for them (and your brand). We’ll talk about that in detail in our next article.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

When NOT to jump onto a new social channel

 

social media fashion business

The marketing swimming pool has many deep ends, a lot of which you can’t always see if there is a bottom to touch. With a new app or social channel coming out every day, week, and month, it’s hard to know when to leap and when to stay in the shallow end.

While it’s great to be an early adopter, sometimes it’s best to chill and observe; see how and if other brands are using the platform and then decide if it’s worth exploring.

Here are four times when you should indeed stay away from the deep end and let others cannonball first:

When the user interface is too much effort

For example, when Ello was first released, it was not user friendly. It was black and white and not appealing to use (like apps such as Instagram). It is fun to explore as a user, but as a brand it is still fairly uncharted territory outside of some journalistic brands like WSJ.

When the platform doesn’t seem to have captured your target audience

For example, your audience may not care to be on meerkat, but it may embrace Periscope due to so many others using it already. Mashable uses it constantly for its tech talks, while others use it for showing insider and live events. Try to do a little research to see if your target market is actually using the platform before you jump in and devote time to it.

When the resources to make it happen would be at the cost of marketing campaigns that are already working for your brand

Contrary to what some may think, every time you add a new platform to your social media mix, you’re draining more resources, both financial, creative, and time related. For example, creating video content takes time to plan, executive, edit, and distribute. It takes planning and content strategy upfront.

When it makes sense to learn from the ones who do it wrong/right first. And jump in later with a better strategy.

For example, when all the kids ran over to snapchat to see what the buzz was. The buzz was good.

Still unsure and curious?

Try using the platform on your personal handle/username first. Test it out to see how it works and why people would be curious about it. Put on your consumer hat and see if you would be interested in hearing from a brand through this new app or channel. If yes, give it a whirl (but not at the expense of things that are already working for you).

Lastly, keep your life raft nearby. Sometimes you just need to jump out after testing the waters.

This post was originally written for startup fashion. 

 

Saving Time on Your Brand Marketing Efforts

 

fashion marketing

Being a marketer for your brand, there is little time to waste. You are constantly thinking about the next thing on your to-do list. Content, posting, testing, measuring, and testing again…the process is really never ending.

But where do you find the time to learn and keep up with what’s “new” in marketing?

If you wait to find it, you’ll be waiting for a long time. You have to make the time.

This doesn’t mean spending hours reading through blog posts and getting sucked into the abyss of technology, social media, and the latest app. Although, we’re all guilty of it.

No, you can do it a lot more efficiently.

Use social media. Really.

Most social channels now have features that allow you to “save” and/or view things later. By using these features and putting time slots into your calendar to “learn and grow”, you’ll find that keeping up with what’s new, is not so difficult after all.

Here are five easy ways that your favorite social channels can help you be both productive and efficient while keeping up with the latest marketing trends and technology.

  1. Facebook “Save link”: This feature allows you save links for later. When you’re commuting to your office – whether it be your home office or a workspace, you don’t always have time to read the whole article, but know it could be useful tomorrow or next week. Bookmark it and go back when you have time fully devote.
  2. Favorite it: As with Facebook, same goes with Twitter. Favorite the tweet that you found useful. It’s not just for letting people know you found their tweet informative and interesting. It actually is useful.
  3. Pin it: Save articles on a board that are inspiring. Will it help with a new blog redesign? Will it help with your social strategy? Pin it and go back later to think through it in more detail.
  4. Create a folder in your email: So much email. Save the ones that matter in a folder so you don’t lose it later.
  5. Use and app.  Pocket is a semi-new app that allows you to collect any articles, posts or videos you find and save them to go back to later. All in one place for your viewing pleasure. Evernote also works well.

In the end it’s about what works best for you. Sometimes it’s easier to have it all in one place, and other times it’s easier to save within the app experience you’re in at that moment. Choose your social poison.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

Nostalgia Marketing: A phase?

 

Since the beginning of #throwbackthursday and the more recent #flashbackfriday – consumers and brands have been taking a look back at what the past was and means. It could be a memory that was cherished, an accomplishment achieved, an uphill battle overcome, or just something really funny.

Apps like Timehop have allowed people to look back more frequently and see where they were a year or more ago on this very day. Facebook allows you to see friendships from years ago. It’s typically fun and enjoyable (unless it’s a memory you wish you didn’t have to relive – oops!) and something people are excited to share back out to let others remember too.

And there’s more…

Old bands have been reuniting and creating new albums and having concerts together. Casts of TV shows are being resurrected for new seasons (i.e. Heroes).

Older fashion styles are coming back for another season too. Additionally so are old past times like listening to records, reading actual books, playing with toys from generations ago.

What’s old is new again.

Brands realize that too.

It’s an opportunity for brands to create new content (from old content or events). It allows the brand to show another side to the brand through history and well-received content/events. For example, if there is an iconic package or product, a brand may look back at the beginning and show the evolution over time. And brands are already doing this.

But what else can brands do to take advantage of nostalgia and how consumers are excited about it?

Brands can:

  • Create experiences to relive the “new old” in a way that’s unique from before
  • Create a series that brings it life (i.e. a comic book, video series, or offline event that reoccurs).
  • Allow fans to share their old experiences through the new lens
  • Keep it authentic by leaving some to the imagination rather than forcing the nostalgia
  • Bring back best sellers to surprise and delight – i.e. Calvin Klein and their 90s campaigns; pumpkin flavored everything; troll dolls; classic old school converse and adidas sneakers; and more.

Nostalgia…not just a thing of the past.

This post was originally written for Social Media Club. 

Spring is still here: Clean your Marketing and Get it Ready for Summer

 

fashion marketingSpring cleaning isn’t just for your shoes and clothes each year. It’s for your fashion marketing objectives and goals too.

Spring, or second quarter, is a great time to take a look at all the new year initiatives you put into play and see what’s working and what’s not. Time to shed some weight, and not waste money on budget items that aren’t giving back enough on your investment.

But how do you decide what to ditch and what to hold on to? That’s always the tough part.

Here are a few things to consider this spring and your “ditch pile”:

  1. What’s sucking your budget: There are a lot of overhead and unexpected costs that go into a yearly marketing budget. This may include (but isn’t limited to): website hosting, graphic designers, and PR agencies. Take a look at where your money is going and whether or not these costs can be lowered. Do you pay a graphic designer to make new new several times a month?  What about seeing if they can create a template for you instead.  That way, you can make the updates for new contests or announcements yourself.
  2. What’s just not working: Sometimes we invest in tools that end up being more of a hassle than anything. For example, some tools may have seemed cool and great for CRM or social media management, and instead waste too much of our time and give us little data and information. If it’s not saving time, it’s just costing money. Ditch it. Change it. Move on.
Read about team evaluations and tactical executions for spring cleaning in our full post on Startup Fashion. 

 

The Process for Launching a New Website

As digital marketers, we are constantly launching and shipping. We want to get our brands on the top of their game. We want to launch fast and we want to launch something that will make a splash.

Here’s the thing – we sometimes forget or lose sight of the time and effort it will actually take. Launching something – especially a new site, takes way more time than you initially may consider or plan for. So instead of kicking yourself, here are a few things to keep in mind when you are doing your next big launch (such as a website):

  1. Do extra research – A lot of times when we have an idea, someone else has it too. Make sure your idea isn’t already taken. And if it is, that’s ok. Maybe your idea has a new spin or an advantage the previous one hasn’t considered. Make sure yours stands out. When I had my new recent idea, I searched and searched for similar sites. I didn’t want to come across as just another inspiration site. It had to be unique.
  1. Ask people for their opinions – When I was designing my new site, I had to consider the look, the logo, and the name. I had a friend design my logo and luckily my partner and I had similar taste so we didn’t go through many reviews. However, we needed outside opinions too. For example, when we came up with the brand name, we wanted to ensure it resonated with our audience. We polled a large group of friends who would be un-biased…”Did they think it meant the same thing we did?” Thankfully, yes.
  1. Plan buffer time – So, our site launch was supposed to be in September. It launched in January. Four months later. Why? Because our site took longer to build than we expected, we had hosting issues, and came across little things we didn’t “plan” to crop up. We didn’t add cushion time. So instead of fretting (or fretting too much) we changed our launch date. We wanted it to be a time when the site would resonate and make more of a splash. The New Year was the new plan.
  1. QA and QA some more – This is one thing I let slip from my mind. If it looked good on my browser and my phone it must look great everywhere, right? Nope. Check every browser – even (gulp) Internet Explorer. Check multiple devices and types of devices. And do it more than once.
  1. Make a promotion plan – You did all that work, so you should promote it too! It’s one thing to go live, it’s another to go live with a bang or two. Depending on the type of brand and launch you should consider the following:
    1. Email your contacts
    2. Post it on your social channels (and personal channels if you can)
    3. Do a blogger or influencer outreach prior to launch for extra eyeballs
    4. Ask friends to share

In addition, plan to promote for more than one day or two. Promote every day during your launch week. Why let the buzz sizzle after a day, when you can keep the party going?

And…speaking of launches, I’m pretty proud to announce my new site – Radiate Daily. What is it? It’s not just another blog. Radiate Daily is an opportunity for women (and men) to harness their confidence around personal style, health, fitness, and in turn their daily lives. Personal style is something that we all have, but sometimes takes longer to be comfortable with. As the saying goes, “Fashion fades, style is eternal,” and Radiate Daily is here to help everyone be more confident with their own. Come check it out, and share your story! #radiatedialy

Image source: grumpy cat

This post was originally written for: http://marketingontherocks.com/

Don’t Be Lazy with Your Social Media

Screen Shot 2014-06-14 at 12.54.23 PM
It’s easy to get a little lax during the summer, especially when the warm weather hits, and the patios are enticing you to come hang out. Just remember, your consumers are thinking the same thing. They’re excited for the summer, they want to drive to the beach, relax on their porches, have bbqs with their friends, and travel for the long weekends. So in-between your sunshine and beers, remember to be there for your consumers too.
Here are three approaches to consider as your brand engages with its audience across social:
1. It’s not about the social channels you have, it’s about what your audience is doing on those social channels this time of year. For example, they may be planning their summer adventure on Pinterest; capturing their new friendships on instagram, and/or tuning into the World Cup on Twitter. So what do you do about it? Engage with them in a way that’s conducive to their behaviors during this season and on that channel.
Tip: Don’t put out the exact same piece of content on every channel. #Lazy
2. Provide them with content that will help them get what they want and desire this summer. For example, if they’re looking for ways to enjoy their weekend, give them ideas and share your thoughts. No need to put your product/service on full display during that content messaging, but subtly demonstrate that your brand is more than just a product. It’s a brand that offers more and can be a daily (or regular) part of their lives — especially when the hot hazy summer days drop down upon us.  Be the brand they are excited to see content from as they’re on their long road trip killing time on their smartphone, swiping through instagram.
3. If you can’t do “real” time, plan ahead. Not every brand can monitor conversation 24 hours a day. Sometimes you have to plan for what’s going to be “popping” in social conversation. For example, we all know the World Cup is this month. Most brands have planned what types of conversations will occur, and will be ready to engage when that time comes. Another thing that happens every year is July 4th (oh yea, that awesome day with red, white and blue, and amazing patriotism, and yes bbqs too)…be ready for it in advance, but also allow for some day of changes to pop into conversation as news develops.
And while you’re sipping that beer, and laying on your hammock, just check in on your brand a few times here n’ there. You never know when that awesome opportunity to start a conversation (not just join) could be ripe for the picking.
Image Source: theprospect.net
This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks.

Launch of: “Marketing on the Rocks” by Four Best Friends

So it all began a few years back when the four of us met through mutual friends and networking events around the city. We had social mentors in common, similar career inspirations, shopping habits, healthy living ideals, a love for boston, and most of all a quick love for one another.

Janet Aronica, Kristin Dziadul, Elisabeth Michaud and I are four best friends and four marketers in Boston. We each have a bit of geekiness when it comes to digital marketing, social media, and staying on top of what’s savvy and new. We tried GroupMe during SXSW, we’ve been on Path since before it became cool, we constantly tweet at one another in the midst of Gchatting, and support each other in all of our endeavors. I can’t say enough about how much I trust these girls personally and professionally. And that’s what brought us here today…

Over a couple adult beverages and some inspiration from fellow digital marketers in the space, we decided to work on a marketing project as a team. We brainstormed on what we could offer the Boston community and beyond as we each have diverse backgrounds from working with startups, individual consulting, agencies, big brands, and more. And then we realized – that’s exactly what we can offer. We are experienced in so many different areas and can offer unique advice and strategy because of it. And “Marketing on the Rocks” was born…

Want to learn more, and see what we’re cooking up? Check out the launch of our new site!

www.MarketingontheRocks.com

And feel free to reach out to us anytime for more info:

@pamsahota

@janetaronica

@kristindziadul

@emichaud

5 Items to Test in your Brand’s Email Marketing Campaign

Most brands realize that when it comes to marketing, it’s vital to “test and learn, test and learn, and a  test and learn some more.” Split testing, or A/B testing, your marketing efforts is helpful for determining what practices are the most effective in reaching your goals.

Let’s take one marketing example to  apply how this would work: email marketing.

Five items to consider testing when investing in email marketing efforts:

  1. Subject Lines: If your email has an offer, or a newsletter, or a blog post – consider testing different subject lines to see which ones get more open rates. For example consider tweaking the subject lines for personalization, region, or just persuasive verbage. TIP: keep it under 50 characters.
  2. Images: Consider two different images in the email body to which ones may help persuade the reader to click through to the content. For example is it an individual in the image or the product that helps persuade the reader to click through or perform your call to action.
  3. Opening Paragraphs: Most individuals preview emails in their inbox before opening which includes the first couple sentences of the opening paragraph of the email. Focus on making these two sentences the most appealing and reiterating the subject line in some shape or form to reinforce why they looked in the first place.

To read my other 3 items to test which include opening paragraphs, CTAs, and the day and times to send out the emails, read my full post on Startup Fashion.

Image Source: http://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2012/03/23/10-reasons-your-business-should-use-email-marketing/

Follow: These Steps to Successfully Market Your Event

Have you ever been to a trade show or a promotional event and you just knew that brand had not prepared enough? Don’t let yourself be that brand. Two words: Plan Ahead.

When it comes to online and offline events, online event marketing is key to success in order to engage your audience pre-event, during the event, and even after the event.

EVENT MARKETING written on blackboard background high resolution

Use your social media presence, your online prowess, and your awesome marketing team to succeed at marketing your event.

Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, you name it…

You know the age old saying, “be where your audience is”… if your audience is engaging with you heavily on Facebook or Twitter, why not help promote your event to them there? Start early and update as the event approaches with new tidbits they may want to know.

Do you have a cool speaker? Special giveaways? An early bird entry fee? Your audience wants to know! And don’t forget a fun branded hashtag to corral the conversation so you can listen in and so can your followers. That hashtag can be used before during and after the event in order to keep the conversation flowing and get a larger audience to over hear what an awesome event your brand is having.

Event Page(s)

Why pay when you can leverage free offerings. Eventbrite allows for advance planning of events, social media integration, ticket fees and more; a great way for people to easily purchase tickets or sign up for an event online or through their mobile app.

Best part – you can keep track of sign-ups as they happen and alert the attendees as needed.

To learn about the 3 other necessary steps to successfully market your event, check out my full post on Startup Fashion. And leave comments below with questions!

 

Five Ways to Utilize Data to Improve Marketing

Your marketing team should be relying on data to see what’s working, what could use improvement, and what should be squashed as an approach. Data may seem intimidating, but it can also be a marketer’s best friend. How? Keep reading!

1. Referral Sites

It’s important to monitor analytics in order to see which sites are the best referral sources for your website. Keep track of your top ten. For example, is your blog one of your best referral sites? Then maybe you should be beefing up your blog even more in order to improve its performance as a top referral source. Are some of these sites ones where you guest posted or advertised? Continue to do so, as these can be great avenues for your potential customers to find you, visit your site to lean more, and hopefully one day convert into actual leads and customers.

Furthermore, if your blog or another site isn’t in your top ten list and you were hoping it would be, you should figure out why it isn’t working and re-work that strategy. Or perhaps admit that it isn’t working for your target audience, and focus on the channels that are working to refer potential customers to you.
Keep readying about my 4 other ways you can kick ass in marketing with data — by clicking the link below for my full post on the Hubspot blog!
Read more: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/27424/5-Ways-to-Instantly-Improve-Marketing-With-Data.aspx

 

Myth Buster: Social Media is Free

Many individuals who are just getting into the game of social media have heard social media is free or cheap due to the fact that many platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are free to sign up for and maintain on a daily basis. Free to sign-up, but not exactly free to maintain.

“A significant 58% of marketers are using social media for 6 hours or more each week and 34% are 11 or more hours weekly. It’s interesting to note that 15% of marketers spend more than 20 hours each week on social media.” (2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, Social Media Examiner)

As the old adage says, “time is money” and time is not free. Marketers who want to increase brand awareness and engagement do not spend just 10 minutes here or there Tweeting and posting. They take the time to listen to what people are saying regarding their brand, what the competition is saying, what consumers are saying regarding the competition, and more. Then they take the time to respond, question, and comment in a relevant manner.

“Those with more years of social media experience spend more time each week conducting social media activities. For example, 63% of people with 3 or more years of experience spend more than 10 hours a week doing social media activities.Only 41% of those with 1 to 3 years experience spend that much time.” (2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, Social Media Examiner)

Conversation in social media is not an overnight success like winning the lottery. It takes time, effort, and in turn money, spent on the people who “manage” the brand online. Those with experience in digital marketing realize the more time and effort spend in social, the greater the reward. Newbies, take note.

This was post was originally written for Socialnomics.

Thirty Beginner Social Media Marketing Tips and Tricks

I love when I see friends and coworkers hopping onboard and starting to embrace social media as a regular part of their work or personal lives. But as many people are still learning, some insider tips are helpful and crucial to their effectiveness on their social media channels. So folks, here are some tips and a “cheat sheet” slideshare doc just for you below!

Facebook

1. A Fan Page is for your company Facebook Page and a Profile Page is for your personal Page. Remember the difference or Facebook will shut your page down, and that would be a major “fail!”

2. Use the real estate available to you: Put up a great profile pic; have a bio; add links to your other sites!

3. Add pictures! Pictures allow people to see what your brand is about and realize it’s more than just a “logo.” Add pictures from events, conferences, demos, and just the regular everyday awesomeness in your office.

4. Be human! Don’t just post, post, post. No one wants to hear all about you, all the time. Ask questions, reply, and converse like you would in every day life.

5. Share other people’s posts. Engage and demonstrate you value content and opinions by others too!

6. Connect your platforms! Did you do a blog post? Have it automatically post on your Facebook page so others can have access to it easily and quickly.

7. Have contests or other exciting giveaways or events which encourage both online and offline participation with your brand via Facebook.

8. Update regularly and not just once in a blue moon. Fans get used to the regularity of posts and fall off your loyal fan wagon if you don’t keep up.

9. Use your Facebook Insights to monitor your success with your Fans and see why/when your Fans activity increases or decreases. It’s helpful for future campaigns and promotions.

10. Be relevant. Post content that provides value to your target audience, but at the same time add some fun stuff too. The 80/20 rule is a great way to start out.

As seen below, Laughing Cow Cheese is always a great example of engagement, being human, and providing great relevant content on a consistent basis.

 

Twitter

1. Get a Twitter handle as simple and close to the name of you or your brand as possible. Refrain from names like Tommy93737434 because no one will remember it.

2. Use the real estate given to you! Have a relevant 140-character bio which catches the eye of your target audience; have a great picture (as with Facebook) for your profile, and because some people still use www.Twitter.com versus Hootsuite,Tweetdeck, etc — make sure your Twitter background is up to par as well!

3. Be polite! Don’t just Tweet Tweet Tweet! This party isn’t all about you and the sooner you learn that, the less Twitter mistakes you will make! It’s a place for all of us to share, listen, chat together, and engage with one another. And the words “please” and “thank you” are just as welcome in this space.

4. Listen First. Talk Second. Set up columns in apps like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite in order to listen to your target audience easier and better. For example, have a separate column for clients, prospects, competition, etc.

5. Use hashtags for events, conferences, products, etc in order to promote more, and listen better on what people are saying re: your brand/product/event/etc.

6. ReTweet other people’s Tweets. It’s not all about your own content and opinion.

7. Give credit where credit is due when curating other people’s content.

8. Use the link shortener, it’s there to help you say more in this 140 character world.

9. Share links, photos, videos and more. It’s not just about articles and blog posts.

10. Follow Back! Don’t be too cool to follow, because on Twitter, we’re all a little nerdy!

Lululemon is a great example of a brand who knows how to ReTweet, ask questions, engage, and truly show each follower they have that they care about each one and what they have to say.

 

Blogging

1. Strategize on the content that you would like to blog about first. Focus on your marketing strategy and what value you would like to provide your target audience in order to avoid many of the common blogging mistakes.

2. Have an editorial calendar to keep track of topics, bloggers, and deadlines.

3. Have guest bloggers to add some spice to your regular content.

4. Post regularly, or people forget you have a blog.

5. Have share buttons easily visible so people can Tweet, Share and Like your posts.

6. Have subscribe buttons also easily visible so people can click and subscribe quickly and easily.

7. Allow people to comment on your posts. Monitor if you want to approve before they become public.

8. Having headings, subheadings, and list posts keep people’s attention more as they’re easier to read than prolific paragraph after paragraph.

9. Add visual stimulation with videos, embeds, pictures, graphs, and the like.

10. Have a voice that’s yours. Don’t be afraid to add a little pizzazz!

The Purse Blog is unique and quite visual with its pictures, and posts, which allow the reader to engage not only with the content they want of purses reviewed, but let them see first hand how awesome these purses truly are.

Note: this post was originally written for oneforty, which was acquired by Hubspot. 

Interview: Julia Roy of Manilla

During SXSW in Austin, Texas Julia Roy, VP of Marketing at Manilla, and I took some time during brunch (and yummy bloody mary’s) to chat about her new career and why consumers should check out the cool and useful online application.

ME:  Why did you choose to work for Manilla?

JULIA:  I wanted to go back into the start-up world and do something that I really believed in. The app is something I would personally use and it adds tremendous value to people’s lives. I also wanted to see something from the ground up. Up until Manilla I had worked with some very big brands, and they already have a presence online. So you would normally augment whatever kind of sentiment and things they are already implementing. BUT, when you are at a start-up like Manilla, you have to strategize how you would use social to take a brand from “nothing” to “something” – I wanted to tackle that challenge.

ME:  For the readers out there, tell us why they should check out Manilla.

JULIA:  It would save you a lot of time! Right now you spend a lot of time managing your bills and it is a large consumer problem. Some people have a range of twenty different accounts including banks, credit cards, travel, rewards, and subscriptions. You get some in mail, some in email and with all the different ways you receive and pay bills, you can easily lose track. For example, you could have gotten this trip to SXSW for free if you  kept track of points! In short, Manilla helps you keep track. It’s not a social network but a personal application to help you manage your accounts.

ME:  And it’s free for consumers?

JULIA: : Yes Free!

ME:  That’s awesome. And we consumers definitely like Free. Could you explain more about the customizable options and capabilities for consumers?

JULIA:  It’s very customizable for user ease with reminders however far apart you want. You can also add your own accounts and Manilla will have any of those available for you. In addition if you don’t see one you use such as a store credit card, we can build that account as needed and/or on request. Typically we can build any request within a week.

ME:  Since I am a social media geek and I know you are too, how are you utilizing social media for Manilla?

JULIA:  We are using social for customer service and engagement. We are mainly focusing on Facebook and Twitter to start with. For instance, we don’t have a lot of video content yet, so YouTube is not a focus for us. The point is to make brand “real” and it’s a large challenge for a company like Manilla because we manage very personal information and in turn must be professional and build trust first on social networks.

Social is also a conduit to make sure we are responding to people talking about our brand and engage with them. We also run contests and promotions such as the 5K to people who sign up for the beta version!

ME:  5K? I want. I want!

JULIA: Continues to ease her mouth which is on fire from the bloody mary’s.

ME: So if you had to pick one tool you couldn’t live without when handling Manilla, what would it be?

JULIA:  CoTweet because it makes managing convos so much easier! Like Manilla manages your accounts, CoTweet manages my social.

ME: Going back to Manilla and it’s sheer awesomeness with convenience and organization – what is the one thing consumers should know about its advantage and asset?

JULIA: It will get you “Sys-te-matized!”

ME: Chuckling. Systematized?

JULIA: Yes! Manilla helps you get systematized! Psychologically all these bills and items to pay can crowd your mind and inhibit your ability to enjoy and relax. So Manilla helps you organize so you can relax and know Manilla is doing it for you.

ME: I like it!

The interview wrapped up with “cheers” over our bloody mary’s and a fabulous brunch. I definitely suggest each of you to check out Manilla for yourself. If you ever have any questions, definitely hit up @mymanilla for the answers!

10 Branding & Marketing Tips from “Mad Men”

I have recently become obsessed with the show Mad Men and watched Seasons One through Four in about a month. Crazy? No! Dedicated? Yes! While watching the well written, directed, and addicting show, I couldn’t help but relate it to my life and career in marketing. Here are a few of things I took away from the show…

(1) Just because you think the slogan/pitch is awesome, does not mean it is. It takes practice (and many errors) to get things fine-tuned and “awesome.”

(2) Don Draper is the Man.

(3) Having your brand featured on Mad Men is kickass brand exposure and awareness.

(4) Losing a large brand, could potentially lead to losing other brands unless you react and turn the situation around quickly.

(5) If the story is making your brand look bad – change the story.

(6) Traditional Media can still be effective if used well.

(7) “Sex sells.”

(8) How your consumer views your brand may not be the same way you view your brand.

(9) If you are a secretary on Mad Men you will get laid and/or married.

(10) An efficient and creative marketing/Ad team is not only important, but essential.

And did I mention, Don Draper is the Man?!