Registration forms – just who are they for?

waste-bin

I love information; after all, I am a marketer who believes in the power of data to improve communications. So a registration form is something of a guilty pleasure with all the information it contains on prospects and customers. But do we get so wrapped up in what we want from the data that we forget to think about the poor soul who might complete it?

Think for a second and you’ll come up with an example. For me it was a form for a “try and buy” event. It wasn’t the greatest form with a lot of pretty irrelevant questions including a free text field. A guaranteed response suppresser, which would also be difficult to capture usefully.

But the conditions I had to agree with were the real turn off. For example, if I missed my time slot, then that was it, no second chance. I felt like I was back at school and hadn’t done my homework.

Let’s remember why I was booking to go to the event. Because I was seriously considering spending money with them.

What does this tell us? Keep it simple; forms shouldn’t take more than a minute to complete unless they’re for a mortgage. So be ruthless with what you ask. Then give it to someone who has never seen it before to complete it. What was their experience? Would they bother in real life?

Alternatively have a chat with us. We have lots of experience maximising response from forms, so you can be sure you’ll have a form that meets both your needs and those of your customers.

Is your email a bit of a tight squeeze?

elephant-in-a-phone

We have a bit of a soft spot for email. Over the last couple of months, we’ve chatted about a renaissance in its effectiveness but also the need for marketers to give their email activity a bit of a revamp.

If we were asked the single big change we would make (apart from “test, test test” but you’re doing that already), it would be to optimise emails for mobile. Why? By the end of last year, 51% of emails were opened on mobiles, up 21% year on year*. And it’s worth making your emails mobile-friendly – a recent simple A/B test showed the click rate was 10% higher than for the equivalent traditional design*.

Where to start? Firstly, think about the customer journey – are the landing pages suitable for mobiles and tablets or are you using Flash (for example). Once your website is working well, you can tackle your email. Responsive design helps you by resizing to match the screen size, hiding content and changing the flow of content to suit. Amongst other considerations, you will also need to think about the volume of copy (short and sweet) and image size (can recipients see what the image is of when it’s a lot smaller?).

As always with email design, make sure your readers see enough in their first screen to make them click-through. For instance; don’t fill it with an extended menu-bar.

But don’t worry if this is all getting a bit daunting – we’re here to help! Email david.hearn@andersonhearnkeene.co.uk or give us a ring on 020 8541 4222 and we’ll steer you through.

 

* Source: Litmus.com

Check the basics of your email campaigns

Unsubscribe

I recently had the pleasure of sorting through a long forgotten personal email inbox. In the last year, 5,683 emails had been delivered.

A couple of hours later I had cleared it out and unsubscribed from many of the organisations. This gave me quite a bit of time to think about these email campaigns. Possibly more time than the people who had sent them. I like to share so here are a few thoughts.

Firstly a quick calculation: 5,683 is more than 15 emails a day for a year to an address that no one has looked at. I didn’t appear to trigger any lapser programmes. What a missed opportunity to reignite a customer or clean the database.

I also found the unsubscribe process was often incredibly difficult. This is presumably to discourage people from leaving. But why would a company do that? If someone isn’t interested in hearing from you, then being as unhelpful as possible is unlikely to make them think fondly of your brand when they are next in market.

Finally, about 5-10% of the unsubscribe links simply didn’t work. They weren’t links or went to pages that didn’t exist. I know that checking links is dull but it is vital.

At AHK, we have been using email with our clients for more than 10 years. If you send out emails but would like to create a real programme, one that is more considered, planned and effective, then get in touch with David Hearn.

Email – The second coming

For the last 10 years, we’ve been hearing about the demise of email. All sorts of new things were due to replace it. But, interestingly, we think it is one of the final alleged nails in email’s coffin that has actually made it more relevant than ever.

The arrival of smartphones and tablets is seeing a rebirth in email. Just when marketing via text and social media threatened to take over, email appears to be making a late surge.

Increasingly, people keep up to date via their smartphone and with responsive design the user experience has dramatically improved. Why would you send a text to someone that has strict limitations or via social media that is difficult to measure when you can email them and get the best of all worlds?

So, there appears to be a new appreciation of what email can achieve amongst marketers. In days gone by, email marketing was often executed as an afterthought. Now it is something that the Marketing Director is likely to want to know about and targeted programmes are being created with relevant and unique content.

Until recently, email was the perennial bridesmaid, now it is finally becoming the bride. And with many years of experience, AHK can help make sure you don’t miss the party. Contact us on 020 8541 4222 to see how we can help you.

How big do you want your data?

The Walmart database is estimated to contain 2.5 petabytes of data. That is a 25 followed by 14 zeroes. Which seems pretty big until you look at a real “big data” project, NASA’s climate simulation centre (NCCS) which is 13 times the size. You’d think they would be better at weather forecasts with all that information.

Big data is big news in marketing along with the cloud and mobile. But what if you are worried that your data might not be, ahem, big enough?

The truth is that it is not the size that matters, it’s what you do with it that counts. Lots of organisations have plenty of data that they’re not using. Go looking and you’ll find it in all sorts of places across the business including cardboard boxes (seriously). It goes without saying (almost) that you will need to make sure that you are watertight on data protection issues with anything you use.

More good news is that people dealing with lots of data spend a long time trying to simplify and model it. It has been one of the keys to Tesco’s success. So you are one step ahead of the big data boys already.

Don’t worry if you’re not quite sure where to start or that the data doesn’t look that impressive. Give it to us; we have experience of what can and can’t be done so we’ll give you an honest appraisal.

You may well have the basis for ongoing, targeted communications and for tracking the success of what you’re doing. At the very least, you’ll know how to get started. Ask NASA. It may have big data projects now but Apollo 11 landed on the moon with a computer crunching data that was less powerful than the one in your washing machine.

B2B companies and content marketing

I was lecturing at the Institute of Digital & Direct Marketing and we had an interesting discussion on B2B content marketing. Particularly, how marketing and digital managers are under a lot of pressure to produce web/social media content themselves, often with little or no help.

The students on the course described that colleagues can be better qualified, especially on technical subjects, but often the business has more pressing priorities for their time. So, it’s seen as the job of the marketing department to create this type of material.

The real issue here is that little resource is being allocated to B2B content development. Marketing Managers need to make the case for budgets to do the job properly.

Interestingly a recent report by the Content Marketing Institute for the DMA reveals that in the UK 82% of B2C marketers outsource content creation compared to 42% of their B2B peers.

A continuous supply of well-researched, interesting and relevant content (blogs, white papers, infographics, video etc.) can play a huge role in attracting new leads.  Just this morning I was talking to a company that gets 32% of all its new enquiries via its blog. That’s not counting the support it can give the salesforce by engaging with prospects whilst they move them through the sales funnel.

Search engines like consistency and variety. Even with the best intentions it is easy to let things slip (as we all do occasionally).  With budgets in place you can employ an agency like AHK to ensure your content is delivered month in, month out, without fail. And guarantee a variety of different types of content with eye-catching graphics to appeal to different segments within your target audience.

So if you’d like some ideas on how you could take your B2B content marketing onto a new level, give AHK a call on 020 8541 4222.

Web and Social Media; be selective with the ways to re-use content

A while back we blogged about the perils of using the same content across a range of media without considering their differences. We stick by what we said then but we also know that it makes sense to maximise the use of assets.

A client for whom we create web and email content recently asked us to create assets for Facebook. The brief was simply to take what we were already doing and re-purpose it for social media.

But Facebook isn’t the same as email. And that got us thinking.

Like any communications, the email and web generate plenty of response. And like the best programmes it creates a lot of interaction with many customers who are keen to share their creative work. We use as much of this as we can but sometimes it hasn’t quite fitted. Until now.

The different relationship that Facebook encourages creates the perfect venue for this content. It encourages interaction and promotes the website. The response from contributors and the Facebook community has been amazing.

So rather than just re-using content, have a look at what else is available. You’d be surprised how a different medium will throw up new opportunities for material you already have. Alternatively, contact us. You know we’ll offer our opinion.

How B2B companies can measure the success of their content marketing

The A level and GCSE results are now out and over the last few weeks we have been busy congratulating/commiserating with various relatives over their success/disappointment.

It struck me that regardless of the arguments regarding the comparative performance of one year versus the next at least all that hard work is rewarded with one definitive measure of success or failure.

It’s far more straightforward to the wide variety of ways in which as content marketers we are required to measure the success of our activity. In fact in a recent survey Sticky Content’s respondents thought it was easier to come up with good ideas and brief writers and write copy than to measure impact. (Read more at http://f.datasrvr.com/fr1/413/39009/Sticky_Content_results_2013.pdf)

  • Page views from ‘first time visitors’, higher ranking in search engine result pages, Click throughs, Likes, Shares, Comments, Retweets – an easy win that gives a good indication of the amount of interest you’ve created but it doesn’t measure what you’ve sold as a result of the activity.
  • Increases in the length of time spent on your website/lower bounce rates/total page views (many people find the longer a customer spends on their website the more likely they are to interact with you either by making a direct sale or by giving you an inbound lead). Additionally it shows search engines that viewers find your site relevant and can help move you up the rankings.
  • Increases in inbound leads (e.g. contact forms submitted as a result of a particular blog post, newsletter sign ups, webinar registrations etc).
  • Reduction in calls to the call centre – by helping customers find what they need to know quickly and immediately on line you can save money on call handling.
  • What value to your business are the insights and comments you get from comments on your blog, social media pages. Have they changed the way you do business for the better?
  • Regardless of how you measure your success the benefits are clear. It will help you work out what works best for your business and give you the justification you need to demand budget to support the activities that drive the most sales.

    See also our recent post on measuring and improving Net Promoter Score here.

    Measure and improve Net Promoter Score using email marketing

    We have been talking to a number of companies in the consumer durables sector whose primary means of sales distribution is via third party dealer networks. So, customer engagement programmes need to drive consumers back to their retailer, which means ROI measurement is a challenge.

    One way is to do this is to use the programme to measure and improve your Net Promoter Score (NPS).

    Net Promoter Score evaluates on a score of 0-10 the degree to which customers would recommend your company/product. Your audience can then be segmented by their score into the following categories: 9-10 are “Promoters”, 8-7 are “Passives” and 6-0 are “Detractors”. To calculate NPS you subtract the percentage of “detractors” from the percentage of “promoters”.

    For more details see: http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/creating-a-reliable-metric-loyalty-insights.aspx

    The Net Promoter Score provides a benchmark against which you can measure the loyalty of your customers and because satisfied customers are deemed more likely to promote your company NPS can also be used as an indicator of business growth.

    The process can help you discover what you are doing well and what you need to improve. For example it can help you identify and address  issues with specific products or services. It can provide customer testimonials and even product suggestions that can be fed into the R&D department.

    You can also tailor your messages according to your audience’s NPS score e.g “Promoters” can be given information to share, “Passives” convinced of why you’re great and “Detractors” given answers to their concerns.

    A company in the consumer durables sector that has found monitoring NPS can improve sales is Phillips. Check out this video for a light hearted look at how it worked for them.

    For more information on this and other ways of using email marketing to improve your customer relationships contact David Hearn at Anderson Hearn Keene on 44(0)208 541 4222.

    10 good reasons to use video in B2B marketing

    10_good_reasons

    1. Video is easy to understand – images are processed by the brain 60,000 times more readily than words, so it’s especially good if your product/service is technical or in any way complicated
    2. Video tends to be more memorable than text – http://contently.com/strategist/2013/03/20/the-ultimate-case-for-video-marketing-infographic/
    3. Video conveys brand personality better than text alone – let your customers hear your voice and see the people behind your brand/service
    4. Video can capture your customers’ thoughts too and bring your case studies to life
    5. Video is easy to share – transcends language barriers
    6. Video is highly flexible – use it on websites, at events, across social media
    7. Improve your search ranking by adding new video content to your site –  Youtube is the second most highly visited search engine after Google
    8. Video can increase the amount of time a visitor spends on your website http://www.rossiterandco.com/blog/news/10-web-video-statistics-you-need-to-know
    9. Video can help you stand out – you’ll probably find most of your competitors haven’t started using video extensively in their marketing yet.
    10. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. For details of AHK’s video marketing services see last month’s blog http://www.andersonhearnkeene.co.uk/blog/?p=68

     

     

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