Training camps are organized by the Triangle AMA to allow their members to gain knowledge and skills about a particular subject. This is a full-day event designed to provide you with valuable information you can take away and use in your daily work life. The digital marketing training camp was designed to get us up to speed with the latest marketing techniques and best practices used in our industry.
The day started out with our keynote speaker, Peter Shankman. He is an author, entrepreneur, speaker and worldwide connector. The list of things this man has accomplished is astonishing; I could go on for days but I won’t. Shankman’s talk focused mostly on customer service, privacy and social media.
He started out telling a couple of stories on how you have to own what you do. Meaning, if you put something on the Internet, you need to own it. Put your logo or collateral on whatever you do. This will help with brand recognition and will also provide people with a way to contact you if things take off overnight. Be prepared. Have a backup plan for when you succeed.
Another point he made was that no one cares about how great you are if you have to tell them. This led to a discussion on the power of word of mouth. Everyone is a “brand ambassador” for you—just make sure they are saying the right things about your company. From there we talked about listening to your customers. This seems like a simple concept, but it’s very important. Your customers are the ones who purchase from you, so take direction from them and what they want. Otherwise, your business will fold.
Social media was the next topic from Shankman. I won’t go into too much detail on this topic, because it was mostly about what the future may hold. Basically, his point was that businesses need to be very transparent in social media because there is no more privacy. He went on to tell us how he thinks that Facebook is going to be bigger than Google in the future. I don’t see much point in arguing with this … time will tell.
Brian Dally talked about the future of mobile and a case study from the Republic Wireless beta release. Dally is the SVP & GM of Mobile Division at Republic Wireless, a division of Bandwidth.com.
Dally reiterated a point that Shankman made about the importance of good writing and grammar. He said that good writing starts with a good subject and theme (compelling motive).
He then talked about Republic Wireless and its beta release story. Republic Wireless is an “unlimited everything” phone plan for $19/month. It’s revolutionary because it uses software that will force WiFi calling over a regular service connection. There are many details on how this happens; check out their website for more information.
He left us with this takeaway: With writing, you need an interesting subject, a compelling motive, a clear theme and real characters.
After an amazing lunch, David Rose, the COO at Magnet Video, talked about online video marketing. Video is an essential piece to many marketing campaigns. It reaches across almost every channel—landing pages, email, mobile, events and social media. Leveraging video on these channels can lead to sales and conversions.
When creating videos, you need to figure out your target audience and call to action. When crafting your videos, keep in mind that no one is watching after 60 seconds, which equates to about 145 spoken words. So keep it simple.
You need to think about how people are viewing your videos. Keep in mind that there are 24 million smartphone users who watch videos each year. During production, you should also consider things that will date your videos and affect their shelf life. Things like hairstyles, clothes and catch phrases will all have an impact.
Rose also went into detail about how you can help make your videos crawlable by search engines. Besides using headlines, tactics like transcribing videos in YouTube will help search engines crawl the text of your videos more effectively. This will increase the chance that your video will display in search results.
Jenny Halasz is the owner of JLH Marketing, and her talk was about search engine and landing page optimization. She started out with some basic SEO tips and ideas. Some must-haves are: you must be seen, you must be relevant and you must give a motive to click. What shows up in search engine results are the drivers that get a user to click, so this is an important thing to consider for marketers.
One great point she mentioned is that page load times are a factor in your SEO rank. She also said that most people only read 8 words per page. Going with this logic, you need to grab visitors’ attention with great CTAs and simplified design.
Another good point Halasz made was understanding personas and what motivates them. This is very important when creating design and copy for your site. The more you can reduce friction, the better your chances of conversion. She says to follow the Rule of Three: focus on three things you want the user to do.
Jon Barlow is a creative technologist and digital strategist at Capstrat. His presentation was on gamification of your brand. Gamification is taking elements of your site and turning them into a game-like feature. The overall purpose of gamification on your website is to increase engagement. Barlow said that you should do this based on human desires like reward, status, achievement and self-expression; these are basic game dynamics.
A good example of a company that uses this is mint.com. They take regular tasks that no one really likes to do and turn them into a series of game-like features. Also, the fitness world is using it with products like the FitBit and Nike Band, so gamification is really starting to catch on.
Greg Ng is the CXO here at Brooks Bell and his presentation was on converting existing visitors to customers. This one is easy … it’s all about testing! Ng says that according to shop.org, ecommerce sites report an average conversion rate of 2.2%; but what about the 97.8% that do not buy? Spend more time on the people already in the funnel and less time on getting more people in the funnel.
Relevance is the right message to the right customer at the right time. It’s okay to target your visitors to make the experience customized to them so they will have a higher chance of converting.
You must believe in the power of data, not hunches. Hunches never trump data. You need to learn and understand your customer; never assume. Also, let your visitors self select. You can deliver the right message when you have your users segmented into groups. Another good tip is to never assume that what works for others will work for you. Always test things when possible.
Consider the device. Not all of your users visit your site with the same operating system, screen size, device, etc. Take a look at your data and segment to deliver the most effective messaging and experience to your users. You can find a handy calculator here: http://www.statscalc.com
The Triangle AMA did an awesome job with this event. The speakers were great and engaging. The overall theme of the event is that your marketing efforts have to be adaptive. You can’t trust your instincts or what everyone else is doing; you have to dive into your data and see who your consumers are. From there you should start testing your marketing techniques to learn what is most effective for your visitors.
What testing techniques have you used that are converting your visitors?
Photo credit: Jenny Halasz