Convince and Convert: Social Media Strategy and Content Marketing Strategy Sun, 20 Apr 2014 22:15:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 7 Ways To Mine The Hidden Gold In Your Customer Data Sat, 19 Apr 2014 10:00:00 +0000  7 Ways To Mine The Hidden Gold In Your Customer Databadge jay says 7 Ways To Mine The Hidden Gold In Your Customer Data

The more you know about your customers, the more you can provide to them information that is increasingly useful, relevant and persuasive. You may have to  but once you have it you’ll have the Mother Lode of customer engagement capabilities.

That was the thesis of a recent Webinar I conducted with my friend and collaborator Jamie Beckland from Janrain, an organization that helps companies improve their conversion rates, relevancy and customer satisfaction by gathering and managing social media profile and behavior data. They are perhaps best known as a provider of social sign-in, whereby you can register or sign-up just by clicking Facebook or Google or Twitter or Linkedin logos, and providing permission. But, they do a lot more than that, and they do it for some of the biggest companies in the world. Plus, Janrain is a long-time partner and sponsor of Convince & Convert and the Social Pros podcast (thanks!).

Eureka! 7 Ways to Mine the Hidden Gold in your Customer Data from Janrain on Vimeo.

In a competitive environment, you don’t win by shouting louder, you win by being more relevant. (please click to tweet)

This is the key to data mining, and why it is so critical. Data equals relevance, and relevance equals success.

You Can Mine Customer Data, Regardless of Budget or Technology

There are some amazing examples of what can be done with 360-degree data and behavior mining. Just check out the Interscope Records example in the Webinar. But you don’t have to go Full Monty to be able to use data to improve your marketing. Here are seven ways you can make data work for you, and the results companies have had with each:

1. Omni-Channel Experience With Account Linking

Best represented by the Interscope Records case study, this full-blown data mining allows for true 1:1 engagement opportunities across multiple websites, mobile apps, email programs, etc.

Interscope Records saw a 900% increase in email open rate using this collection of tactics.

2. Person-Provided Data

This is when you carefully gather data from your customers and prospects directly, and use that data to boost relevance (and results). Software company Avalara used this technique to customize their Webinar topics and follow-up, and produced a 303% increase in Webinar attendance.

3. Gamification to Gather Permission and Data

This is where you use contests, customer assignments, points, badges, levels and more to encourage data exchange. Slim’s Pickins records used this solution and ended up getting their contest hashtag trending worldwide on Twitter world-wide.

4. Email Behavioral Data

In this data-mining option, you use the click behavior on your website and in your emails to produce highly targeted, automated email sequences. This is also known as “progressive profiling” and “drip marketing.” Paper goods e-commerce provider Paperstyle used this playbook to increase their revenue per email by 330%.

5. Profile-Driven Ad Targeting

Here, you use customer segments created based on historically website behavior and use these profiles to rifle-target advertising (for websites that sell ads). New Zealand Herald newspaper online grew their revenue per impression by 20% by using this approach.

6. Retargeted Advertising

This is when you track people who have visited your website(s), and then only show ads to those people downstream. We use this tactic consistently here at Convince & Convert, which led my mother to ask me why we were advertising on a knitting website.

7. Personalized Intelligence

This is data mining for individual or small business use, rather than corporate. The best examples of this are plug-ins like Rapportive, which show you the social media status of people in your Gmail contacts, or Hubspot’s new-ish Signals product (which I love) that tells you when someone has opened or clicked on an email you sent them.



Watch my Webinar with Janrain for many more ideas and examples about how to use data mining to improve your marketing.

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How To Succeed With Visual Social Media Marketing Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:00:00 +0000
Tweetable Moments

Our whole mantra is to celebrate our fans.

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Visual Marketing on All Scales

We have an exciting show today featuring Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio, both of whom are veteran Social Pros guests (and Jessica is a regular guest contributor on the Convince and Convert blog). They join us this week to talk about their new book The Power of Visual Storytelling.

The book, designed for businesses who want to stand out from the noise, focuses on the ways brands can tell their story in the changing media landscape.

The skill set is shifting, says Jessica. A writing background is key to thinking about the whole lifecycle of the content. It’s not just about creating; today’s social pros need to think about how content travels across platform and how it gets consumed.

They see companies hiring more visual artists to create content but also people with publishing backgrounds. “It’s not just about which content you create and which context you put it in,” Jessica says. “It’s about speed too.” What is the right time to produce the right content for the right audience in the right format? Those are a lot of cross-disciplinary skills.

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Ekaterina and Jessica with their new book
The Power of Visual Storytelling

With respect to hiring the highest caliber of talent, big businesses have the edge. But small businesses have a leg up when it comes to being engaged directly with the community.

Ekaterina points out that small businesses “know their local communities better than anybody.” New media provides those brands with the opportunity to capture that relationship and reflect it. That, in turn, can drive positive word-of-mouth and other peer-to-peer recommendations.

Social Media Number of the Week: 24

According to a new study, our ability to perceive, analyze, and respond begins to decline sharply not at the age of 78 or 65… it happens at the age of 24. A research team at Simon Fraser University crunched the numbers on 34 million rows of data and were able to pinpoint “the moment that age-related declines in cognitive motor performance take hold.”

Jeff points out that while your early 20s may be your peak response time in the game situation they tested, “There is something called wisdom and experience that comes into play as you get older.”

Sometimes – especially in social – it’s not the absolute fastest response time that you need; it’s the right response that’s more important. Perhaps to get the right mix of both sides of the equation, it’s best to have a marketing team with a range of ages, backgrounds, and experience.

Holy Social!

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Jessica, Jay, and Ekaterina at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego

In January, the Sacramento Kings became the first professional sports team to stream a live Google Glass feed from their game. But they didn’t stop there. They have been using the wearable technology to show fans the views of cheerleaders, sideline reporters, and even shot some first-person video of the players dunking.

It’s not all about Google Glass with them either; they hosted a Google Hangout with Peja Stojakovic from the sidelines before a game. The Kings also posted a “selfie” of the drone for Sunday selfies.

While the Kings are pushing the envelope with social engagement, everyone else is running to catch up.

Most important to Nick is that all these visual elements of social remain accessible to everyone, even people who aren’t participating actively in social. “Being able to extend these visual contents so everybody is able to participate, not just on your social channels but off, is something we’re going to see a lot more brands begin to do as we move forward in this visual revolution of social.”

See you next week!

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4 Ways To Fix Your Facebook Problem Thu, 17 Apr 2014 10:00:00 +0000 Facebook Chart 471x240 4 Ways To Fix Your Facebook Problembadge jay says 4 Ways To Fix Your Facebook ProblemThere has been a ton of conversation around Facebook’s declining organic reach for businesses. I wrote about it recently in a very popular post on this blog.

Continuing the conversation, my brilliant friend and collaborator Robert Rose from Content Marketing Institute wanted to get some thinking about Facebook from a few colleagues, so he asked me what I thought was really going on.

He asked me to tell him what we’re advising corporate clients to do here at Convince & Convert when it comes to Facebook, and he and I wound up having a fun and robust email exchange on this topic. Also, Robert and CMI are simultaneously publishing our conversation on the Content Marketing Institute blog – with his own commentary. So, if you want another angle on this, you should visit there too.

These are the highlights from our email discussion:

Jay: So, the Reachpocalypse post I wrote represents most of my current thinking about Facebook. But, essentially, yeah we’re getting screwed by Facebook. But, they have a right to screw us and marketers should have seen it coming.

The way we talk about it with clients is similar to how I talked about it in my post: – There are four ways to fix your Facebook problem:

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These are the things we are telling clients. Those that have existing, thriving Facebook communities don’t want to give them up, and are paying (at least some of the time) for organic reach. Those that were never completely committed to Facebook, or those that are just starting (very often B2B organizations) are very much in the “bring on Google+” camp.

Robert: Agreed and we’re saying similar things to our CMI clients – perhaps with a bit more emphasis on your fourth strategy. But I’m actually not convinced that Facebook hasn’t backed themselves into a corner here. Many of my Wall Street friends and clients really doubt future growth without acquisition. That feeds right into a quote from your excellent blog post where you say:

“If you think Facebook isn’t going to eventually pull the EXACT same move with Instagram you are naïve.” (click to tweet)

Jay: Indeed, there is a difference between future growth and future usage. Future growth is going to be a problem, if for no other reason than Facebook is almost universally used now.

Where does Facebook’s growth come from? Convincing Amish to give it a try? (click to tweet)

When you’re at 60%+ penetration and your average user logs on for 30 minutes a day, you don’t have a lot of room to grow organically, other than acquisition. So, what they have to do is better monetize their existing user base, and get financial growth (if not user base growth) from that. Thus, the Reachpocalypse. They are trying to dramatically boost revenue per active member, and so far it’s working. I’m not sure for how long it can last though.

Robert: Exactly right. The question is for how long? That really brings into play how much money we, as marketers, should chase down the Facebook rabbit hole.

Jay: It all depends on whether there is eventually a backlash against promoted posts/native ads. The integration of advertising and “content” works for Google search because on Google search you are actively seeking information/resources so the ads are almost inherently useful. It’s a different psychology on Facebook. People aren’t using Facebook at all times to find products or services. Sometimes, sure. But not all the time. That’s why I think they are actually smart to make it harder to succeed with inferior content on their platform, with moves like increasing ad prices, the 20% text rule, and Reachpocalypse. These moves favor bigger/smarter companies that might more often actually create ads that people like/want to see.

It’s counter-intuitive, and perhaps not infinitely scalable, but it’s the online version of the cheesy infomercial vs. savvy product placement juxtaposition you see on cable TV. Hyundai inserts their brand into Walking Dead and it’s smart and tolerated. Sham-Wow less so, and it’s relegated to the insomnia time block.

Robert: But I think you’ve got the key there – it’s now an Ad Play not a Social play. They’ve backed themselves into the publisher corner – where the idea is to get ads in front of eyeballs (native or otherwise). That puts them squarely in competition with other publishers doing the same – and with no better (in fact in some cases worse) qualitative reach. And that’s ultimately a race to the bottom from a margin standpoint (not to mention a quality standpoint). And, meanwhile, they are disenfranchising the very smart brand content providers they are trying to leverage. Yes, Hyundai now moves money to Walking Dead – ShamWow moves money – temporarily – to Facebook.

So – short term – Facebook is a great place for me to put ads to pull people back into my owned media properties (promoting content or otherwise). Long term – Facebook becomes like regional TV – where local car dealers fight it out with Devry Institute covering hyper local DMA’s.

To me – the whole thing could have been avoided if they had only made the “Like” really worth something. You know, limited it in some way (e.g. give a quota of likes for brand pages). By doing that – they could have made “Likes” a currency – and sold that to brands. Instead, the only way for them to make money now is to extract a higher revenue per subscriber.

Jay: Yes, the Facebook-as-a-publisher concept is very interesting. It’s a known business model leap. Look at YouTube going hard into the original content game. Or Amazon, for that matter. I’m not sure Facebook sees their competition as other publishers, however, especially online. I think they see their competition as broadcast and spot TV. Nothing but TV has Facebook’s reach. That’s why the video ads on Facebook will be so critical, and aren’t getting talked about enough.

Facebook is Wiring, not a Destination

Robert believes that Facebook is no longer a community, but is essentially a publisher – a vessel for advertising. From a business perspective he’s of course correct, but Facebook’s plans go much, much deeper, and what Facebook does on or via mobile app usage is only the tip of their strategic, tactical and revenue iceberg.

As I wrote about in Facebook is much more like Verizon , Facebook is more like a telco than they are like a regular website. They want to be the dial tone of the Internet, at the center of any technologies that connect humans together (Instagram, WhatsApp, now Oculus). This puts them on a collision course with television and telephone, which are far bigger opponents (and far broader ambitions) than anything having to do with organic reach and business Facebook pages.

It’s going to be a wild ride.

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5 Ways to Connect with Your Audience Emotionally to Drive More Engagement Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:00:58 +0000 bigstock man and woman holding frames w 45029542 5 Ways to Connect with Your Audience Emotionally to Drive More Engagement

badge guest post FLATTER 5 Ways to Connect with Your Audience Emotionally to Drive More EngagementAs a marketing professional in today’s über-competitive online space, you understand the importance and value of engaging your audience.

You’re part of the 91% of B2B marketers establishing and building a community using both content and social media marketing. It can be difficult. You’re interacting with your audience constantly: fostering new relationships, nurturing existing ones, and listening/responding to feedback. You’re building trust and rapport and your social reach is growing.

These things are great for building awareness. You’re putting yourself out there and joining in the conversation. You may not think people are interested in your business and what you have to say, but guess what, they are. You just have say it the right way. Here’s why:

Our emotions are the primary driver of our on- and offline actions. (tweet this)

Love a brand, piece of content, or product? Then you’ll probably be compelled to yodel it from a social media mountain! Read a great Yelp restaurant review from a friend? You’re more likely to eat at that place.

However, if we look on the flip side of that emotional coin, an awful experience with a company can be destructive to their reputation as information spreads so quickly.

If you want to generate more positive engagement, you must connect with your audience on an emotional level using valuable content that solves their problems. Use these 5 tips to guide your strategy:

1. Speak to your target customer directly.

You’ve probably heard about developing and maintain a voice for your brand. This voice is what you’ll use in your content and social media communications. These channels are personal for your readers. Don’t speak to the masses.

Appeal to many, but speak to one – your buyer persona.

I’m sure you have wonderful customers that you interact with often. They provide valuable feedback regarding your company’s products and services. Think about them as you’re writing your next blog article. Talk to them like you’re sitting across the dinner table from one another.

One-on-one communication is much more intimate and engaging than a mega-horn.

2. Create unique, valuable insights that can only come from you, not your competitors.

People love exclusivity. Give your audience something they can’t find anywhere else and they’ll automatically gravitate towards you and spread the word. This is especially true if you’re giving these insights away for free.

That’s what Jay’s Youtility concept is all about.

Instead of blending in with your competitors by slightly repurposing the same old topics that you all have written about recently, come up with your own topics that offer your unique take on situations. Show your audience that you’ve got something valuable to offer and you’ll see your audience come back again and again.

3. Use humor, compassion, and empathy.

Never underestimate the power of emotions. If someone can make you smile or shed a tear, you know there’s a pretty strong emotional bond there. These emotions are great to tap into because as humans, we love to relate.

Just ask Bassem Yousseff how powerful laughter can be.

Next time you write an article and have an opportunity to make an inside joke that only your audience will understand, go for it! Or if you’ve recently experienced an issue that your audience can relate to, tell them about it and explain how you resolved it. You can also ask your readers for tips on how they solved the same issue.

Another idea is to highlight any volunteer work your organization has done for any non-profits in your community. It’s always great to see companies dedicated to the betterment of their respective locales. Your audience needs to see that your company is built with real people - that it has a face and a personality that people can relate to and engage with.

4. Pick a side and make your case.

Going back to #2, your audience is looking to you as the expert when it comes to your content. In order to be considered an expert, not only must you provide valuable insights, but you must also take a firm stance.

Back up your points with hard evidence. Maintain your credibility by accurately citing your sources and imagery. Be objective and professional.

Think about political candidates running for office. It’s usually not a good idea when they’re not 100% for, or against a particular policy. They appear indecisive, weak, and untrustworthy. That’s why you need to stay clear-cut. No one likes a flip-flopper.

5. Ask the right questions to make them think.

The easiest way to connect emotionally and drive more engagement amongst your audience is to question them. Ask them about their experiences with your company, your products, or your service.

Is there a hot topic that you know your audience wants to hear your opinion on? Give it to them with your solid stance and then ask them if they agree and why/why not. Encourage healthy debate.

These questions and answers will also help you determine some awesome new topics to add to your content calendar. I can’t tell you how many times I read comments and the author replies, “Ooo that’s good, I’m going to use that!” or, “Your question is great and deserves a full blog post to answer it!” Questions and answers will keep your topics relevant, your content fresh, and your audience engaged.

Do you have any other unique tips or tricks that you’ve used in the past to connect with your audience emotionally? I’d love to hear about them and if they were effective or not. Thanks for your comments!

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Seven Tips For Jumpstarting Your Visual Storytelling Strategy Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:00:27 +0000 badge image of the week Seven Tips For Jumpstarting Your Visual Storytelling Strategy

We’ve all heard marketers proclaim that, “content is king,” but the rise in popularity of visual social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, SlideShare and Vine, have ushered in an era welcoming visual storytelling as a breakout marketing trend for 2014.

Similar to how people grow relationships with each other, visual storytelling offers companies meaningful opportunities to deliver positive experiences that build brand awareness, trust, loyalty and engaged communities. In order to develop and implement successful visual storytelling program, here are seven tips from our new book, The Power of Visual Storytelling, to help jumpstart your strategy:

1) Embrace Visual Imagery

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of visuals! The human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text, offering a powerful advantage to companies that can curate social media-friendly visuals that drive an immediate response. From images, to videos, infographics and presentations, the magic is truly in the mix with more visual mediums than ever before to bring your story to life. 

Over the 2013 Christmas Holiday, Innocent Drinks produced a visual series of “Innocent guides” for Facebook and Twitter to help you navigate common holiday scenarios, such as receiving crappy presents or handling awkward back to work chats. Timely and hilarious, the visuals tied back to the company’s overall mission of making it easy for its customers to be good to themselves.

InnocentBackToWork 1 Seven Tips For Jumpstarting Your Visual Storytelling Strategy2) Personalize, Don’t Spray

Gone are the days where it’s okay to spray the same piece of content across multiple platforms. Instead, today’s social media leaders are embracing the special features, capabilities, and audience demographics of each platform to foster different types of engagement and storytelling.

General Electric leads by example in this category, with highly personalized strategies for all of its channels across the themes of science, technology and innovation. To inspire its community around science, the company turned to Vine to develop six-second science lessons that were easy and accessible to try at home. The content on Vine was so successful that General Electric decided to take the campaign to the next level by hosting a virtual science fair on Tumblr, featuring a mix of brand, influencer and user-generated content.

3) Make Yourself Useful

Want to make your visual content more engaging to your consumers? Focus on being useful.

Shape your visual storytelling strategy by listening to your consumers, from their frequently asked questions, to popular conversation topics, timely events, and issues they care about. Then, strategically leverage visuals to draw more attention and engagement around these popular content topics.

Earlier this year, the BBC News launched an Instagram video news service called Instafax. The program displays 15-second news clips via Instagram video as a way to deliver timely content to its busy community that doesn’t always have time to watch the news. Although positioned as a short-term experiment, the BBC is still producing daily Instafax video content on Instagram, proving the usefulness of this content to its community.

BBCInstafax1 2 Seven Tips For Jumpstarting Your Visual Storytelling Strategy4) Be Human

 Visual marketing performs better when the content has a human element. From tapping into user generated images, to showing behind the scenes content on how a product is made, consumers like to see the human side of your brand. 

As seen with Crest, being human can also mean using visuals to shape your story around the issues, causes or interests that are important to your community. The company produced a series of eye-catching images for its Facebook page themed around relatable dental health topics for parents. While plaque may not seem like desirable social media content, it was incredibly valuable to a community of parents and succeeded in showcasing a more human side to Crest. Crest1 Seven Tips For Jumpstarting Your Visual Storytelling Strategy  

5) Tell A Story

As seen with the visuals thus far, your content’s storytelling element is just as important as the visuals you use. Start with a strong story concept that aligns to your overall social media strategy and goals and the end result will be that much more impactful.

A unique example of using visuals to tell an important company story came when the Calgary Zoo published its 2012 annual report on Instagram. Fifty-five photos and captions served as “pages” in the report, all of which came together to form a powerful story of the good work the zoo did over the course of the year.

Calgary Zoo Seven Tips For Jumpstarting Your Visual Storytelling Strategy  

6) Be Shareworthy In Everything You Do

Your consumers may “like” your content, but are they sharing it with their social community? When consumers share your content, you’re tapping into a powerful word of mouth endorsement from them (unless you made a major social media faux pas!). Analyze your most positive, shareworthy content to date and look for trends to further amplify what your audience is sharing the most.

With the majority of conversation about the Coca-Cola brand online coming from its customers, the company decided to invest in more shareworthy content by turning its traditional corporate website into an engaging visual magazine. The site relies heavily on page view data and consumer insights to determine its overall content strategy, with the end goal of encouraging both its fans and friends of fans audience to spread the news for them.

Coca Cola 1 Seven Tips For Jumpstarting Your Visual Storytelling Strategy 7) Live In The Moment

While there are no shortage of timely opportunities to capitalize on in social media, real-time marketing takes preparation. Understand that relevancy has a deadline, but the best real-time efforts come from knowing your company’s voice and values. Plan for what you can and what you situations your company would respond to, but don’t forget to embrace outlying time-sensitive opportunities as they arise.

An example of being timely without over planning is Dunkin’ Donuts’ #DunkinReplay campaign on Vine. During each Monday Night Football game, the company and agency partners Hill Holliday looked to re-create a marquee play from the first half of each game using Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and latte cups. The Vine was then shared on Twitter with relevant hashtags, allowing the company to enter the Monday Night Football conversation in a way that was fun, while adding value to the social TV conversation around the game.

Want more tips to jumpstart your visual storytelling strategy? Ekaterina Walter and I are joining the Social Pros podcast to chat with Jay about visual storytelling! Tune in this Friday, April 18.

For more information on The Power of Visual Storytelling book, click here.

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5 Ways to Increase Mobile Conversion Rates Tue, 15 Apr 2014 16:15:00 +0000 Untitled 1 5 Ways to Increase Mobile Conversion Rates

badge guest post FLATTER 5 Ways to Increase Mobile Conversion RatesHave you tried using QR codes, SMS, or NFC to increase mobile traffic, but are noticing little to no mobile conversions? You aren’t alone!

If your website is not mobile friendly, you will be lucky to see any conversions. That’s no surprise. However, what is surprising are the studies that have come out recently that show responsive sites are doing no better than non mobile desktop formatted sites.

In case you are not familiar with the terms, responsive sites are websites that rearrange content to fit mobile devices properly. Experts have been saying all sites need to be responsive, and this article isn’t arguing that, it just makes the studies that more shocking. did a very in depth experiment in how effective responsive sites were increasing mobile conversions, and they found no increase what so ever in conversions.

But how can this be?

If a site is mobile friendly, why wouldn’t we see an increase in mobile conversions?

Mobile Responsiveness is Not Enough

A recent case study done by sheds some light on what is missing from responsive sites. A/B tested a responsive site vs. a simplified mobile site (made with their mobile site builder) that offered a coupon and quick tap to call links.

The mobile site that was specifically designed to gather users data in exchange for a coupon had a 55% conversion rate. The responsive mobile site did not increase conversions, but the mobile coupon site increased actual calls to the restaurant 10 to 1.

The coupon site served just a few purposes: limit friction, gather leads, and increase click to calls, and it did a good job of doing all of that.

The studies from Marketing Experiments and are surprising, but they shouldn’t be. People using their mobile phones are on the go or about to be on the go.

Mobile users don’t surf the web on their phones like they do desktops.

If someone is hungry, they check their phone to find somewhere close to eat. If they find a coupon, making a decision on where to go becomes a lot easier. The studies prove that in order to increase mobile conversion rates, you have to create a frictionless experience. (tweet this)

Responsive sites have too much content and are too distracting to notice any increase conversions.

Here are 5 ways to increase mobile conversion rates, given the data we have received.

  1. Less is More: When people are on their mobile devices, they rarely have the time or need to view entire website’s content. Mobile users generally have a specific reason for visiting your mobile site: they are looking for a easy way to contact you, looking for specific businesses near them, or they are window shopping and looking for a reason to shop with a particular company. So keep mobile sites to the point. Don’t distract them with all your content on your mobile site.
  2. A Frictionless Experience is Key: Point 1 above is included in this. When we talk about friction, we are talking about design elements and barriers users go through on your site. For example, scrolling or excessive links to navigate will create extra friction. If you want more mobile users to call you, have a easy click to call button at the top of the header. If there is a promotion you want users to see, have it on the first fold. Don’t make users scroll down on your site forever.
  3. Offers: A lot of the time, mobile users are window shopping. They are on the go looking to be persuaded. Offering mobile users a coupon, as done in the study, is a great hook to persuade mobile users from going to the competition.
  4. Keep Users Coming Back: Mobile is unique because user are more willing to interact and respond to a call to action on their mobile devices. This gives businesses the opportunity to collect valuable data, such as phone numbers and emails that can be used for future marketing endeavours.
  5. Keep Users Engaged: Offers could be used to keep user engaged, but you can also use contests, videos, image slides, or games. These will help reduce your bounce rate tremendously. If users first see a bunch of text as soon as they visit your mobile site, they will likely leave.

Have you seen changes in engagement with your mobile site? Is it what you expected?

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Fix Your Social Media and Website Message Conflicts Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:00:15 +0000 Social Media Magic Fix Your Social Media and Website Message ConflictsAnyone in a prominent marketing role knows that periodically, it’s important to go through the process of changing and/or refining company messaging or positioning.

Positioning in business is related to how we describe ourselves to the world. Today, I have examined a recent positioning change by Accenture. Consider Accenture’s online positioning changes when you go through this exercise and make sure your social media presence doesn’t get left behind.

As a bonus, if you happen to compete with Accenture, this is a competitive heads up to a subtle shift they’ve made. If you work for Accenture, I’ll make few suggestions on how to finish the process you’ve started.

Finding Positioning Changes

Accenture is a company I track in my Interbrand 100 market landscape that I keep in Rival IQ (my firm). I noticed that on April 1st, they made a number of coordinated changes to their homepage and to their meta-tags.

 Fix Your Social Media and Website Message Conflicts

 Fix Your Social Media and Website Message Conflicts

 Fix Your Social Media and Website Message Conflicts

Did Social Media Get Left Behind?

So far, Accenture has done a flawless job at making their new positioning consistent across their web presence. I’ll leave the discussion on the value and what these changes mean to Accenture and their competitors in this market. Where I do have an opinion is about what got left behind and what we can learn from this.

Let’s take a look at how Accenture describes themselves on social media:

 Fix Your Social Media and Website Message Conflicts

Don’t Forget to Address Digital Messaging Conflicts

Positioning work is challenging. I’ve worked on it myself and have felt the pain in changing company positions.

Given that experience, however, I’m very impressed with the consistency that Accenture has shown historically across a multitude of channels.I’m actually quite surprise that as of April 11th, they haven’t updated their social profiles with their latest positioning. Why not?

Take this example to remind yourself to look at your current positioning across the many places your marketing messaging shows up. Are you being consistent? Will Accenture finish the high quality job they started?

How does your positioning compare across your various social and web channels? Tell me your experiences. Have you seen this kind of discrepancy before? I would love to hear from you.

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8 Things I’m Trying to Improve with This New Convince and Convert Website Sun, 13 Apr 2014 10:00:00 +0000 badge jay says 8 Things Im Trying to Improve with This New Convince and Convert WebsiteScreenshot 4 11 14 5 38 PM 8 Things Im Trying to Improve with This New Convince and Convert Website

After a long gestation, I am delighted that we have launched the new site. We don’t change our stripes here all that often (every couple years or so), and I try to have a rationale when we do.

Here are the 8 main things I’m trying to improve with this new design:

1. A Real Home Page

Since almost day one, the Convince & Convert blog has been the home page for the site and for the company. With our consulting business growing quickly, it was time to create a true home page that describes all the things we do here (consulting, training, blog, podcast, email, ebooks, books). Plus, even though Convince & Convert is a company of eight people, I wanted to make sure people still know that I’m personally very involved. So, there’s an intro video from me right in the middle of the home page. (for more on how we operate virtually and a lot of other “did you know” stuff, check out this ultimate FAQ about our business, and business model).

High five and huge thanks to Mikey Mioduski of Mioduski Design for his great work on the new site layout (and also the new site).

The new Convince and Convert blog index 8 Things Im Trying to Improve with This New Convince and Convert Website2. Boost Email Signups

We get a lot of new subscribers each day for our One Thing daily email newsletter, but not as many as we should get, given the traffic on this site. This new design integrates the email signup mechanisms with the site content at multiple points. No pop-ups required, but it’s pretty obvious that we want you to give the One Thing a try. (and we do! if you don’t receive it, you can sign up here, or lots of places on the new site)

3. More Podcast Emphasis

It started with no expectations, but the weekly Social Pros podcast has become one of my favorite ongoing projects, and has also proven to be one of our most important content marketing and sponsor assets. The new site gives us a spiffy new podcast index page, and outstanding new formatting of the podcast-related blog posts.

4. Mobile Consistency

The previous site wasn’t bad when viewed on a smartphone, but it wasn’t great. This design is great. You lose very little impact (and no content) when accessing this site from any device, on any platform. Very, happy and proud about that. Terrific job by Greg Taylor and Jeremy Scott from Marketing Press in making the mobile version work so well, and for a ton of great work on the development of the site overall (more on that below).

5. Increase Time on Site

Partially due to the design and partially due to the very broad audience we attract here, we don’t have a site (historically) that is as sticky as I’d like it to be. Average length of stay is not where I want it, and the new design is set up to make it more comfortable on the eyes, and to more seamlessly recommend other content to you. Partially through the featured posts widget top left, and also through some “you might also like” tools at the bottom of each post. Right now, we are using Disqus for that, but we may be implementing some other technology to recommend posts. Stay tuned.

6. Category Clean-up

Like many blogs that have thousands of posts, we had gotten some creep in our categories. Lots of categories were out-of-date, scarcely used or ill-begotten from inception. We reduced the number of categories significantly, and mapped all old posts to this new group, which required a ton of crafty 301 redirect work from the folks at Marketing Press. Thanks guys!

7. Consulting and Client Clarity

In addition to the blog category sub-nav and fly-out menu, we also cleaned up the top navigation and made it more obvious what we offer from a consulting perspective. I also rewrote the main pages like social media consulting, content marketing consulting, and workshops and coaching to make them more consistent, and to more succinctly explain what we do, and what it costs to have us do it.

We’ve also been almost bashful about talking about our clients at Convince & Convert, so we addressed that this time by moving clients into the main navigation, totally redoing the clients page (organizing them by industry), and adding a clients carousel on the home page.

 8 Things Im Trying to Improve with This New Convince and Convert Website

8. Widgets and Time Savers

We also wanted to make sure that our colossally awesome Managing Editor, Jess Ostroff, could shave some minutes off of some of the repetitive tasks she performs to keep this site rocking and rolling with 8 blog posts, 6 emails and a podcast every week. The Marketing Press guys (in cooperation with our amazing Genesis theme and Synthesis WordPress hosting crew) built a bunch of custom magic behind-the-scenes.

Probably my favorite is the podcast widget, which automatically scrapes the headline of each new podcast blog post, automatically inserts that headline and the featured image, and instantly creates and uploads the podcast promotional graphic that appears on the left side of each blog post. Robots rule!

A Note About Blog Comments
Speaking of the podcast, our guest a couple weeks ago (one of our best episodes ever, by the way) was Brian Clark from Copyblogger. He explained why they pulled comments off of their blog, and I said on the show that we are considering doing the same thing. We haven’t pulled them off yet (obviously), but we may yet. We find that the best interaction with our content often occurs on other platforms (like G+) and I’m not necessarily troubled by that. We’ll see.

I can’t wait to see what the impact of this new design is on our analytics. What do you think of it? Thanks as always for your support!

~ Jay Baer



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How One Father Used a Social Army to Find his Son Fri, 11 Apr 2014 10:00:13 +0000
Tweetable Moments

It really was people. It was that viral.

bringjerryhomeTweet This

Trial by Fire

Bob Pfeifer used social media to bring his son home. Bob’s son, Jerry, went to Central Europe with his mother and half-brother in 2012. When he didn’t return from the trip, Bob used social media to make contacts across the world so he could find his son. In December 2013, Bob and Jerry were finally reunited.

At first, Bob didn’t know much about social media. He created a Facebook page and shared it with his friends, hoping more eyes would see it that way. He expected maybe a few hundred fans and hit that mark within the first few days.

The loosely organized but tightly bonded group, which eventually became known as Jerry’s Army, became the global brand advocates. People in Germany, France, and Spain created their own Facebook pages in their respective countries to get the word out.

Jerry’s Army engaged in what they called “post-bombing,” where they would target a specific city. They’d post pictures of Jerry with the story in the local language on Facebook pages for local bars, entertainers, and media outlets. Then locals would pick up on it, with some local bands even posting pictures of Jerry with the story at their merch tables at shows. From there, Jerry’s Army (and Bob’s cause) gained traditional media attention, as well.

Rather than the blowback Bob expected – maybe some local businesses would see his posting on their page as intrusive – people were quick to embrace his message. People seemed to enjoy and embrace “the ability to be able to help and do good.”

Bob’s biggest ammunition was that he made all of the legal documents public online. He didn’t want it to become a case of “he said/she said” when it came to the custody questions, so he relied on complete transparency. “There was a lot of data that gave people a sense of trust,” Bob says, and that was essential to getting the world on his side to reunite his family.

Holy Social!

Ford and Jimmy Fallon have taken real-time marketing to a new level with the #fingersona4x4 campaign that arose in response to Jimmy Fallon looking for a new truck.

When Jimmy Fallon said he was looking for a new truck and asked for suggestions, automotive brands were there with their own recommendations. GM, Ram, and Nissan all jumped in with various real-time responses, but Ford was the eventual winner.

Fallon announced the Fingers on a 4×4 campaign to help him decide which dealer would sell him his new Ford F150. This is a new version of real-time marketing: not only is Fallon engaging directly with the massive car companies; he’s also engaging directly with the individual Ford dealers.

If it were solely a national campaign, it would be just another case of big brands talking to big entertainment. By engaging with the individual dealers, this becomes a real story.

Social Media Number of the Week: 1-800-843-5678

In light of Bob’s touching the story, the only number that makes sense to share this week is the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children‘s phone number: 1-800-THE-LOST, or 1-800-843-5678. You can also find them on Twitter @missingkids.

There are lots of ways to get involved with them, from corporate sponsorships (join the likes of Google, Canon, Old Navy, Honeywell, and Sprint) to individual donations.

The first three hours are critical in any missing persons case, so that hotline is essential in getting the word out.

See you next week!

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H&R Block Declares a Hipster Tax Crisis Thu, 10 Apr 2014 10:00:03 +0000 Screenshot 2014 04 09 11.54.08 H&R Block Declares a Hipster Tax Crisis

Image via

badge image of the week H&R Block Declares a Hipster Tax CrisisAccording to H&R Block, the American Hipster is in a deep crisis – a Hipster Tax Crisis.

Leading into the 2014 tax season, the company launched a satirical campaign with a cause-marketing element that pokes fun at Hipsters who are, “struggling to file taxes in non-ironic ways.” Created with the goal of showing the more fun side of H&R Block, the campaign is targeted at raising awareness with millennials. 

Screenshot 2014 04 09 11.51.01 H&R Block Declares a Hipster Tax Crisis

The campaign is housed on a dedicated microsite, with content being shared across H&R Block’s social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Centered around the theme of the Hipster Tax Crisis, H&R Block curated a series of “Hipster Tax Facts” from campaign spokesperson Kenny Mayne. Mayne, who is well-known for his work with ESPN, also stars in a series of videos on the company’s YouTube channel.

The “Hipster Tax Facts” are packed into nice, shareable visuals and toggle the line between useful and obscure, with zany one-liners such as, “You must report your income, even if you think it’s such an obscure number that no one else would truly understand.”

There’s also the gem below about what does not qualify you for a farm tax credit.

Screenshot 2014 04 09 11.51.13 H&R Block Declares a Hipster Tax Crisis

The campaign also offered fans the option to vote for the “Greatest Hipster in History” and an opportunity to “Hipsterize” a photo of yourself. For the “Greatest Hipster in History,” Socrates won the coveted honor for founding Western philosophy before it went mainstream. The option to Hipsterize yourself is still available on the site. Simply upload a photo, play around with your Hipster accessories and you’re set. I couldn’t resist trying it out.

Screenshot 2014 04 09 11.51.29 H&R Block Declares a Hipster Tax Crisis

Throughout the campaign, participants are encouraged to share, whether it’s a Hipster Tax Fact or a Hipsterized photo of yourself or something else entirely. For each element shared during the campaign, H&R Block will make a charitable donation to Covenant House, a non-profit serving homeless children, up to $10,000.

What can companies learn from H&R Block’s Campaign?

  • Start With Goal Setting: H&R Block had a specific goal for this campaign – to raise awareness of the brand with the millennial audience. By setting a goal and identifying a target audience, they were able to think outside of the box and develop an innovative campaign with KPIs to measure success around this goal.
  • Know Your Target Audience: According to H&R Block, the millennial audience typically files their taxes early using online software. Depending on how early the millennial audience files their taxes, the company could structure the campaign accordingly around raising awareness, engagement, share of voice, in addition to volume from the target audience who used H&R Block to complete their taxes.
  • Create Multiple Opportunities for Engagement: By leaning heavily on creative visuals, the Hipster Tax Facts and “Hipsterize Me” features became highly shareable pieces of content. Each piece of visual content related back to the overall story H&R Block wanted to tell with the campaign, allowing them to pull in new participants through word-of-mouth endorsement and social sharing.
  • Reward Participants for Sharing Content: While marketers always aim for campaigns to be highly shareable, offering a donation to a non-profit for sharing was a nice way of saying thank you to people who participated. For other types of campaigns, it can also be a good strategy for tapping into advocates for a specific non-profit or cause that helps to spark awareness for the initiative.
  • Consider Additional Channels: Although the campaign primarily lived on the dedicated microsite, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the company could have considered additional ways for personalizing content to further extend the reach. Instagram and Vine videos could have been leveraged for the most popular Hipster Tax Facts. Pinterest, for example, also has a dedicated Hipster Tax Crisis board, but none of the Hipster Tax Facts were pinned. Given the interest in sharing quotes and fact based visuals on Pinterest, it would have been a good channel to leverage as well.
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