Identifying Influencers. Do you know who they are in your social media channels?

Today I moderated a Twitter chat #SMCColumbus where we discussed Social Media Influencers.  Here’s some of the highlights.

What’s a social media influencer?

Short definition: Someone who is active on a social media channel who are well respected and likely to be listened to.

Successful social media marketing isn’t simply about amassing thousands of followers, but instead precisely identifying the most influential members of your audience and recognizing them for their value. By directly engaging one influencer with exclusive opportunities, special offers, and unique content, you are indirectly engaging thousands of other people who are part of this influencer’s social sphere.

Keep in mind, the type of friends, fans and followers a brand amasses on social media sites matters more than the number. On average, approximately 1% of a site’s audience generates 20% of all its traffic through sharing of the brand’s content or site links with others. And these “influencers” drive an even higher share of conversion. These very important Internet users can directly influence 30% or more of overall end actions on brand websites by recommending the brand’s site, products or promotions to friends.

How do you measure the influence?

In my opinion, it depends on the specific media source of course.

  • Blog- traffic as measured on sites like compete.com, Alexa.com.
  • Twitter-followers are a good indicator of influence as well as number of times listed. After that, re-tweets. Services to help: Klout, PostRank

The most influential are not on just a single network, but across multiple networks. Just like a luxury product goes well with another luxury product, so do different social media channels.  This way they take advantage of both Reach AND Frequency.

How do you find them?

1. Use reporting and traffic analysis tools to find out who your most influential followers are.   Radian6 is a good option.  The goal is to find which individuals are most actively sharing your brand’s links and messages.

2. Find out what motivates them.  Are they seeking exposure and fame?  Do they tend to share deals and discounts? Or do they prefer to share links to your branded entertainment content, like YouTube videos, social games and contests, or informational articles?

3. Engage your fans and followers around what they like about your brand and products, why they like it, what they’d like to see improved, and what types of opportunities and offers they’d be most interested in receiving.  Just be authentic and don’t sell.  Because if you overly “sell” to your influencers, you’ll burn a bridge and potentially turn your biggest fans into your worst enemies.  Be personalized.  Be authentic.

What are the key mistakes when targeting influencers and how to avoid them?

First, you need to appeal to them. If you want them to do something, you need to give them an idea of what’s in it for them, without being offensively obvious about it. The fact is that you need their help more than they need yours, so you have to be political about it. Secondly, a canned message rarely works. If you truly want to get them on your side, you better let them know that you actually are a fan and know what they are about.

Here’s some additional feedback:

@MatthewRusso: A SoMe Influencer iuses their active audience to distribute timely, useful content and messages to make a difference.  Quantity breeds quality. You have to put SOMETHING out to start engaging. Without access, no opportunity for a connection.  Finding SoMe influences depends on the goals of a campaign. Targeted niches might be best, but sheer volume may also work.  You never know what will work until you try it first. Then you can refine/adjust based on feedback.  My local presence has grown due to the in-person meetups I mentioned earlier. Connecting offline has been key.

@nxtconcepts: An Influencer is someone who identifies their advocates and recognizes them for their value and contributions.  We try to keep in mind that we need Social Media Influencers help, more than they need ours.

@tonnishaenglish: I would measure their influence by the ppl they attract & the way they make a difference. I would rather ONE follower I am engaged with & making a difference for than have ONE MILLION & do nothing.  Also, if you don’t know who/what your target is, how can you aim for/at anything? That could lead to mistake #1.

Building a Social Media Calendar

Need some topic ideas to build your social media marketing and posting calendar?  Here’s some of the things we use:

a)     Week ahead. Write a weekly piece about what members can expect in the week ahead.

b)    Events preview. Write an events preview, include predictions from members, short snippet of interviews and other material that involves a broader group.

c)     Events review. Review recent events. Let others contribute their opinion. Members can reflect on the event together.

d)    Predictions. Invite members to make predictions about the future, everyone loves to do it.

e)    Interview members. Members interviews should be cornerstone content. It creates engaged readers for life, encourages referrals and gives people means to compare themselves to others.

f)      Interview VIPs. VIPs are usually eager to talk to connected groups of people. Who is a VIP in your industry?

g)     Product reviews. What products are members likely to be using in the future? Can you review some?

h)    Member achievements. Who has achieved something fantastic this week? Ask members to submit their achievements.

i)      Gossip column. Risky, but often popular. Invite members to submit topical gossip and publish it as a weekly column. Go easy on the venom, heavy on the fun.

j)      Member of the week/month. Like the above, but a member of the week/month tends to be popular.

k)    Statement from the community. On a frequent basis I’d ask members to contribute to a statement from the community. i.e. We’re furious bank fees are going up, please input on what you would like in a statement from the community.

l)      People on the move. Who is moving? It might be people changing jobs or people moving house or any relevant ‘move’. Hard to resist this sort of content.

m)   Latest news. Overused in most communities, but often useful. What’s the latest news in your topic?

n)    Job vacancies. Any jobs available? Reach out to recruiters or compile a job tips page. Any information that would encourage people to participate in the job vacancies page.

o)    Competition. When they’re done right they’re really a lot of fun.

p)    VIP spotted. Has any member spotted a VIP at an event recently, submit it here.

q)    Opinion pieces. Give people in your community a chance to give their opinion in a rotating-authorship opinion section. Everyone gets a turn.

r)     Guest columnists. Will any relevant business in your sector write a guest column?

s)     Advice section. Summarize the latest advice, what’s the general consensus of the online community?

t)     News round-up. What is the round-up of the news this week? It’s a simple place a member can visit to see what’s new without trawling various sources of industry news.

Let me know if you find this helpful or have any to add.

Social Media Measurement. Let’s Talk Tangibles.

Social Media Measurement.  We hear a lot about it.  I constantly see people touting that it should be, and can be done.  But, when you get right down to it, I have a hard time finding people that provide concrete examples of how they are doing it.

Sure, I’ve seen quite a few articles and presentations where people say measurement is about:
“Focusing on listening”
“Facilitating conversions”
“Leveraging relationships”

Let’s be honest, that tells me absolutely nothing.  And instead conjures pictures in my mind of trapping people in a room and telling them the only way out is to say “the magic words”.  Even then, I bet there still would be people that wouldn’t listen.

Social media measurement is a tricky subject, there are quite a few intangibles.  Not everything can or should be measured.  And, getting data is a bit more challenging since the focus is on relationships and value exchange.  Not to mention the limitations within the networks themselves.  In any case, no matter how large or small your business, the first thing you need to do as a social marketer is answer the question, “why are we doing social media”.  The answers you get, will help you determine what to measure.

For example.  At nxtConcepts, we tackled  “why are we doing social media” with a few of the following answers:
1. To learn.
2. To demonstrate in a live scenario the work we can do for clients.
3. Affordable national brand awareness.

Once we wrote that down, it started to make the intangible, tangible and measurement possible.  (Without locking anyone in a room.)

Answer 1. To learn.
Measurement-Engagement (# of comments, retweets, Likes, Photo or video uploads, event participation, poll usage, bookmarks, downloads and discussions)

Answer 2. To demonstrate in a live scenario the work we can do for clients.
Measurement--Application usage (games, landing pages, media players, sign-ups, Foursquare type interactions, plug-in’s that extend social media to an organization’s website)

Answer 3. Affordable national brand awareness.
Measurement--Awareness (# of Fans and followers over time and how it compares to others in the industry, social media sharing)
Measurement--Analytics (profile data, conversions, demographics, page/media views, churn)

What are some ways your organization answers the question, “why are we doing social media”?

Top 10 Tips for Mobile Marketing

When developing a mobile campaign, here are some do’s and don’ts:

 

1. K.I.S.S.

For best results, messages should be short and to the point. You have an insanely limited amount of space to communicate something, so make it count. Text messaging is limited to between 140-160 characters, so keep the content simple, to the point, and don’t forget the call to action.
2. Ask for Permission.

Subscribers pay for text messages. No one wants to pay for content they did not choose to receive.  People today are accustomed to being asked whether they’d like to receive additional offers/news when downloading content from the Web. This opt-in process is even more critical in the wireless world. Every campaign you send out should also feature a quick and easy way to opt-out.  It’s not only polite but required by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA).

3. Create a compelling offer.

Take great pains to ensure your offer is something your subscribers want. Strong offers can substantially increase subscribers, build brand awareness and increase sales for marketers.  A study conducted by Nokia indicated that nearly 9 out of 10 respondents agreed that they should be provided some kind of an incentive to opt-in to mobile marketing campaigns.

4. Every phone is different.

So make sure every message you send can be seen.  There are myriad of mobile phone choices today and a variety of platforms (text, mobile web and mobile video).  Phones can vary from simple SMS (Short Message Service) phones to highly sophisticated color wireless PDA’s (Personal digital assistant).  Screen sizes and quality range from small black and white screens to high-resolution matrix color displays.  Your mobile messaging provider should be capable of optimizing content for a variety of different platforms, including J2ME, BREW, WAP, and MMS.

5. Make it Viral.

Capitalize on mobile’s peer-to-peer communication abilities.  Users forwarding your message to their friends and colleagues (thus enhancing the reach of each message sent) facilitate viral or “word-of-mouth” marketing.  Adding “fun” or a give-away to messages may also facilitate viral marketing.

6. Piggyback on traditional marketing.

Just because you have it, doesn’t mean your customers will know it’s there.  Marketers must use other online or offline channels to drive users to participate in their mobile campaigns.  This means online advertising, email, social media, print ads, collateral, billboards, radio and television commercials can all be used to alert mobile consumers of a particular promotion, or invite them to join your mobile program.  Aside from increasing ROI, mobile marketing also enables better tracking of consumer behavior leading to useful reporting and data-mining capabilities.

 

 

 

7. Track your results.

Reporting is built-in to mobile platforms and occurs in real-time.  By tagging ad campaigns with a unique mobile keyword call to action, you can track each response to the exact ad that generated it.  Tracking your results also allows you to learn and improve the results of future campaigns.  Most professional mobile platforms include: polling tallies, survey results, total messages sent, total messages delivered, and more.

 

8. Allocate enough set-up time

Most businesses wait until the last minute of a campaign launch to start their mobile campaigns.  The problem, there is no one to market to.  It takes time to build up a subscriber list.  Starting months prior to a campaign will ensure you have people to send important messages to when it counts.  Don’t have the time?  All is not lost!  Mobile marketing is very flexible and time sensitive.  That means a last minute mobile campaign can be successful if done correctly.  Using a text messaging partner (like nxtConcepts) with previous marketing experience can be invaluable.

9. Start because it’s affordable. Continue because it works.

Some marketers may be tempted to develop a mobile campaign just because it can be a small line item in an otherwise big marketing budget. Big mistake.  Although mobile marketing can be very inexpensive to start and implement–sometimes just a few hundred dollars—it takes time and attention to make it successful.  By treating a mobile campaign strategically and integrating it with other online and offline advertising it will help it grow and thrive.

10. Perfect pitch platform

So why should businesses care about mobile marketing?  Simple.  The same demographics’ that are interested in buying your products and services are also the most likely to use mobile phones.  In a nutshell, every single one of your customers has a cell phone and there’s no better way to reach and engage them.

Top 10 Search Engine Optimization Myths

Strategies for ranking well in “natural,” or “organic,” search engine listings are quite different from those used in paid search engine advertising. Search engine optimization (SEO) specifically concerns natural search results.

Plenty of unethical search engine marketers will take your money by making false promises without a moment’s hesitation. Unfortunately, the snake-oil sales pitches may tell you exactly what you want to hear.  Don’t fall for it!

What exactly is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?  It is the art and science of getting a website noticed on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, LookSmart, etc.  It is often a complicated, timely, and manually intensive process that is somewhat akin to working with a moving target.

Remember the fundamental principles of optimization:
•    Keyword-focused text. Use the words and phrases that your target audience types into search queries.
•    Information architecture and page layout. Give both search engines and searchers easy access to content while providing a sense of place and clear scents of information.
•    Link development. Increase the number and quality of objective, third-party links pointing to a Web page.

Myths

Myth 1: Submitting your site to thousands of engines is the way to get web traffic.
Unfortunately, there aren’t even a thousand engines to submit to.  Whether you decide to do it or pay someone to do it for you, all you will get is you website listed on “Free for All” (FFA) sites that are not really search engines.  All they really do is list links to the last 50 or so URLs that were submitted.  These sites are rarely used since search engines make up 90% of the searches on the web.  And that means that these programs or services will not even get you listed in many of the top engines.

Myth 2: It’s all about Meta tags.
The general reasoning behind people or companies still wanting or attempting to use meta tags is: “Meta tags will make all the difference for our web site” or “We have heard or read of companies that their web sites were placed way on top because of meta tags”. My response–five years ago, it could have been true.

At the beginning of the Internet, meta tags were originally incorporated in a site as an attempt to better assist webmasters. They were also included to help search engines discover what their site was all about. Well, it didn’t take long for people to find a way to abuse the system.

Some actually tried and successfully got around in abusing this technique by writing useless keywords into their meta tags in hopes to trick the search engines to rank them higher. Today, and because of all this abuse, most major search engines, especially Google, are placing less and less importance in the presence or absence of meta tags and their content.

Myth 3: Resubmit your website often to engines
Contrary to popular opinion, submitting a website every week or every month to the major search engines will not help your rankings, in fact it might do just the opposite. Once a website is in a search engine’s database, it usually won’t go away with time.

For all intents and purposes, once a website has been professionally optimized for all its major keywords & key phrases, normally the site should consistently yield excellent, positive results and will drive targeted visitors into your business. You should be careful of any company or individual that claims otherwise.

Many businesses and large companies are flooded daily with useless spam and emails that claim to offer a monthly submittal service for a small fee. The majority of the search engines that these services plan to submit your site are, for the most part, totally unknown to the search engine community.

Myth 4: SEO experts are too costly
Search Engine Positioning and optimization (SEO) is generally much less expensive than certain PPC (Pay-for-Click) programs and less costly than any other marketing campaign you can conduct, both online or offline. It usually costs much less than traditional offline advertising such as radio, TV, direct mail, print ads, booths at trade fairs, etc.

A professional SEO program can bring you a high ROI (Return on Investment) if done correctly. That means a fairly smaller investment could significantly raise your targeted site traffic by anywhere from 45% to 85% or sometimes even higher.

Myth 5: We can optimize ourselves in house looking to outsource it is a waste of money.

SEO isn’t rocket science, but it also isn’t something that can be learned overnight.  This is an SEO myth we get to hear a lot. As with so many things today, from the outset, it sure looks simple. Some think that a bit of “tweaking” with a few meta tags and inserting a keyword or a key phrase in the title tag amounts to great SEO optimization.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

To be really successful, a company that wishes to do “in house” optimization needs to get prepared to constantly adjust or make important changes to their search algorithm, and keep up with the daily changes in the world of search engines for the latest changes. Effective search engine optimization is demanding, complex, and precise. A competent SEO professional wields a wide array of technical as well as verbal skills, and deep experience is absolutely key to doing effective SEO.

To give a sense of the challenges involved, anyone who expects to make a go at doing SEO must be able to answer all of the following questions:
What percentage of popular single words vs. targeted multi-word phrases should you weave into your text, and in what frequency, density, and distribution?
How can Flash be used while preserving SEO?
What usability and navigation principles ensure that the traffic you get will convert optimally?

Myth 6: In-House SEO Is Cheaper
The Truth: SEO professionals can get higher rankings faster because Search Engine Optimization and Marketing is complex, technical and has a steep learning curve. Professional organizations devoted to SEO also have a team available, including copywriters, developers and SEO specialists.  Unless you have a room full of marketing staff dedicated to SEO it is hard to keep up. How much is 10, 15, 20 hours a month worth to you in a dollar amount? SEO professionals make you money by saving you that time and effort, at a cost you can afford.

Myth 7: Only go with a Guaranteed Search Engine Position company
SEO Myth: “Your top ten search engine ranking can be guaranteed”
The Truth: Some SEO firms will advertise a “guarantee” to have you listed in the top ten rankings. No one other than the search engines themselves can guarantee any ranking. Don’t believe it. Trust their results for other clients and make your decision from actual client successes, not empty promises and guarantees.

Credible, experienced, knowledgeable search engine optimizers can demonstrate results from past performance but cannot guarantee future results. In that sense, they’re just like stockbrokers. No broker knows how future markets will perform, and no optimizer knows what future search engine algorithms will be.

Except for pay-for-placement advertising, optimizers cannot guarantee top positions. Only one group has final control over what ranks and what doesn’t: the search engines themselves. All of the major search engines have some sort of disclaimer stating they ultimately decide which Web pages will be included in their indexes.

Unfortunately, a large number of the SEO firms that offer guaranteed search engine positions are spammers. To achieve top positions, thousands, even millions, of doorway pages are submitted to search engines. If one such doorway page gets a top position, even if only for a few days, the SEO firm fulfilled its end of the contract.

People like the comfort of a guarantee. Many believe a guarantee shows the firm’s confidence in their skills and expertise. Remember, a guarantee is only one part of a sales pitch. The same guarantee that convinces you to sign the contract may very well result in spam practices that will get your site penalized or banned altogether.

Myth 8: We can get you Instant Link Popularity
Anyone who promises link popularity right off the bat is spamming search engines. In all likelihood, SEO firms that promise instantaneous results build link farms to artificially inflate link popularity.

Quite often, these firms rely on expired domains on Yahoo and Open Directory. Many of the link farm sites aren’t even in the same industry. Why would a mortgage site link to a site that sells watches?

Results people see during the sales pitch that are generated by link farming are short-lived. Search engine software engineers discover the link farms and promptly remove their sites.

Quality link development takes time.

Myth 9: You Don’t Have to Change Your Web Site
A Web site is always a work in progress because the Internet is constantly evolving. Browsers are frequently updated to support improved HTML, Cascading Style Sheets, scripting, and multimedia files.

If you haven’t written your site using the keyword phrases your target audience types into search queries, your pages won’t rank well. And if you did use keyword phrases on your pages, were those phrases used prominently and frequently enough so the pages appear focused? This must hold true not only from a crawlers’ point of view but from your visitors’ point of view as well.

Be prepared to modify your content in places with the highest impact. That includes HTML title tags and visible (body) text: headings, paragraph tags, hyperlinks, table cells, ordered and unordered lists, and so forth. Modifying content in meta tags alone won’t make your site appear more focused.

If a site doesn’t contain at least one navigation scheme crawlers can follow and a URL structure they can easily index, participation in paid-inclusion programs should be part of your budget.

Myth 10: The goal is to be number one or on page one.
Not true. Your goal is to optimize your return on investment in SEO and SEM (Search Engine Marketing). You’ll miss the big picture if you focus myopically on obtaining page-one ranking for a few words that you think best describe your products or services. The goal of SEO and SEM is to engineer a diversified portfolio of hundreds or even thousands of targeted phrase combination’s of words that, together, achieve maximum ROI. Depending on the frequency of searches relevant to your offerings, a few targeted phrases could earn you enormous ROI. Or, conversely, you may need scores of synonymous phrases or single words to rank on page one in order to achieve maximum ROI.

Has Your Business Lost Brand Control?

With the prevalence of social media and the internet, businesses no longer have complete control of their marketing messages. Consumers who are willing to talk about their experiences – also have the power to change perception.

What are some of the steps you are using to manage your reputation?

Here’s three we do:

1. Monitor. We use a variety of search tools to keep track of what is being said about our company, the people that work here, our services, clients, and other relevant keywords that appear online.

2. Evaluate. We read through everything. Then, we need to decide “if”, “how”, “when”. and “what” approach to use.

3. Act. Before we comment, we try to take into account the source, outlet, timing, and level of risk what we might say will have in the social sphere. We also try to decide if it is better to respond publicly or privately.

What else would you add?

What is Sponsorship Marketing?

Sponsorship marketing is typically done for promotional purposes, to generate publicity, or to obtain access to a wider audience than your budget can afford.  Although you may think of corporate sponsorship’s as in-kind donations, that’s not longer the case.  It‘s a booming $11 billion dollar industry according to IEG’s 2004 industry report.

Sponsorship marketing is done financially or through the provision of products or services to support an event, activity, person, or organization where two or more parties benefit from the arrangement.  The key to building successful sponsorship programs is to match the correct products or services with the people who want to purchase them.

Benefits of Building a Sponsorship Marketing Program

  • Low cost way to create visibility and traffic for an organization.
  • Increased marketing dollars to stretch limited budgets.
  • Inexpensive way to increase sales.
  • Increased loyalty through consistent brand building.
  • Increased pr/media exposure.
  • Exciting employees and incenting sales representatives.

How it Works

What attracts a sponsor is “eye balls”.  The more people or targeted impressions you can deliver to a sponsor, the more money or services you will be able to attract.  It’s that simple.

Any organization can start a marketing sponsorship program.  Of course the success of it depends on: what your organization does, who your customers are, and how you structure the exposure for the sponsor.

Organizations Most Attractive to Sponsors

Still not sure if it’s worth devoting time or money to building a sponsorship program?  Then, check out the top five industries, according to IEG, that companies with sponsorship dollars are looking to spend them with:

  • Sporting events or venues
  • Travel or Entertainment Organizations
  • Educational or Non-Profit organizations
  • Art Related Organizations
  • Web based businesses or organizations with highly visited websites

Getting Started-Seven Steps to Building a Sponsor Program

1. Define your product / service

Be as specific as possible about what your organization has to offer. While your organization’s activities are the main product, other products or services can also be considered as offerings to sponsors including: sales materials, uniforms, preferential booking of facilities or discount rates.

2. Define the Target Market

A sponsorship marketing strategy will only by successful if it is aimed at the appropriate group of people. You can quickly identify your target market by looking at your current customers and considering common factors that they share.

– Demographics age, sex, marital status, occupation, ethnic groups, religion, education, etc

– Psychographics behavioral groups such as skiers, skateboarders, families

– Geographic location (local, regional, national)

3. Set Your Objectives

A clear, documented idea of what it is your organization is trying to achieve is needed.

Do you want to have your brochure costs covered by a sponsor, increase your advertising buys, or maybe have the cost of your next special event covered?

4. Develop a Marketing Strategy

When your objectives are clear, the next step is to develop a marketing strategy to help achieve those objectives.

If you want to have your next brochure costs covered you strategy may revolve around selling advertising in it.  If, on the other hand, you want to cover the cost of your next special event, you need to use different strategies such as emphasizing how the sponsor will be represented at your organization, in promotional materials, and advertising.  Remember, the more people you can deliver to a sponsor, the more valuable they will find your program.  Use whatever means it takes to do that: newsletters, signs, radio or TV spots, press releases, website, etc.

5. Develop an Action Plan

Once you know what you want to do, it’s time to actually do it!  The key to a good action plan is to outline the activities to be achieved—assign people to get the tasks done and make sure to set a realistic deadline.  Don’t forget to set up a reporting process so you know what’s done and what might need extra attention.

6. Build your Sponsor Packet

The Sponsor Packet is what you will use to communicate your sponsor program to prospects.  In its most basic format, a Sponsor Packet would include:

a)     Description of who you are and what you do

b)    Description of the target market you can deliver to sponsors

  1. I.    E.g. 25 – 35 year old family heads of households

c)     Summary of your marketing objectives

  1. I.    E.g. To expand marketing exposure

d)    Marketing strategies

  1. I.    E.g. Online and offline Sweepstakes

e)     e). Action plan

  1. I.    E.g. Develop online and offline entry forms and promotional flyers to be distributed by sponsor.  Promote will begin 4 weeks ahead of the giveaway through radio ads, press releases, and local search engine marketing.

7. Package it.

You’ll be asking a lot from your sponsors so make sure your presentation represents you well.  Be accurate and concise with your content.  If possible try to have it professionally printed and include photographs to enhance presentation. The use of special paper and covers can also enhance the presentation.

Put It To Work

After you’ve completed your sponsor packet, it’s time to put it to work.

1. Company’s.  Determine the company’s best suited as a sponsor to your organization.  Create a contact list that includes as much information as possible.

2. People. Find out who you should address the sponsorship proposal to (usually the Marketing Manager and include their proper title and position. Ensure you have the correct spelling.

3. Contact.  Speak briefly with them on the phone to let them know you will be sending a proposal.

4. Timing.  Present your sponsor packet proposal well in advance. Businesses budget for sponsorship annually. They can also take a while to approve sponsorship proposals, particularly if they have to be cleared by the General Manager or Board of Directors.

5. Follow up. Allow a week after you have sent a proposal before making a follow up call. The

sponsor may not be able to answer at that stage. However, it provides an opportunity for them to ask any questions. Offer to come into their office to speak to them if they so desire. Ask them when you could expect to receive an answer.

6. Reporting. Once a sponsorship has been negotiated and secured, ensure you keep in regular contact with your sponsor. A letter or phone call once a month letting them know about your organization and how the sponsorship is going is good practice. Send any material that may be of interest to them – newsletters, any promotional material or photographs involving promotion of the sponsor.

To see some sponsorship templates, visit myMarketingGuide.com

One-Minute Marketing Makeover

There can be big gains from small tweaks to your marketing plan.  There are two types of marketing plan audits.  The first is the comprehensive which should occur at least one a year and then there are the “mini” audits which should happen at minimum every quarter.

 

The “mini” marketing audit is stripped down to the bare essentials and the goal is to create a task list which can be done quickly and easily and yield results right away.

Mini Marketing Audit Questions

1. What initiatives and key messages generated the greatest number of leads, media placements, or sales in the last 2 years?

2. Which marketing channel (website, email, text message, pay-per-click, radio, TV) netted the most revenue for the lowest investment?

3. Who is your target audience (describe them) and has that changed due to economic conditions, pricing considerations, or new product and/or service offerings?

4. Who are your most valuable customers?  How and where do they purchase your product or service offering?

5. What are your competitor’s offerings and are you tasked with increasing market share, stakeholder satisfaction, $ revenue, or all of the above?

6. What are your organization’s short-term and long-term strategic goals?

7. What in-house vs. outsourced resources do you have available?

8. Are you on-target with your marketing budget, over budget, or under budget?  Why?  Do adjustments need to be made?

9. Are there any upcoming deadlines, events, or projects that might require you to alter your marketing plans in the next 3-4 months?

10. Have you taken advantage of trying out new marketing methods (internet advertising, media relations, email newsletters, mobile marketing, website marketing) to gauge their effectiveness?  What percentage of your marketing budget could you set aside to explore new options (usually about 5-10% of a budget)?

Sample Task List

Mini Marketing Audit Answers and Task List

Best Campaigns to do again: Summer 2008, Winter 2009

Best marketing message: Go BOGO (Buy One Get One Free) for the highest redemption rate and increased sales.

Best ROI marketing channels: website, email newsletters, text message campaigns, media relations/press releases & media kit, co-op advertising program, custom loyalty program.

Least ROI channels/not able to track effectiveness: radio, TV, outdoor billboards

Target audience: 25-45 households with kids (families) within a 2 hour radius of our location.  Current economic conditions indicate that this audience may be watching their dollars closer and spending less.  To keep sales up, we should look to expanding our demographic to include the baby boomer age group and expand to web sales

Most valuable customers: local customers looking to support us.  Need to keep them happy and coming back more.

Competitors: offer similar offerings.  We try to differentiate by talking about our expanded service and support, monthly payment plans, and testimonials.

Marketing goals: increase revenue by 5% in the next quarter.

Organization short term goal: reduce overhead by 5%

Organization long term goal: increase profitability by 5%.

In-house vs. outsourced: loss of one staff member means we will need to outsource more marketing functions in the next 1-2 months while we look for another staff member.  Will need to find one or multiple companies to assist us in everyday marketing tasks including: graphic design, ad placement, email newsletter copywriting, design, and sending, press release copyrighting, etc.

Marketing budget: we are under budget because we were not able to complete one of the campaigns from last quarter due to technology set-up issues.  Will try to complete that project this quarter or reallocate the funds to a different campaign.

Upcoming events: within 2 months we will launch a new product that should appeal to a younger more web savvy consumer.  We may need to shuffle some of the budget and timelines to get this launched.

New marketing channel test: would like to start an internet advertising campaign on Google, Yahoo, and MSN.  Need to find a company to help us implement this.  Tie this to the new product launch.  Will try 2-3 months with a budget of $5,000.

Heartbleed Bug Simple Q & A

By now you have probably seen the news about a recent security exploit for many sites using the “s” in the https URL.  There’s a lot of doom and gloom in the media, so I wanted to help break down what’s going on and how it might affect you and your business.  We are currently in the process of building a plan to change all passwords on nxtConcepts client websites, social networks, and notify you of other places you should change old passwords.  We know this is a PAIN, but  it is REALLY important to give this the attention it needs.

1. Does this Heartbleed bug personally affect me?

The simple answer is yes.  If you have ever created a user/pass combination on a site that used SSL technology, chances are someone may have access to your information.  Also, if you have ever used the SAME password for multiple account, you are most likely affected.  Here’s a quicklist of sites affected:

Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Yahoo, GoDaddy, Intuit (QuickBooks), DropBox,

Google-search, email, YouTube, Wallet, Play, and Apps

For a full list go here:

http://mashable.com

Note-on a positive site, banks, government agencies, PayPal, and Target were not affected.

2. Does this Heartbleed bug affect my company website?

Maybe.  If you have an ecommerce cart using a SSL, then, you will need to check with your hosting company and/or where you purchased your SSL to see if they have completed the patches.**

**3. If you use Bluehost.com, then the patches were made as soon as they were identified.  And, the SSL security keys were reissued.  According to Bluehost, the duration was very short so they have not seen an issue with this bug so far.  Here’s a link to more detailed info from them:

http://www.bluehost.com/blog/uncategorized/bluehost-update-heartbleed-bug-need-know-3298/

4. How can I check a https website to see if it is affected or not?

Go here: http://heartbleedcheck.com/

5. Where do we go from here?

We have a list of all the websites and social networks that we work with you on.  So, we can go ahead and start changing those passwords and then send you an updated list of accounts and passwords.

As for your website, we recommend having everyone change their passwords.  Just to keep away future issues.

Joomla sites (2.5 & 3.0) & WordPress : we can install a small piece of software to force a password change the next time someone logs into the site.  I recommend this, but we will not add it until you give us the ok.

Other sites we manage – please contact me directly for options.

Google+ and YouTube Making them Work Together

We deal with this question all the time:

We would like our youtube page linked with our  google+ page.  Since this is the Youtube page we have had for a while now we would like to keep all of its data and videos and link it to Google+ but  there is now a 2nd Google+ page, we would like to disconnect this page from our Youtube and have the Youtube page connected with our first/main page.

Here’s how we tackle this:

So, this is the plan I’ve come up with, executed in this order.

*While logged in as your Bear Creek Resort Google+ page go to YouTube where your unwanted page is (it’s a global login in so just hop over to Youtube)*

1. Go here:
https://www.youtube.com/account_advanced

2. Click “Disconnect Google+ profile, and use your YouTube username.”
We’ll have taken care of the dummy YouTube page connection.

The next 2 steps will be the important ones, as we’re trying to connect your YouTube page and a Google+ page.

*While logged in as the correct Google+ page owner/manager.*

1. At this point, you have to invite the specific e-mail login address (associated with the YouTube account we want to connect to) to be a manager of the Google+ page. That can be done from this page:
https://plus.google.com/+bearcreek/pages/settings/admin

*While logged in again as the YouTube account.*

2. And at that point, we can follow the process described here to then connect the YouTube account to the Google+ page we now manage.
https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2897336?hl=en

If that doesn’t work, then you can try this:

Change the settings to minimize the excess Google+ page off your YouTube account. It’s still there, but wont be as visible in the future. It’s good now that we at least an account, the login below, that is connected with all the relevant accounts After even more research, I found this on this page:

https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/3056283?hl=en&ref_topic=4628105

“If you connected your channel to Google+ over 14 days ago, try submitting the form via the link below. We’ll help you get your channel connected to the right profile or page.”

Luckily, this form seems to be exactly what we need.

https://support.google.com/youtube/contact/ytgplus

President of nxtConcepts, Ltd

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