Business Technology

  1. Focus Your Digital Marketing: From Chaos to Order

    Nearly every day a new app, social network, or technology appears promising to make your job easier and kick your next campaign in to high gear. Thanks to the real-time component of social media, marketers can invest a lot of time and energy in the things that will impress and connect with customers online.

    The function of marketing has evolved significantly as there’s been an explosion new channels – both online and offline – including web, email, social, video, e-commerce, and mobile devices. We build community engagement initiatives, develop content around the objectives of of education and awareness, and hope that we can establish early connections with customers online with the end goal of earning their trust and interest. 

    While new and emerging tools allow us to get closer to our prospects, customers, and fans, the integration of all these digital marketing disciplines can often lead to chaos.

    As our world of marketing has become much more complex, the objectives have ultimately stayed the same and are the connective tissue that brings these tools together into one cohesive strategy.

    Digital Chaos to Order

    Goal-Setting 

    New technology and social marketing present an overwhelming array of options to marketers, who have become disillusioned by the allure of “the next big thing” and the endless array of possibilities. So often we take the view that doing something is at least better than doing nothing–How many times have you heard, “Let’s create an app” without first asking why?

    Specific short and long-term goals are essential to creating your marketing strategy.  Any exercise in marketing planning should begin by exploring your expectations of the plan itself. And it doesn’t have to be complicated! Established goals should center on how well the technology aids brand engagement, and whether it helps users consume your content and products.

    Metrics and ROI

    Of course we want to reach the right audience with the right message to drive a conversion, but too often, we waste valuable resources evaluating every metric we have access to, rather than focusing on the metrics that really matter to our campaign.

    Marketo offers this advice: “To streamline your next campaign, make a list of everything you want to measure. How many items are on your list? 20? 30? More? Look at each metric, and ask yourself: ‘What decision would I make differently if I knew this number?’ If you can‘t come up with a clear answer, it’s not a good metric.”

    Solid marketing metrics should make your decisions significantly easier.  Data is everywhere (and very “big” these days), so we need to become increasingly savvy about the best ways to leverage it. Marketing in the digital world is still all about results.

    Stop Doing What Isn’t Working

    As famed author Mark Twain once said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” Stop doing what isn't working

    Sometimes a campaign won’t produce the results you were hoping to see.  The trick is learning to identify when these situations just need a few small tweaks to realign with your goals and when the campaign is going to fail, no matter how much tweaking you do. A willingness to risk failure also requires the confidence and resolve to cut and run.

    While this might be a sore topic for your team’s next planning meeting, you must stop doing things that don’t work.

    There can be lots of reasons why something fails, but resources are finite and the correct distribution of resources to achieve the maximum results is what separates mindless execution from strategic marketing.

    Whether you’re brand new to social marketing and technology or a seasoned digital marketing manager, the integration of all these marketing disciplines can often lead to chaos.  If you find yourself lost in the explosion of new marketing tools, don’t forget the bottom line: Why are you marketing in the first place?

  2. Stop Sending Files Through Email and Start Using Dropbox

    Here at WebSolvers, we love creating large graphics and long marketing presentations. Back in the dark ages, we would try to send these types of files through email to each other and to clients. These files would clog up our email applications and cause chaos throughout the office (okay, maybe not that bad).  We tried to use YouSendIt for large files but if our clients didn’t download the file within YouSendIt’s allotted time frame, the file would just disappear into thin air and we’d have to upload it again. Then along came Dropbox!

    Dropbox allows you to store files and share them and you get up to 2GB for free. If you haven’t heard of Dropbox by now, we’re not sure where you’ve been, but you should start using it.

    Dropbox Web App

    Use Dropbox from your browser, desktop or smartphone

    With a free Dropbox plan, you can store and share up to 2GB of images, videos and documents. As a company, we have a shared Dropbox account where we store our most-needed files, such as sales presentations and documents. From anywhere with an internet connection, we can download these files and view them on our smartphones or computers using Dropbox’s web app.

    Dropbox also has a handy desktop app (Mac, Windows and Linux) that sets up a folder on your computer. Whenever you throw a file into that folder, it starts uploading to Dropbox. While the app is connected, if you put anything into Dropbox from another computer or mobile device, it will be downloaded into your computer’s folder automatically.

    Shared Dropbox Folder

    A shared Dropbox folder, used for collaboration.

    If you’re using an iPhone, Dropbox removes the need to be by your home computer in order to sync files to your phone. For example, save an eBook (epub) to your Dropbox from your work computer, you can open the ebook in iBooks (or any epub reader) from the Dropbox app. You can save PDFs from Safari/Mail into Dropbox to keep them for later.

    Aside from being able to share single files at a time from Dropbox, you can also share whole folders with via the web or privately with other Dropbox users. If you share a folder with another Dropbox user, both you and your friend can add and remove files from that folder, keeping a synced set of files on all of your devices. This makes Dropbox great for collaboration on multi-file projects.

    So sign up for Dropbox and tell us what you think! We hope it helps your workflow as much as it has helped ours.

  3. Selective Following: One Small Way Twitter Can Help Your Business

    By now, most businesses have come to realize that Twitter is here to stay.  The tool has quickly become a household name, its user base continues to multiply, and its frequent association with athletes and celebrities has helped to make it a fixture of our culture (whether we like it or not).

    All the while, many smaller businesses seem to be at a loss as to how to use the tool for gain.  Many executives are still (understandably) hung up on the narcissism argument:  why does someone care why I went to lunch or where I went on vacation?   Another obstacle, at least for smaller businesses, stems from their apparent lack of reach.  Sure, large brands like Gatorade, Pepsi, and Starbucks can quickly build large followings by tying their Twitter addresses to their multi-million dollar advertising budgets and in-store communications, but what about smaller companies with more limited resources?

    There is one Twitter marketing tactic that is fairly simple, ideal for smaller businesses and doesn’t involve you tweeting about your vacation.  But before we get to it, let’s recap the cycle of making friends on Twitter–one that you can only begin to really understand once you’ve used Twitter for a few days.  Here’s what happens:

    1. As a Twitter user, I choose to follow friends, public figures, and interesting feeds that appeal to me.  Essentially, I’m choosing to “subscribe” to their posts.
    2. Along the way, some of these people choose to follow me in return.  They might do this out of courtesy (many users simply follow all that choose to follow them) or because they are interested in what I might post to Twitter.
    3. In addition, I also begin to notice that other people begin to “randomly” follow me.  Every day or two, I check my followers to see who has showed up.  They may have found me through my Website or noticed me on someone else’s follower list.
    4. Out of curiosity or interest, I usually click on their Twitter username which takes me to their Twitter profile.
    5. The Twitter profile is a simple page where each user (whether a person or a business) posts a few words about the feed, a picture/icon which represents the feed, and a link to an associated Website.  Take a look at some sample business Twitter pages to get a flavor of how these pages look and feel.
    6. I spend a few seconds (or minutes) with this page, learn more about the user, and decide whether or not to “follow back.”
    Coca-Cola Twitter

    A simple twitter profile page is an effective way to introduce your brand to those you choose to follow.

    This cycle is happening repetitively with most every active Twitter user.  They are interested (and usually flattered) by their new followers.  As a marketer, there is a substantial opportunity to tap into this cycle.  The act of “following” users that may be interested in your product or your message can be a simple, effective and polite way to introduce yourself.

    Let’s explore an example.

    Assume you are launching a new product that caters to the green/organic/sustainable consumer.  Let’s call the product GreenWidget.  Here are a few steps that you might pursue in an effort to tap into the aforementioned follow/re-follow cycle:

    1. Create a new Twitter account for your product and establish a Twitter username (@greenwidget)
    2. Develop a simple, compelling Twitter profile page for your product that tells your story, introduces your product and directs users to your Website
    3. Start publishing interesting, relevant content that might appeal to your market.  Ideas might include daily tips for sustainable living, organic cooking tips, links to articles regarding trends in conservation, and re-tweets of content from industry leaders.
    4. Identify Twitter accounts that seem to have multitudes of followers in your industry.  You might identify brands, publications, and celebrities that might have several thousand (or even several million) followers.  One example might include @wholefoods, a very active user committed to organic food and sustainability.
    5. Introduce yourself to their followers by following them.
    6. If all goes well, they will be interested in your product/message and give you a chance by clicking on your profile.
    7. The user then has the option to follow you in return, visit your Website, and/or even buy!
    Whole Foods Twitter Followers

    Locating those that might be interested in your message is fairly simple if you do some digging. Shown here is the list of followers for Whole Foods Market.

    Like anything worthwhile, this tactic takes some diligence, hard work, and focus.  At the same time, it is an excellent opportunity to introduce your product or service to the right audience.  What happens from there is up to you.

    As an important caveat, it is advisable to use discretion with this tactic.  Take it slow and don’t be overzealous, imposing or too overt with your communication.  If you’re not judicious and polite, this tactic might very easily work against your objective of spreading your message.  Also, please know that this is just a small sliver of effective Twitter use and won’t move mountains on its own.

  4. Get More From Google Event Wrap-up

    We had a great morning with the Orlando FPRA Chapter discussing Google and how to get more from it.  The group has a very active Twitter account at http://twitter.com/FPRAOrlando.

    Matt Certo in our office delivered a presentation entitled ‘Get More from Google!’  As promised, here are a few links and resources discussed in today’s presentation:

    Thanks again for attending.  We will also be delivering this presentation via Webinar on June 10, 2010 at 2:00 EDT.  If you are interested in attending, please send an invitation request to info@websolvers.com.

  5. Upcoming Event: Get More From Google!

    We are excited to be partnering with the Florida Public Relations Association’s Orlando Chapter on an event entitled “Get More From Google.”  WebSolvers President Matt Certo will be presenting key strategies and techniques that can help you better understand how to gain search traction in Google’s ranking system.  The event will be held on Thursday, May 27 at the University Club in downtown Orlando.  Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. and the program starts at 8:30.  Online registration is now open.  We hope to see you there!

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