Social Media: Fans, Friends and Cascading Media

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 
Facebook is a party. It is not a trip to the mall. Facebook is a doorway to family and friends. We bring our pictures and all kinds of information about us to the party. We share. We play games there, connect to old friends and make new ones. We review our past and we plan our futures on Facebook. It’s fun. According to a recent ExactTarget study, 30% call it their “guilty pleasure” It has become an alternate life, a place to kill time, an escape. It is a place of serendipitous discoveries where we discover things we were not even looking for. It has been called the “default social community” and most of the community says that marketers are not welcome. Period. Yet…here’s the rub, the ultimate tease, according to a Nielson study in 2009, 90% of the Facebook community trusts product recommendations from Friends. We are not allowed in, but, but, if we can get there, then Oh Boy, Look Out. We are on a rocket ship to marketing nirvana.

So, focusing again on ME. When ME goes to Email, Google and LinkedIn, ME takes their wallets. That’s the trip to the mall. ME is going to shop. ME is looking for deals. If ME met and Liked You at the Facebook party, ME might look you up if you gave ME a deal. 58% of Fans expect this according to ExactTarget. Remember, just because ME Liked you at the party, it doesn’t mean you have permission to call ME. If you start constantly calling (marketing to) ME without permission, then ME will drop you. 44% will Unlike you if you post too frequently. The question remains: How do we get ME, that we met at the Facebook party, to Like our company and visit us at the mall and shop with us?

First, be entertaining when you are at the party and every time you call. Remember it’s a party. ME is there for fun. If it doesn’t work out, it’s not ME it’s you. A recent report, “The Power of Like” a collaboration between comScore and Facebook, talks about how social marketing works. It states that accumulating Fans is only the first step. The next step is accumulating Friends of Fans and thus amplifying the marketing message. They talk about Fan Reach, Engagement and Amplification. Once the brand has been seen on Facebook, presumably for this discussion from “paid media” (an ad), it then attempts to Reach its Fans via the News Feed and their Brand Pages. If it is “entertaining” enough, Fans become Engaged and they talk to their Friends about the brand. This is “earned media” and thus we have Amplification. Yes, it’s all about gossip. One Fan talks about the brand to a Friend and that Friend talks to another Friend etc. etc. So, although an initial brand Engagement rate might be just 1%, it is Amplified to a factor of 10 or more. It cascades.

That’s the theory with some supporting data. The author, Andrew Lipsman was reported in Time Business on August 7, 2012 as stating that there was still not enough data and that the process will play itself out over the next couple of years. Right now, it appears that the stock market has decided not to wait. It’s hard to sell products at a party when people only attend for fun.

Of course, the next step in cascading Fans and Friends of Fans into customers is to seek permission for one to one marketing via ME’s favourite digital marketing channel – Email. You, know, the shopping channel. One more step in cascading media.

Next week: We Interrupt Your Life To Bring You This… Just In From Twitter One Minute Ago!


How will Direct Mail get to ME?

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 

Direct Mail! You mean Junk Mail, don’t you? I mean, who wants that? The answer, it seems, is quite a few of us not only want Direct Mail, but we respond to it quite well.

First, let’s establish the definition of Direct Mail, what it is and what it is not. Direct Mail is a subsection of Direct Marketing. It is a mailed item addressed to a specific individual usually based upon a prior business relationship or upon research. It offers specific benefits for that individual. It’s not unaddressed circulars and flyers that arrive in the mail or with a newspaper. That’s the stuff we call Junk Mail (believe it or not, the response rates for these are pretty good too). So once again, it is marketing directed at ME. You could consider it to be like an email or SMS text message, but without the digital component, or, as more and more are saying, the annoyance factor.

Now, like a lot of digital messages, you may not have asked for it. You may not want it. You may not even look at it. BUT…it’s not in your face. It’s not in your space. It’s not using resources that you are paying for. It has not demanded your time and used your money to get to you. Like digital media, it does not have your permission to be there, but you know what? That’s okay. You can look at it when you want to. ME is in control and ME likes control. It is personal and ME likes personal.

One more time, Direct Mail is the only media that can be used to contact ME without permission. Good news! Right? Well, yes, but it’s only the first step to get to ME. You caught my eye, but there has to be more than that in the relationship. Like remembering my name would be good for starters. What about what ME wants? Have you thought of that?

Rule #1 in Direct Mail is to address ME by name. If you don’t know ME, why should ME communicate with you? If you are mailing to existing or former clients/customers, then presumably you have their names (just a guess here). By the way, according to a 2012 report from The Ballantine Corporation, after receiving direct mail, 70% of consumers have renewed relationships with business they had previously ceased using (you really called!). Now, if you are prospecting, then rent a list based upon the known attributes of your clients/customers. That same Ballantine report states that 40% of consumers say that they have tried a new business after receiving Direct Mail (you really know ME). According to the Direct Marketing Association, 66% of people will open an envelope with their name on it (ME likes ME). In addition, according to Target Marketing, 69% of marketers will use Direct Mail for new account acquisitions. The right names on the right list will provide 50% of the campaign’s success rate and remove the stigma of old school push, mass-marketing.

Rule #2 is to send a message that ME is interested in. 30% of your success will be based upon your offer. It’s all about ME. You know your product and you know your audience. Targeting is the very established process of creating an offer of specific interest to a specific group. It is relevant marketing. With Direct Mail you can deploy a PURL campaign that is focused on the wants and needs of ME. It will begin an interactive conversation with ME using content that ME controls and that you provide. Using Direct Mail as a bridge to Email marketing and thus, cross channel marketing is very effective. Remember that 143% increase in response we reviewed on May 14, 2012?

Rule #3 is to get ME’s attention right away. You have their name (50%). You have their offer (30%). Now you need their attention. Creativity and design will provide the remaining 20% of your success. Just to make it clear, creativity is not only art. It is a point of differentiation. Examples would be: images that support the message, the size of envelope, the colour of envelope, the message on the envelope, the headline. ME is busy and has lots of things to do. Drab and bland just doesn’t cut it when you want to get to ME.

Rule #4 is to create a sense of urgency. Present ME with an offer that expires in a relatively short time line of say, one to two weeks, maybe a month dependent upon the business. The point here is that there must be a final date for the offer and that date cannot be too far away. If this is something that ME wants, then ME must act right away.

Rule #5 is to have a call to action. Define what must be done, when and how. If you know ME’s name, have something that ME is interested in, have caught ME’s attention, have something that is about to slip away, then you must let ME know what to do. Now that you have taken it this far, it’s the only decent thing to do.

Next week: Direct Mail…The Dance Continues


Email Marketing: Control, Speed and Oh Yes, One Last Thing

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 

 
Confusion Says……….

Email Marketing is all about Control, but Control for whom? Well, first and foremost,
control for ME, the recipient, the target, the client, the customer, the entire reason why we are sending
the email in the first place. ME can read and respond at leisure without interruption. Do you know what
ME does first thing in the morning? Well, according to ExactTarget 58% of them go to their email and
49% say they always open emails from their favorite companies. They could be going to you, the email
sender.

Speaking of the sender and Control, naturally, emails provide a vehicle for brands to send messages
according to their schedules and if ME likes it, then the majority will respond within 24 hours, according
to the LYRIS Marketing Guide. So, the sender gets control, fast deployment and fast reaction. It gets
Speed of Response. This is a sender’s dream. Some brands send emails in waves to different MEs within
a demographic, testing responses and adjusting accordingly. The campaign literally interacts with the
market and according to feedback, morphs into what is the best message for acceptance and response.

Oh Yes, One Last Thing. MarketingProfs talks about the power of post scripts. They are powerful in
direct mail marketing and they are powerful in email marketing as well. They list five things you can do
with your post script to generate more clicks in your emails:

  1. Restate your key benefits and call for action.Click here to get……..
  2. Make another promise or introduce a surprise benefit.Act now and you will also get….
  3. Provide more credibility.Company X used this idea and got………
  4. Communicate urgency.Use this when a REAL timeline or limitation exists. This offer expires…
  5. Restate or expand on your guarantee. If not satisfied we will promptly reimburse you…

Here we are, using old methods for new technology. Is it, “the more things change, the more they stay
the same”, or are the changes we see only the tip of the iceberg? Let’s mix it up a bit more with some
other avenues of choice.

Next week: A look at Cross Channel Marketing. Are we confused yet?


Good Email Marketing: It’s All About ME!

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 

 

Confusion Says……..

Okay, so last time we looked at some of the technical stuff. So what? I mean we can send out the
technically correct emails, but we’re still not getting the responses we want. How do we improve that?
Well, how about saying something of interest to ME, the recipient.

Studies by ExactTarget show that 67% will provide their email address for discounts and promotions.
55% will do so to get a “freebie”, 50% to get updates on upcoming sales and 45% to get updates on
future products. So, people consider emails as an accepted method to engage with brands.

To talk to ME you must have something compelling to tell. In other words, it’s the content. The subject
must be relevant and focused on what ME wants. It must per personalized to the degree that you
know not just ME’s name, but also who ME is and what ME wants. It should be centered on An Event
- 71% higher open-rates and five times higher ROI than a standard weekly newsletter according to
MarketingProfs. Next, you could try a Cross-channel strategy. These yield a 143% increase in response
rates.

So, the term, “Email Blast” is dead. Long live “Email Marketing”. Long live compelling, targeted
messages composed through data driven insights with relevant information.

Next week: Email Marketing: Control, Speed and Oh Yes, One Last Thing

Email marketing: Confusion says...

Allegra Michael Grant

Every generation has been able to lay claim to having fallen under the old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.” The flux of social, political and economic changes over the ages have made life on this planet “interesting”. The wheel, the printing press, the combustion engine, the automobile, the airplane, the personal computer and the internet to name a few have all been disruptors, creators of “interesting times”.

Today, in the world of marketing and communications we live with more opportunities and yet more confusion than ever before. Opportunities because, as never before in the history of mankind, marketing can reach out to anyone anywhere and at any time. Confusion because no one single method of communication has proven to be the most effective and no one knows what method to use to obtain their objectives. So let’s explore the confusion…

Let’s pick one for today. How about Email Marketing? Email open rates are highest on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. They are typically opened during the morning between 7:00 and 10:00 AM. 75% of daily social media users said email is the best way for companies to communicate with them. Yet, in the last half of 2011, overall email delivery rates were down 4.5% while B2B email delivery rates were up 6%. In summary, B2C delivery rates are dropping. Why? Well, better blockers, marketers’ sender reputations are deteriorating and consumer email overload. The answer? Become better at email marketing.

 

Next week: Becoming Better at Email Marketing