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Personalised Content: The Best Way to Engage with Customers

With the incessant growth of digital communications, newspapers and other publishers have been forced to come up with new ways to tell stories.
Companies that are not in the publishing business, but use content as a part of their marketing strategy can learn a lot from these emerging storytelling tactics.
When it comes to personalised content, gamification is king. The more you can learn programmatically – primarily using data for better targeting – about your customer or audience member, the more personalised your content will be.
Here are some actionable tips on how you can incorporate personalised content into your content marketing strategy:
Quizzes Drive Content
Digital publisher Buzzfeed is famous for creating content based on user feedback. They collect feedback from visitors to their pages via a customised quiz and then release content based on the results. For example, they just released an “Add Yours” quiz calling all readers to add their favourite celebrity cookbook to their survey. Later, they’ll release a round-up of the top answers submitted.
This content is personalised to a group of your audience members, and is effective for two reasons:

It allows you to know that your content is of interest – the rationale being if people complete your survey, they’re interested in the topic
It’s user curated and your audience feels like they are taking part in your content.

Consider doing a survey round-up of a product, hobby or service that your audience might be interested in to drive a bit more engagement with your pages.
Story based on Personal Info
Another way to create personalised content is to sort your content by certain parameters that pertain to your customer. For example, this article from the BBC explains the changes that have happened to the planet during your personal lifetime.
While this type of content is still personal, the reader does all the customisation work as it’s self-selecting. The content is segmented and personalised, but is easy to create because it’s still general when being created.
Consider segmenting the history of your company, campaign preferences based on age, or maybe interests as another angle for your next content release.
Gamified Conversion Funnel
Finally, when it comes to getting your content to convert, the best way you can do so is to gamify the process. When people feel like brands really want to get to know them, they’re more likely to provide them with information about themselves.
For example, the clothing services Bombfell and Trunk Club have long conversion funnels, but they’re getting as much information as they can from their customers so they can better style for them.
Plus, the conversion funnel is fun. Customers get to pick styles, brands and clothing items that they think help define them.
The bottom line: personalised content boosts engagement with your audience, and makes them more mindful when they interact with your brand.
Image Source

Shutterstock
Bombfell

Case Study: What a Nasal Spray Can Teach You About Marketing

Every year, while many products are launched, few survive.
Soon enough, most disappear due to a variety of factors including poor marketing, competitive pressures, distribution challenges and, fatally, market indifference.
So, what can we learn from a launch that worked incredibly well?
To make those lessons even more instructive, we’re going to review how GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in the US created such a successful launch campaign for Flonase, an OTC (Over the Counter) allergy relief brand.
The healthcare industry isn’t always known for its marketing creativity. When everything clicks, however, it clicks big.
That’s why Meredith Herman, GSK’s head of digital marketing was just chosen as one of Adweek’s 10 Brand Geniuses for 2016.
Flonase’s success was no forgone conclusion. There were many established competitors out there fighting for every dollar, customer and share point.
As with most things that work, it always pays to simplify and focus on what’s important:
“From a digital standpoint, we know people are inundated with banners ads and marketing messages, and unlike TV or print, they have the option to skip, scroll past or just X us out. So we understand that we have to provide the consumer with value first,” Herman told FiercePharma.
So, what are the simple steps GSK took:
They coordinated their digital, TV and print campaigns.
This is something brands of all types don’t do enough of—reaching their audience members across all channels in a coordinated fashion.
For their Flonase launch, GSK built a coordinated media approach spanning TV, print and digital. Even though these channels were coordinated, they still had different goals for each, which was key in the success of their campaign.
TV was used to introduce people to the brand, as it provided the most general audience. The digital objective was to explain more about how the product worked, and build a platform for conversation with customers.
This was key for GSK. They needed to create initial brand awareness for their new product, but that wasn’t going to be enough to compete in a saturated healthcare market. By coordinating with their digital campaign, they were able to do both—build awareness, and start a convincing conversation with potential buyers.
They listened to their customers and found the perfect tagline.
Yes, listening to your customers is one of the most powerful and obvious things you can do to boost a marketing campaign of any kind; you just have to do it the right way.
Herman and her team wanted to drive more organic searches so they started researching what allergy sufferers were looking for.
They found that allergy sufferers felt they weren’t getting relief with their current allergy meds and didn’t like missing out on fun activities when allergies were triggered.
From there, Herman and her team developed the tagline and theme, encouraging sufferers to “Be greater than your allergies.”
Healthcare is something very personal, and touches on many powerful, core human emotions. Leveraging the power of your current customer base as a healthcare brand can help you tap into the emotions your customers already have, instead of guessing for every media campaign.
They got visual with social media.
You’ve heard many times that visual campaigns and social media go together. Sometimes you get it right, and sometimes you get it REALLY right. GSK launched it’s first online content initiative with Instagram, and it was an immense success.
GSK used six Instagram photographers with allergies who snapped photos along 24-hour journeys through the outdoors—hay fields, dandelion patches and hanging out with pets.
This visual confirmation that Flonase worked for them fuelled the “24 Hours of Being Greater” campaign, and GSK invited people to share their own photos. They did. Between 5,000 and 6,000 pictures were posted.
Herman and her team didn’t stop there: they came back a few months later with a celebrity dog “Doug the Pug,” and asked people to share their own photos again on Instagram with the hashtag #FallofFame.
It wasn’t just photos, they leveraged videos as well. In spring 2016, Flonase worked with YouTube-famous family the Eh Bees to go on an allergy road trip to 10 of the worst cities for allergy sufferers; she had a great time, and shared her experience online.
In a complicated and clinical healthcare world, humanising Flonase by leveraging the experiences of customers is really what took GSK’s social campaign from good to great. The proof is in the numbers.
According to Adweek, Flonase generated sales of $100 million in the first 16 weeks after its launch. Not only that— they captured 10% of the market just one year after launch.
The key to a successful marketing campaign is knowing your market and your audience. If you have a good handle on both, you can support product campaigns with relevance, creativity and entertainment for your current customers and potential customers.
Easier said than done, of course but that’s why the brand and their owners that do it well reap the rewards initially and for years to come.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Images:

Wikimedia Commons
Wikipedia

How to Reduce Your Media Spend & Achieve Better Results

Digital marketing has changed the media landscape forever and marketing budgets are being spread across channels – mainly digital – that previously didn’t exist. The problem is that optimisation is not as simple as it was before; if you’re not careful, your spend can get out of hand.
By optimising each of your channels, you can reduce your media spend and achieve better results – all the while proving a positive return on investment (ROI) for every dollar you spend.
We have tips to help you optimise each of the most popular channels draining your media budget. One tip is important for all of them:
Stay in control of budgeting and targeting. If you’re new to a channel, keep watch on your audience and don’t scale until it’s profitable.
Here’s how you’re going to achieve better results without breaking the bank, and figure out the right time to scale for each campaign.
 
Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation (SEO) and Google Ads are considered a staple in the marketing world – simply because they work.
A recent study shows that integrating SEO efforts results in a 25% increase in clicks and a 27% increase in profits. Because of this, marketers are increasing their spend in SEO.
According to MarketingProfs, nearly half of digital marketing budgets are spent on search, with 31% on paid search and 18% on SEO. U.S. spend alone will top $45 billion by 2019.
If you’re one of those marketers spending nearly half of your budget optimising for search, measuring success by click isn’t going to be enough.
#1 SEO Tip – Always run campaigns with conversion tracking.
You’ve got to know what happened after a prospect clicks. If it led to a product purchase, then which keyword, ad group or campaign triggered the conversion? Conversion tracking will show you which ones are – and are not – worth bidding on.
 
Ad Retargeting
Search engine marketing (SEM) retargeting means targeting website visitors who did not convert yet, often through a third-party vendor. It’s effective, but is an area where media spend can get out of hand.
Research showed 56% of customers retargeted after visiting the cart, didn’t want to make an immediate purchase. Marketers then invest in bringing them back to the cart – what a waste.
In fact, over two-thirds of visitors who intend to make a purchase never make it to the checkout cart. This suggests that marketers are failing to create campaigns that are tailored to visitor intent.
# 1 Ad Retargeting Tip – Use conversion analytics to figure out customer intent – specifically, why some customers aren’t completing their checkout, or converting.
Once you identify the group that doesn’t have the intent to convert, you can stop spending your budget retargeting them, and reallocate to maximise results from those that do.
 
Content Syndication
Content syndication packages can be highly effective if you’re generating top-quality content, but are hard to pin down in a budget since pricing packages vary widely depending on the media outlet you’re syndicating with.
They’re very effective for generating leads, as according to Inc, 70% of people want to learn about products through content versus through traditional advertisements.
The trick to reducing your syndication spend is to be very picky when choosing media outlets.
#1 Content Syndication Tip – Focus on the right media outlets, and once you find them, don’t keep spending if you’ve stopped seeing a return.
Keep an eye on results from certain media outlets, and continue reallocating budget to those performing best.
 
Social Media Ads
In 2015, global analysts predicted a 33% increase in spending for social media ads. This is because over 50% of (business-to-business) B2B marketers rank social media as a “very” or “somewhat” low cost ad option.
Social media can be low cost, and can drive unprecedented amounts of engagement if targeted correctly. Avoid this one common mistake – spreading your budget across every social media channel out there.
#1 Social Media Ad Tip – Choose the right social media platform.
Which platform is converting the most leads? As an example, a bakery is going to perform much better on Pinterest than the latest cloud security software.
 
The key to reducing your media spend while increasing your results is to find where your audience wants to see you the most. With robust conversion tracking and by following industry best practices, you can make your marketing budget stretch farther than you ever thought you would.
 
Image: Shutterstock Australia
 

Content marketing and the 1% Rule

Why companies should be looking back to the future to get their message across 
The ‘1% Rule’ is simple. It states that when it comes to content creation – particularly online content creation – one per cent of the people create the content, nine per cent of the people edit, modify, share or somehow contribute to that content, while 90% of the people simply view the content but don’t add to it in any way.
Another way of looking at it is that for every person who posts something online or creates online content, there are 99 other people viewing that content but not posting anything themselves.
Either way, it’s a statistic that makes for sobering reading for content creators – especially those who look to use that content as a means of marketing to an audience and, hopefully, to sell something as a result.
The 1% Rule is not a new concept. Information science has long recognised the Pareto Principle (sometimes known as the ‘80:20 Rule’), which states that 20% of the group will produce 80% of the activity, however that activity may be defined. Management consultants have grown rich on proving that principle to corporations, and devising ways of ensuring a more equal distribution of effort in the name of increased productivity. Paintball, anyone…?
The 1% Rule in the social media age
What is interesting, though, is that the 1% Rule has only really gained traction since 2006 – placing it firmly in this current golden age of social media. The beauty of social media – and the key reason for its appeal in a marketing context – is that much of the content is user-generated.
All those Facebook posts, tweets and YouTube uploads are being created by individual users, yet still the vast majority prefer to simply ‘lurk’ – which is the creepy-sounding term given to simply viewing content rather than do anything with it.
If that sounds inconceivable, just consider how the rule applies to social media. One person tweets, several others retweet, but the vast majority simply receive, read and move on. It’s the same with Facebook. Someone has news, others share it – but again, most recipients let it die with them.
And if you want to get really extreme, look at YouTube. Even rarely seen clips invariably have views numbering in excess of 100, while something like the gun-totin’, laptop-shootin’ dad has become a social media/online-content legend. He’s still the individual who created (and shared) the content, others spread the word (including, helpfully in his case, the mainstream media), but 37,519,240 and counting have simply watched it.

In this case, we can forget about the 1% Rule and focus instead on the ‘0.000000038 % Rule’!
How content marketing should work today
So what does all this mean for content providers and, particularly, content marketers? Should we all simply shut up shop because the numbers are clearly telling us that, if we’re lucky, only nine percent of people are actually going to engage with the brand we’re spruiking? As for the other 90 percent, they may get to hear about it, but then it seems they’re ready to move on to the next web page.
Actually, it means quite the opposite. Because thanks to social media, you can be both the one percent who creates the content and the nine percent who shares it, promotes it, tweaks it and uses it for your purposes. Which means your chances of hitting the sweet spot with the 90% of ‘lurkers’ just got a whole lot better.
A favourite message of The Message – and, indeed, the reason this e-magazine exists – is to demonstrate how all companies great and small can use online content to their advantage. We have posted before about the importance of using content to find and establish a voice, and how companies should look to model themselves on traditional publishers, creating and disseminating their own content.
In the glory days of newspapers and magazines, and even television and radio, publishers were both the one percent and the nine percent. They created the content and they distributed it – to newsagents and newsstands, via broadcasting towers etc. Then, the end result was simply readers and viewers. Engagement didn’t come into it. The TV stations couldn’t care less if people were making mad, passionate love with the telly on in the background – as long as it was on their channel.
Although the game has changed now due to the Internet and social media creating the possibility for greater engagement, the 1% Rule demonstrates that the majority of people still do not require engagement; that they remain content to simply receive the information. This is great news for companies and content marketers alike.
As with traditional media less than two decades ago, we can both create the content and distribute it – only the channels are different. Instead of newsagents, we can do it ourselves on have Facebook. Instead of street vendors shouting ‘Extra! Extra! Read all about it!’, we have Twitter that serves the exact same purpose, only with the potential to reach far more people. And rather than needing a TV channel, we can broadcast ourselves – and our company message – on our own website and YouTube.
Which means we’ve instantly gone from being one percent to 10 percent, speaking to the 90 percent. And if we create the content properly and channel it appropriately, we can ensure that it engages those who want to be engaged while still reaching those who simply want to receive it and not necessarily interact with it.
The 1% Rule isn’t a problem for content marketers – it’s a win-win situation.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

 

The hardest word?

Saying sorry for something written, posted, tweeted or even said is commonplace in content marketing. But is there something to be said for sticking to your guns?
We were going to start this article ‘In the world of content marketing…’, but then realised that since so many people’s lives – and so much of those lives – are expressed online through content, the situation we’re going to talk about is not, in fact, exclusive to the world of content marketing.
So…
In our everyday, online, personal and professional lives, we often second-guess what we do and don’t share (some of us not frequently enough) in the public forum. This is especially important if you’re sharing content in a professional context, or if the platform you’re using to share it has restrictions about what you can post.
If and when we’re pulled up on said content and perhaps discover we’ve offended someone, most of us are quick to retract the offending piece of digital data, be it an article, a photo or a video – especially if it was posted in a professional context.
But are we too quick to remove offending content in order to keep the peace? What if we believe in the integrity or importance of the content – should we cave to the wishes of one person’s opinion and risk blending into mediocrity as opposed to standing out?
Monster Children, a magazine with bases in Australia and the US, posted a photo on its Facebook page of an image taken by artist Martynka Wawrzyniak. Someone complained to Facebook. Facebook made Monster Children remove the content. Editor in Chief Jason Crombie had something to say about it. Something explicit. Click here to read his ‘Open letter to the person who had me blocked from Facebook for posting a photo by artist Martynka Wawrzyniak.‘
Should more online content creators and curators stand by what they post, even if it risks offending or – shock horror – damaging sales? Should we all post open invitations to our critics to ‘come forward so I can stomp you into the ground you worthless, cowardly insipid piece of shit’?
OK, so perhaps the threat of violence was unnecessary, but there’s something to be said for an editor standing up for his content rather than playing to the masses. (For the record, Crombie ‘apologised’ – sort of – the next day, but still displayed the courage of his convictions to stand by the essence of his original statement.)
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this one…
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
 
 

Facebook In-car content

It may seem pointless – and even dangerous – but Facebook is about to be featured in car consoles
Although it is now a staple of cyberspace, Facebook hasn’t yet made it into outer space (as far as we know, although we are happy to be corrected by any astronaut currently inhabiting the International Space Station). But the way things are going, having the ubiquitous F built into the control panel of whatever extraterrestrial transport pod replaces the space shuttle.
There is a theory, popularised by Top Gear‘s Jeremy Clarkson, that whatever appears in the latest Mercedes model will quickly be copied by every other automobile manufacturer (and, presumably,  NASA boffins) and become standard issue in every car within a couple of years. Which means that you can forget about reversing cameras and navigation displays, because the console screen in your next car is going to be all about… Facebook.
That’s right. Never mind the fact that Facebook is sprinting towards signing up its mind-boggling billionth user and the fact that Mercedes drivers can already access the social media network in their cars via Smartphones and tablets, because a new Reuters’ report reveals that ‘Mercedes-Benz USA is bringing Facebook to its cars, with a special version of the service that is built-in to a new in-vehicle telematics system.’
Check out this video from Mashable…

For safety reasons, the Facebook showcased in the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL Class will be drastically stripped down, meaning the likes of games-playing will be impossible. Which rather begs the question: why bother?
According to Dan Rose, Facebook Vice President of Partnerships and Platform Marketing, the Mercedes version of Facebook ‘reflects the social networking service’s expansion to a growing list of settings where screens and internet connections are available.’
It seems Facebook’s world domination is almost complete. Next stop: the cosmos…
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

 

Child’s play!

If you ever needed proof that online magazines are the publishing model of the future, this is it!
Kids say – and do – the darndest things, don’t they? Of all the debate that continues to rage about the relevance (or lack thereof) of traditional media compared to new media, perhaps the most poignant insight comes from watching this one-year-old attempt to interact with a magazine. To her, it is an iPad that doesn’t work…
 

 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

 

Panic like it’s 1999

The Y2K bug turned out to be a bit of a damp squib, but in 2038 we can expect another tech gremlin that could be far more serious…
With the beauty of over 13 years worth of hindsight, the panic over the Y2K – or the Millennium Bug, as it came to be known by a hyperactive media – can be relegated to the type of survivalist hype that springs up every time a different religious leader predicts the end of the world.
Perhaps it wasn’t surprising, though. After all, even way back at the turn of the century we were worshipping at the altar of technology, so a glitch in the system that could have ended our love affair with computers and gravely alter the way things run possibly deserved such apocalyptic coverage.
With all that hindsight, though, we know that we were ill informed. At the time, because we didn’t know what was going to happen, we assumed the worst – or at least let the media assume it for us. Older and wiser now, we know we wouldn’t make the same mistake again, even though our reliance on all things tech is even greater.
Would we…?
And yet, not to come over all tabloid doomsday, there is actually the threat of a similar problem – one that could yet have the kind of result predicted in 2000 – occurring in 2038. The ‘new’ Millennium Bug, also being dubbed ‘the 2038 problem’, potentially affects computer systems in a far more serious way than Y2K ever could have done.
The 2038 Problem explained
It’s because many computer systems store time as a finite equation, meaning that the systems read time as the number of seconds that have passed since day dot. Systems that run on a four-byte integer mark ‘the beginning of time’ (i.e. ‘0’) as January 1, 1970. From then, time just keeps on adding. The value of this system is that it allows a computer to keep track not only of the time but also of the time between operations and actions in a simple subtraction equation.
The problem, though, is that the maximum value of a 4-byte integer is 2,147,483,647. After this, it starts wrapping back around into negative numbers. Computer systems that use this format will reach 2,147,483,647 on January 19, 2038. Hence the ‘2038 Problem’.
William Porquet, an IT systems administrator who started the website 2038.org (and is perhaps the only IT systems administrator in history with a talent for explaining things in entertaining layman’s terms), uses the analogy of a car’s odometer.
‘Most folks can visualise a car’s odometer in their head, hitting all nines and rolling over to all zeros. It’s not a perfect metaphor, but it often helps people grasp the simpler critical date/time bugs like Y2K.’ he told The Message. ‘I can sum up the year 2038 problem in a simple phrase: “30-year mortgage”. Financial calculations work in bigger time windows nowadays. Big enough time windows that we are stretching the limits of what the operating system (Windows, Linux, Unix, etc.) can keep track of.’
Why the 2038 Problem could be a BIG deal
Porquet explains that when the 2038 deadline is reached, some systems may revert back to dates in the past, as they have no means of moving forward in binary code. The biggest cause for concern, according to Porquet, are big transportation systems, many of which use the format that will be affected by the 2038 problem.
‘I’m not trying to predict doom here, but we need to be aware of this issue,’ he says. ‘I’m concerned in particular about the potential air traffic control software issues, as well as some aircraft navigation systems that rely on older versions of Windows NT. We’ve already seen some side-effects of the year 2038 limitation in modern software like AOLserver.’ 
Porquet believes the 2038 Problem could be far more serious than Y2K. ‘The Y2K problem was usually quite simple to diagnose and fix, since it mostly affected programs with sloppy or lazy time calculations,’ he says. ‘Most of the operating systems these programs ran on (Windows, Linux, Unix, etc.) were able to keep track of time well past the year 2000, or at least they could be patched to do so.’
Not so for the ‘new’ millennium bug, it seems.
So have we written ourselves a technological cheque we can’t cash? Time, obviously, will tell. But before you collapse under the wait of potential tech meltdown, take comfort in the silver lining that the economy and environment will probably both collapse on us before 2038. And even if they manage to hold out, we’ve still got the year 2012 (and the Mayan myth) and however many more ‘raptures’ Harold Camping manages to predict to get us before 2038 rolls around.
Alternatively, you could head the whole thing off at the pass. Porquet has a checklist of things programmers and systems administrators can do to try and protect their organizations that you can access here.
 
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Auto-Correction!

Those killjoys at Apple have corrected auto-correct, but the memories live on at The Message…
While the worst you could do on a mobile phone a few years ago was send an inappropriate drunk message (or perhaps throw it at someone in fury, if you’re Russell Crowe), the advent of the iPhone has meant that every day, thousands of people get themselves into digital pickles because of a feature that is actually meant to make the iPhone easier to use.
The autocorrect feature on the iPhone has caused so many miscommunications that it has spawned a number of websites, purely dedicated to airing the hilarious texting faux pas that come about due to this ‘helpful’ little function. Here are a few doozies to keep you cackling…

 
 

 
 

 

 
Thigh-slappingly funny as these are, alas the feature has been improved so that less of these entertainingly confusing situations arise. After Android phones brought in a feature that allows the user to pick from a range of words, rather than simply changing it for them, Apple jumped onboard as well with its new operating system.
Thank God the Internet caught on and archived this hilarity before it was too late…
 
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Images from
 
 
 
 

Social Media Stats

 
The figures speak for themselves – social media growth is exponential
 
If you’ve wanted to know why social media – and the content created for it – is so important, this clever but simple video does exactly that. Some of the figures mentioned are mind-blowing, but they ably articulate the extent to which social media now dominates people’s lives – both online and off.

 
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.