Archive for June, 2012

How to Support Video in Email | Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog

June 26, 2012

Video in email subject lines can improve click through up to 200%. The improvement in CTR%, email creative unseen, suggests a strong general interest in multimedia in email messages.

But after the open, subscribers expect to actually find the promised video. Embedded email is a problem – large attachments like video can hurt deliverability (though proper coding can go a long way to reduce this risk). More importantly, video embeds are not supported by email clients (with the exception of Youtube in Gmail).

So how can you present video in email?

Animated GIFs

Not the animated GIFs of the 90′s *ahem*

Some incredibly sophisticated animated GIFs have been used in retail email very successfully. A simple animation, for example:

To a feature film clip:

Style Campaign offers a detailed tutorial on how to convert a video clip to GIF.

Use animated GIFs to surprise and delight subscribers and illustrate the value proposition or cool-factor of your featured products.

Don’t advertise simple animated GIFs as video in subject lines. Short video clips transformed into animated GIFs with the tutorial above can be described as video.

HTML5

Another option is HTML5, supported by Hotmail and Apple Mail, but not by major email clients like Outlook, Gmail and Yahoo Mail. If you use HTML5 video, you need to have a back up plan for these clients.

Image credit: Email Design Review

Hyperlinked still images

Video doesn’t have to be played inside the email message to satisfy the promise in the subject line. Simply linking to a landing page with the video (preferably your own site rather than Youtube if your goal is selling product) can suffice.

Just ensure your “play button” is clear. You may also want to include a click to play call-out, and even combine it with an animated GIF.

Images credit: Retail Email Blog

There are vendors that provide client detection that can help you use a combination of methods. HTML5 when supported, and hyperlinked image as a failover.

Will more email types support HTML5 in the future? Definitely, but we’re not there yet…

The big guy here is always looking over my shoulder.

June 15, 2012

Seth’s Blog: Seven marketing sins

June 13, 2012

Impatient… great marketing takes time. Doing it wrong (and rushed) ten times costs much more and takes longer than doing it slowly, but right, over the same period of time.

Selfish… we have a choice, and if we sense that this is all about you, not us, our choice will be to go somewhere else.

Self-absorbed… you don’t buy from you, others buy from you. They don’t care about your business and your troubles nearly as much as you do.

Deceitful… see selfish, above. If you don’t tell us the truth, it’s probably because you’re selfish. How urgent can your needs be that you would sacrifice your future to get something now?

Inconsistent… we’re not paying that much attention, but when we do, it helps if you are similar to the voice we heard from last time.

Angry… at us? Why are you angry at us? It’s not something we want to be part of, thanks.

Jealous… is someone doing better than you? Of course they are. There’s always someone doing better than you. But if you let your jealousy change your products or your attitude or your story, we’re going to leave.

Of course, they’re not marketing sins, they’re human failings.

Humility, empathy, generosity, patience and kindness, combined with the arrogance of the brilliant inventor, are a potent alternative.

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New Dolores Chiller

June 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Golden Gate Bridge!

June 10, 2012

The Quintessential San Francisco Sunrise

046813 34

Golden Gate Bridge from Lookout

Golden Gate Bridge at 50

Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco at night

The Golden Gate Bridge has been a landmark of San Francisco since its completion in 1937. The love affair with the bridge started prior to it even being built. It was desperately needed to alleviate the traffic from the ferries. Despite the Great Depression, the areas surrounding San Francisco voted and passed the bond measure to pay for the bridge by using their homes and businesses as collateral.

Today, May 27th, 2012, marks the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. If you are in the San Francisco area celebrate the Golden Gate Bridge’s anniversary in person and watch it glow.

If you would like to find other Golden Gate Bridge photos take a look at our beautiful Golden Gate Bridge groups.

26 Tips for Integrating Social Media Activities | Social Media Examiner

June 10, 2012

26 Tips for Integrating Social Media Activities

By
Published June 7, 2012 Printer-Friendly

social media how to

Are you seeking ideas to integrate your social activities?

To be successful, no social media effort can truly exist as an island.

Today, more and more businesses are seeking ways to integrate components of social media to achieve optimal benefits.

In this post, I’ll cover 26 tips, an A-Z guide, on ways to blend, mix it up, get the most bang—and create an integrated social media campaign.

#1: Apps Increase Brand Awareness and Customer Loyalty

“Anyone can start a page on a social networking site, but it can be incredibly difficult to gather support on that page,” writes Alight Design Agency.

They suggest that businesses devise a strategy that is effective and flexible so it can be altered to meet the demands of a market that can change significantly in less than 24 hours. “The right smartphone application or app can help businesses increase brand awareness and customer loyalty.”

Would a smartphone app be a viable option for your business?

best buy

Best Buy’s mobile app makes it possible to browse the product catalogue, compare product specs and check in-store availability.

#2: Build Customer Loyalty with Social Media

Online tools such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others can help provide businesses with opportunities to enhance customer relationships in real time.

Netedge Marketing offers ways to put social media to work to improve brand loyalty so customers will want to promote your company in a positive way:

  • Monitor customer comments
  • Identify customer needs through a survey that you promote via social media
  • Address customer complaints, resolve the problem and blog about how you took care of it
  • Engage customers by encouraging them to share feedback directly via comments on blogs or on Facebook and Twitter
  • Encourage satisfied customers to share their experiences on social media sites

#3: Complement Social Media by Thinking Locally

Large national brands with local presences need to consider adjusting their thinking and content strategy at times by taking a local approach. Matt Long suggests that the local Facebook strategy should complement the national strategy, not mimic it.

He writes, “Corporate content certainly should be included (think new product information or national contests), but it should represent no more than 40% of the total contents. The 60% bulk of content responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the local affiliate.”

#4: Direct Campaigns Can Be Bulwarked by Social Media

Geoff Livingston and Gini Dietrich write, “The corporate-marketing world still operates in silos of public relations, advertising, and interactive and direct marketing. As the newest discipline in the fold, social media accentuate this continuing situation.”

They suggest that social should be integrated into the larger mix and offer three types of campaigns that social media can help—direct, flanking techniques and top-down. (See #6: Flanking and #20: Top-Down for continued discussion of these points.)

Geoff and Gini tell us that direct is the marketing channel that produces the most return on investment and that it still can be “bulwarked by social media.”

Direct can be enhanced by using a one-on-one conversation with stakeholders online. They offer the following examples:

  • Create a channel for customer-service response on a large social network such as Twitter (e.g., @ComcastCares, @NetSolCares)
  • Recruit employees directly through social media (e.g., Sodexo and KPMG UK)
  • Interact and incentivize the most loyal customers in online communities (e.g., Starbucks and LEGO)

#5: Email Marketing and Social Media Work Well Together

DJ Waldow writes that email and social media go together like Batman and Robin. They both can be effective on their own; however, when combined, their (super) powers can save the city and exceed your marketing goals.

DJ offers 9 ways to integrate email marketing and social media:

  • Include social icons in emails
  • Ask email subscribers to share and connect
  • Send a dedicated email campaign
  • Provide incentives
  • Promote email sign-up via social networks
  • Include “Retweet this!” snippet in email
  • Build an email opt-in form on Facebook
  • Don’t forget SMS (text)
  • Promote email marketing on your blog

 #6: Flanking Technique Campaigns Helps Social Media

Geoff Livingston’s and Gini Dietrich’s second type of campaign that social media can bolster is what they refer to as a flanking technique, where companies and organizations can utilize creative ways to interact with and influence customers.

Examples include:

  • Create or participate in private communities on LinkedIn and other networks (e.g., BIO and GovLoop)
  • Release relevant and tangential data through blogging, infographics, social networks and other methods (e.g., Booz Allen Hamilton and American Red Cross)
  • Release relevant and entertaining content to garner attention from an unengaged audience (e.g., Chrysler and Old Spice)

#7: Goal-Integrated Platforms Can Be Time-Savers

Pam Moore writes that integration may seem like a lot of work up front. But as she says, “the more you integrate, the less work you will have to do on the back end once you get the sites launched.”

For more detail, see Pam’s post about how you can integrate multiple social media platforms.

#8: How To Think about Integrating Social Media with Traditional Media

Tom Martin suggests using a framework for integrating social media and traditional media. He says it’s probably best if marketers move away from replacement thinking and focus instead on complementary thinking.

“Under the complementary model, we look for ways that social media can leverage advertising and vice versa in order to create a more impactful and effective integrated campaign… drive consumers (via advertising or public relations) to online destinations where conversations are built to deliver long-term brand results.”

#9: Integrate Social Activities with Other Inbound Efforts

Sam Zastrow offers a number of tips to help integrate your social activities with other inbound efforts:

  • Convert social followers to email contacts—direct followers to content that will encourage them to join email lists
  • Fish for referrals—social media followers can be very valuable if they refer your business to others
  • Build your customer profile—connections you make via social media can tell you a lot about what kind of people make use of your business
  • Strengthen your content’s SEO—by coupling good content with smart social media practices you can vastly improve your content’s SEO
  • Get press—boost your public relations strategy by targeting journalists with social media

#10: “Just in Time” Can Also Be a Downside

Paul Chaney suggests ways to integrate email and social media and points out that social media as “just in time” marketing works well because information can be shared quickly.

However, the downside is that it’s also transient. “A tweet sent now is forgotten in an hour. Email, on the other hand, has greater stability. Email messages can be archived for a more lasting effect.”

One way that marketers avoid having their social media updates forgotten is to include references to them in email newsletters and/or blog posts where they gather a sampling of their social media updates from the week. “Interesting too, Twitter has just announced a new weekly email that  ’delivers the most interesting news and items you might have missed from the people you’re connected to.’”

How do you integrate your social media updates so they have a little more permanence?

#11: Killer Comments Cultivate Relationships

Marcus Sheridan writes that blog comments are often a poorly understood and underutilized tactic by individuals and businesses. Marcus offers a number of excellent tips for how to cultivate relationships with blog comments.

Comments, as we can see on a blog such as Social Media Examiner, offer ways for the reader to expand upon points in the article, make a recommendation to the author, provide an opportunity for people to meet and make connections outside of the comment and post (e.g., connect via Facebook, Twitter, Google+).

Comments can be highly integrative experiences. How do you cultivate relationships with comments on your blog?

blog comment

An example of a blog comment from Marcus’ post.

#12: Live Events Can Be Integrated into Social Media

How can a live event create a unique social media experience? Pepsi recently announced plans to stream live music concerts this summer to followers of its @pepsi Twitter feed.

Catherine Robinson reports, “Pepsi has asked fans to share their experiences on the social networking platform with the call to action: ‘Everyone’s got a #LiveForNow moment. Tweet yours.’”

You might not have the kind of scale as Pepsi, but how can you use Twitter to integrate users’ experiences from your webinar, sales conference or other events?

live for now

Tweets with the hashtag #LiveForNow.

#13: Measurement Strategies Should Be Integrated into Initial Campaign Planning

Altimeter Group suggests that social media can help marketers learn how their programs perform in the real world, as well as drive decision-making for new content and campaigns.

They point out that one emerging best practice is to “integrate measurement into the initial planning of a campaign to facilitate learning, accountability, and continuous improvement.”

#14: “Not Campaigns” Provide Opportunities, Too

Sometimes when all the noise quiets down, we may find that we can hear more clearly. Craig Rodney describes the quieter times, or “not campaigns,” as a time when brands have more opportunity “to listen, converse, share, help and become more engaged.”

What “not campaign” messages have you received?

#15: Original Song Can Go A Long Way

Question: how can you speak to multiple countries with many cultures and languages? If you’re like Brand USA, you too might find the answer in music.

Dave Anderson writes about the ways in which Brand USA is utilizing an original song, “Land of Dreams,” composed by Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash, the daughter of music legend Johnny Cash.

“Brand USA is employing a completely integrated marketing strategy that uses a mix of 15-, 20- and 60-second television spots, a strong online presence and media strategy to reach possible visitors, and print, digital and billboard ads.

Pages on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have been developed to showcase specific promotions and engagements around the US, and holidaymakers will be able to use the Discover America website as an information portal to plan their trip.”

While we’ve come to associate words, videos and pictures with social media, an original song may not be the first thing that comes to mind when we’re exploring an integrated approach to social media marketing. But as we can learn from Brand USA, the sky is really the limit when it comes to integrating social media.

What can you do to stand out and get noticed?

Brand USA’s commercial as seen on YouTube:

#16: Perpetual Beta Helps Brands To Keep Evolving

Greg Satell offers an interesting perspective. He writes, “Past mindsets and tactics seem clumsy and contrived, remnants of a lost era.” Where marketers used to put up a series of ads until the effectiveness decayed, they now need to build platforms that develop and mature.

Greg says that what’s needed is “a new way of working. Brands need to become authors whose stories unfold over time. The old campaign mentality needs to be replaced by the principle of perpetual beta, where the brand is always becoming, never being.”

Can your social media communication stay in a state of perpetual beta? How will that differ from what you’ve been doing until now?

#17: QR Codes Are A Lot More Than Little Black Dots

A quick glance at a QR code (Quick Response Code) may make you wonder what all the fuss is about—black dots on a white square background. But in recent years, “these two-dimensional barcodes have become common in consumer advertising and packaging, because the dissemination of smartphones has put a barcode reader in everyone’s pocket for the first time. As a result, the QR code has become a focus of advertising, since it provides quick and effortless access to the brand’s website.” (Wikipedia)

Jeff Korhan suggests that QR and other two-dimensional (2D) codes can be readily integrated into your current business marketing practices to bring your online content to a mobile audience in real time.

He offers 5 ways that QR codes can grow your business:

  • Plan your QR code campaign strategy
  • Create quality codes and test them
  • Link codes to mobile-friendly or mobile-optimized sites
  • Track scans with code management systems
  • Deliver value and a favorable user experience

    qr code

    Example of a QR code from Best Buy.

#18: Re-issued Products Can Help Breathe New Life

Ryan Buddenhagen says the latest innovation for social media is to use it not only to track what customers are saying about beloved discontinued products but also to ask what it is they want back—and then deliver on what you find out.

Can you bring back a product or service that your customers have missed and/or asked for?

#19: Serve Your Clients though Social Business Integration

Pam Moore writes about social media lies, myths and fairy tales and on her list is how some people think that social business integration can come later. Instead she suggests that “the better you can integrate social media into your business sales, customer service, and marketing processes, the better you will be able to connect with and serve your clients.”

How can you integrate social media more into business processes?

#20: Top Down Campaign Plays a Significant Role

Top-down is the third campaign type laid out by Geoff Livingston and Gini Dietrich and here they say that social media can support and play an increasingly larger role in significant campaign launches. Examples of common support tactics include:

#21: Uber Social Media Tools Help Businesses Manage Their Social Media Efforts

When Sarah Miller asked the question some time back about what tools help people manage their daily social media activities, she received a whole host of responses including TweetDeck, HootSuite, tweepi, Sprinklr, Pluggio and Sprout Social. As you can well imagine, the selection of social media tools can be a very personal choice.

Regardless of what tool you select to manage and integrate your daily activities, some keys for success are to find the tool that works best for your team and company, use it regularly and train and divide the tasks among a number of people. There’s nothing worse than everything coming to a standstill when a member of your team is out sick or on vacation.

tweetdeck

Dashboard view of Tweetdeck.

#22: Viral Videos Plus Promotion Can Be Key

Depending on a video’s theme and content, it can go viral in no time at all. Video producers may take the extra steps to help promote their video campaigns.

Brand-m shared the experiences of JVC Mobile Entertainment which recently launched “Turn Me On: The Road,” a documentary-style viral video featuring the band Halestorm. The US campaign includes online banner ads, video content placement, social media integration, extensive PR buzz, plus a concert tour promotion.

Videos will benefit by being integrated into a business’s social media efforts.

How have you integrated video into your marketing plan?

#23: Words Into Actions Can Be Your New Social Media Mantra

Brian Solis once wrote that full social media integration often happens in stages and is an evolutionary process for companies and consumers alike.

One stage he identified was “turning words into actions.” As Brian suggests, “Actions speak louder than words. Businesses must act. Once the social consciousness is opened, bring the spirit of your company throughout it to affect change.”

Brian says that listening and observing is not enough. Instead, we must make the shift from a simple response to purposeful, strategic communication. “It is in this stage that we can truly produce captivating content and messages. In order to hold it, we have to give the audience something to believe in—something that moves them.”

Is your social media action-driven?

#24: E(x)cellent Customer Service Can Be Provided Through Social Media

Social media extends beyond what we may have traditionally thought of as B2B or B2C marketing. Social media affords us a way to integrate customer service with our other marketing messages.

And as businesses have been discovering, if they’re not set up to field customer questions and complaints via social networking platforms, customers are using it as a back-door approach to access a representative of the company.

Savvy businesses are anticipating the inevitable. In an earlier post here on Social Media Examiner, we discussed 26 tips for adding customer service to your social media strategy. You’ll find an A-Z guide, everything from allocating your resources to being zealous about maintaining good customer relationships.

#25: Your Integration Plan Is Moment’s Away

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is social media integration. As we near the end of the 26 tips, this may be the time to pick a few things from the list that you hope to integrate immediately and identify other areas that you will plan to do by the end of 2012.

What will you plan to do differently over the next few months?

#26: Zoom Agents Can Help Lead the Way

Pam Moore defines a social zoom agent as someone who takes on the responsibility for the success of becoming a social business. They will own the success of the engagement, content, approach, strategy and integration. “This person must eat, sleep and breathe a goal of becoming a social business.”

Do you have a social zoom agent who can help your company further integrate social media efforts?

What tips can you add for integrating social media campaigns? Leave your comments in the box below.

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It’s about time I set out on my own.

June 10, 2012

Photo

26 Tips for Integrating Social Media Activities

June 10, 2012

mike.reyher@gmail.com sent you an article: with the following note;

Great article on making the most of your social media content

26 Tips for Integrating Social Media Activities

By Debbie HemleyPublished June 7, 2012 Are you seeking ideas to integrate your social activities?To be successful, no social media effort can truly exist as an island.Today, more and more businesses are seeking ways to integrate components of social media to achieve optimal benefits.In this post, I’ll cover 26 tips, an A-Z guide, on ways to blend, mix it up, get the most bang—and create an…

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The four P’s of marketing to win leads through website content : Blog :: Brafton

June 9, 2012
Published on June 8, 2012

Focusing on Product, Price, Promotion and Place can help your content marketing strategy drive online conversions.

How many times have you driven past an eye-catching billboard, read an unforgettable slogan, or found yourself humming a somewhat irritating jingle only to visit the corresponding website and find that it’s weak and lacking valuable information?

I regularly see brands going to market with robust media campaigns, but then they drop the ball on their online content marketing strategies – largely because they just didn’t take the time to map out their content marketing plan.  You need to approach digital content marketing in the same manner as your general marketing or advertising campaigns.

The user experience is a key element in successful offline marketing campaigns, and the same holds true with content marketing. In fact, Google has advised businesses to focus on the user if they want to be visible online, let alone have an impact on site visitors. Here’s what Distinguished Search Engineer Matt Cutts has said about creating content that engages users to win search rankings:

By chasing a great user experience above search rankings, many sites turn out to be what search engines would want to return anyway.

Building a “great user experience” online might feel like a more daunting experience than creating one offline – especially with the rise of multichannel integration. But targeted (and promoted!) website content can be the glue that holds your online lead generation strategy together. Let’s consider how we can streamline and simplify your content marketing plan by incorporating the same elements of general marketing strategies.

Embedded in the brains of most marketers is the mantra of the McCarthy’s Four P’s of marketing: Product, Price, Promotion and Place. These same elements must be considered when you craft your content marketing strategy. Visitors to your website look for the four P’s innately, so it is critical to have related information readily available to them.

Let’s take a closer look at McCarthy’s Four P’s and how they are relevant to today’s online content marketing strategies. I’ll spend a bit of time explaining each P and we’ll explore one website that is hitting the mark with their content marketing strategy.

The Four P’s of Your Content Marketing Plan

Product: Target content to support online business goals

In marketing, this is about as straight-forward as it gets. You need to keep your products and services at the forefront of your marketing plan, understand the ebbs and flows to the sales cycle and showcase complementary products together to increase average order value and cross-sell potential.

Content marketing requires a similar approach. It is critical to reach the right audience with content that matters to them, without losing sight of how this content can generate demand or interest in your products or services. In some cases, products will need their own explanatory content, and in others, you can build more objective content about issues bigger than your business that still support your overall online business goals.

To achieve optimal ROI for your internet marketing strategy, consider the following:

  • Give your product ample real estate on your website.
  • Be sure to develop content for products or service pages that highlights the key features and benefits. At the same time, provide your audience with ample information so they realize that they just can’t live without it.
  • Develop content (research-based articles, whitepapers, blog posts and/or graphics) with emotional triggers that will generate demand for your product. This is your opportunity to sell, sell, sell.
  • Use the cyclical demands for your products and offerings to create timely content.
  • Identify relevant products to complete your product mix. Be sure to provide ample information about these complementary products in your content strategy.

Now, for you visual folk, here’s a site example. A few months ago I found myself hopping onto the Spanx website after seeing that Forbes put Spanx founder, Sara Blakely, in the spotlight on the cover of their Billionaires issue. (For those of you who haven’t yet heard of this brand of shapewear, it is quite the success story.)

Upon first landing on the site I was immediately captivated by their fun and lively copywriting. Right now they are heading into wedding season and I found a headline stating, “On your big day, they’re not looking at your train, they’re looking at your caboose.” Next to this copy was a large image of a derriere fashioning their shapewear. Hilarious! A great example of using seasonal product demand to lead content creation.

Spanx product-focused headline

A product referenced in the blog has its own dedicated landing page listing the key benefits of the shapewear (as does every product they offer). In fact, Product is everywhere on this site, starting with its homepage. Front and center is a slim model basically baring it all in her “Super Higher Power” shapewear. To be honest, she hardly looks like she has anything to tuck in or suck in, but the point is that this “magical” shapewear will give a more streamlined curve to the body and not reveal any little bumps or divots.

Right now, they are right on target with their audience. As I was most recently perusing their site a slim and sophisticated coworker caught a glimpse and stated she was aiming to purchase their product for an upcoming wedding. My jaw just about dropped as I dare say she hasn’t a hint of bulge factor to her svelte figure. Back to the point, I was surprised the model Spanx chose for the image looked like she hardly needed the “magical” shapewear, but then my petite coworker commented that she was purchasing a pair. Clearly, the company is making its product accessible to a larger audience than might meet the eye – and the visual content helps. Spanx has found a niche and has identified a key reason to buy during the spring and summer, when most are sporting shorts and bikinis.

Price: Use relevant calls to action (with price details when possible)

In marketing, identifying the right price to take to market for your product is almost a science in itself. You need to hit the price that will make people ready to pull out their wallets. By the time you are developing your online strategy, you’ve taken painstaking measures to identify the best price for that product. But in the online world, hitting the right price might be thought of as nailing the call to action that will make people ready to click to your virtual shopping cart or contact form. This is a challenge for many marketers – Brafton has reported that 66 percent say they struggle to align content with conversion funnels.

As simple as this one sounds, many marketers are missing the boat on their content strategy when it comes to displaying calls to action and, in the case of ecommerce businesses, price details. Regularly I am engrossed in compelling content that references products or services, but doesn’t show them to me on the page. Many ecommerce sites even showcase product images alongside the content, but then neglect to offer pricing information . Content marketers – let’s remember to list product images, product details and pricing together. Heck, even include a link to your shopping cart on every relevant content page. You’ve got to keep the shopping experience quick, shallow (not 10 clicks away!) and streamlined.

Additional points to consider:

  • Determine which calls to action work best for your audience. Go ahead and test a few. Examples may include: product images/price/links to product pages, email registration, Contact-Us form, whitepapers, case studies, social media icons, Toll-free customer service number, live chat or even promotional offers.
  • Display  CTAs next to your content
Spanx CTAs

If we go back to the example of Spanx, every content page has relevant product featured in a side navigation bar. Even the product navigation bar has a fun content angle. The calls to action have simple but striking language, and there are images to clue readers as to what they would be clicking toward. Once a visitor clicks, product pages are well optimized with informative visual content, easy-to-read prices and features that position the shapewear as well worth the cost.

Promotion: Fuel search and social discovery

Put your best strategy forward and you’ll surely get your site ranking above the competition. A key step to strategically promoting website content is ensuring it is SEO-friendly. Eighty-nine percent of consumers start product research through search and you want to ensure your content is included among the results they find.

But creating search-friendly content isn’t the only way to stand out online or reach shopping web users. Ninety-five million Americans turn to social media to research shopping decisions. Plus, social marketing increasingly contributes to search discovery, with the leading search engines using social data as a ranking factor.

To position your brand ahead of the competition and promote it well across the web, you have to make it keyword-rich (though not keyword stuffed!) and use social channels to amplify the reach of your pages that cover products and key value props.

Top points to consider:Spanx social promotion

  • Is your content SEO-friendly for search? Optimize all pages on your site starting with your homepage and ending with your “thank you” page.
  • Be sure to include your top converting keyword terms into your content strategy.
  • Identify what your competition is doing well and find where you are falling short. How does your content strategy compare to theirs? Are you outspending them with PPC while they are winning organically?
  • How well are you currently promoting your product online? Even introverts need to get social – get your message out to your target audience through channels such as LinkedIn groups, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Find out where your target audience is hanging out online and entice them to your site with the content you’ve spent so much time developing.

Spanx has a strong social presence with notable engagement on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. It posts regularly to each channel and the company has mastered creating a good balance of product promotion and branded content relevant to their audience.

Spanx SEO

It could, however, do a better job at optimizing its site SEO. Spanx is currently neglecting one of the fundamental search practices of optimized URLs. Currently, its URLs are generic and do not include any keyword optimization or product names. Title tags could also use some work to make them more targeted and relevant. Still, they’re hitting the mark with user-friendly content that naturally incorporate keywords – and recent search updates (including Google Penguin) aim to reward sites for focusing on users above search crawlers.

Place: Create easy navigation to drive conversions

If only driving conversions was as easy as strapping on a pair of ruby red slippers and clicking our heels! Well, actually, it is almost that simple – or it should be. With general marketing, businesses decide where to showcase their products. In the world of digital content, you have to design your site so the content with the most impact is extremely easy discover. You’ve got to keep the shopping experience quick, shallow (not 10 clicks away!) and streamlined.

Determine the best place to showcase your content on your site to make it easy for users to find and navigate. And reduce the number of clicks they have to carry out to get from a blog post to a page where they can buy a related product, or from an industry news article to a page where they can download the more in-depth whitepaper.  Let’s not have visitors leaving your site singing like Bono, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”

Think about the following:

  • Where does your content currently live on your site? Is it easy to find? How many clicks does it take to get to the center of … your strategy? (If you are in my age bracket that should remind you of a commercial with an owl. Here’s a reminder!)
  • Is your site well-integrated? Is your content visible to the web crawlers? Is it easily accessible from your homepage?
  • Be sure to effectively cross-promote so visitors can get from one place to another and, ultimately, seamlessly travel along your top conversion paths.

Spanx navigation

I found the Spanx site extremely easy to navigate with their shopping cart typically just two clicks away from their homepage. They also make it easy to access the shopping cart from their blog, as the typical navigation was just 3 clicks to the cart.

I just wish they would give more visibility to their blog. Sure it is located on the nav bar of their homepage but it’s just so darn fun to read that it should be given more real estate!

Spanx offers a pretty good model of how you might incorporate the 4 P’s of marketing into your content marketing campaign. If you want to create conversions from your website content, take a page out of the Spanx book. The company does a great job of creating, positioning and promoting content that supports business goals and targets its female audience. (And just in case inquiring minds want to know, Spanx even has a product line for men, wink, wink.)

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Gwen Slattery

Gwen Slattery is a Senior Account Manager working daily with Brafton’s Clients to build dynamic content marketing & SEO strategies. Gwen spends a great deal of her time hitting the pavement or taking to the skies both on the job and off. You might run into her scaling the trails of the White Mountains, logging laps in the pool or with her feet planted on the other side of the world.

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June 8, 2012 @ 10:00 am

Social Apps Launched: Facebook Joins The Platform Wars | Social Media Today

June 8, 2012

iOS, Android, and Facebook? Is the world ready for three mobile platforms?

Facebook ‘s quest to improve its mobile presence just took a step forward with its own App Center. Following its first and biggest acquisition with the Instagram deal, Facebook now intends to bring their own apps to users for marketers and brands to create more strategies using the world’s largest social platform.

The App Center was launched at Bluxome Street Winery in San Francisco where Facebook executives Matt Wyndowe and Doug Purdy gave developers a glimpse of what to expect about Facebook’s App Center features. Among the partners for Facebook’s latest mobile endeavor are Path, Stitcher, and Voxer. So why is Facebook producing its own apps already?

The App Center wasn’t a surprise considering that a Facebook phone is in the works. If you’re still wondering what’s the real score about Facebook running its own Apps Center then you probably haven’t heard of the Facebook phone yet. The social network has poached some Apple engineers to make a Facebook phone which suggests that it intends to monopolize its own brand through its own mobile platform together with its own Apps Center. A phone is something you’d use to connect more people through social and mobile combined, but cloning the iPhone is a bad idea that should be avoided.