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March 2015 archive

Which Social Media Channels are Best for My Business?

If you’re a new start-up (or an established business whose marketing efforts are still stuck in the dark ages) most likely you’re considering going social. And if you haven’t considered going social, let’s take a look at a few statistics:

  • 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. met via social media
  • 80% of companies use social media for recruitment
  • YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world
  • 90% of people skip ads via TiVo/DVR

Whether or not to go social shouldn’t be the question. The question is which social networks are you going to utilize and how.

These days, it’s impossible to count how many social networks there are. The picture below gives you a very tiny view of what the social networking landscape looks like these days.


Overwhelmed yet?

Too many companies make the mistake of trying to manage too many niche social networks, wasting a lot of time for minimal return. So how do you choose which social networks are right for your company?


Content Marketing Campaign of the Week: Bass Pro Shop

Brick and mortar retailers have a hard time competing to stay profitable with the increase and ease of online shopping. Stores that are took an even harder hit are local, specialty stores that closed because of online and big box competition. While Bass Pro is certainly a big box specialty store, they still struggle to capitalize on in-person sales. They have an experiential marketing atmosphere for Bass Pro Outdoor World that most companies cannot compete with, but even with the in-store hunting, fishing and boating simulations, they still were not seeing return on their marketing efforts.

bass-pro-shopAbout five years ago, Bass Pro identified the challenge that local markets were still highly influential when driving not only in-store sales, but online purchases as well. They invested in a website update, but still didn’t have the web traffic they had projected. In an Oracle case study they outlined several items to accomplish:

  • Create a deeper connection with each store’s local market
  • Produce content quickly, easily and locally
  • Allow each store to manage its own web pages and accounts

With hefty competition from big names such as Gander Mountain, Cabela’s, Field and Stream, Dick’s and of course Walmart, they had to make their online content stand out. If Google’s Zero Moment of Truth is accurate and “10 good pieces of content are consumed before a purchasing decision is made,” Bass Pro needed to create relevant content and do it better than their competitors at a local level.


Using the Ecommerce Reports in Google Analytics

Ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics lets you view information about revenue producing transactions in the context of analytics metrics and dimensions. To view these reports, enhanced ecommerce needs to be implemented on the site. Once this is done, business owners can see what happens from the moment a visitor arrives on the site to the moment of making a purchase or abandoning their shopping cart.   Online-Shopping’-Escalates-To-a-Brand-new-Level

Before setting this up, or digging into the data, businesses must determine their ecommerce plan outside of Google Analytics. Team members need to think first about their business goals and KPIs.  With ecommerce sites, clearly selling on the website is an important tactic and success metrics would include sales by revenue, average order value, and revenue per customer.  However, a business may also want to segment data by things like what type of product sold the most or how different visitors behaved. All measurements should focus on how overall behavior influences KPIs.

Measuring Sessions vs Users

When reviewing data, it can be segmented by users within a specific date range. Site owners may want to segment users who did make a purchase over multiple sessions compared to those who did not. On the other hand, with a session measurement, it is about a user during a single session rather than over time. One way to examine this segment is by traffic source to determine if behavior was different for AdWords versus organic.

Use funnels to see the good…

Funnels show how different channels work together to lead to a purchase. Cynics of social media often see it as a waste of time because it does not lead to any real revenue.  This can be true for some, but at least with the multi-channel funnel overview, you can see if social media led to a sale eventually. Visitors may not have gone immediately from Facebook to making a purchase on the site, but Facebook could have been used somewhere in their path toward conversion as an “assisted conversion.”


Content Marketing Campaign of the Week: GoPro

Five years ago only die-hard adrenaline junkies knew what GoPro was. Now it is a household name that posted $1.4 billion of revenue in 2014. While in essence GoPro is just a digital camera; timing, user enthusiasm and a decent content marketing strategy propelled this brand to success.


In 2001, GoPro creator and CEO Nick Woodman wanted to record surfing from his perspective. He thought it would be cool to relive his very own experiences and share them with friends. So he strapped a 35mm camera to his wrist and took still action shots while surfing. While it took several more years evolve into what it is today, in 2006 GoPro debuted its first digital video camera that recorded 10-second bursts with no sound. From there it began to gain in popularity.


Other things that were starting and growing in 2006:  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress, MySpace (yes, I said MySpace), internet bandwidth and digital everything. Due to these platforms, GoPro was able to capitalize on a tech-savvy consumer base who wanted to share their experiences.

Most marketers will agree that some of the best content stems from user experiences. As Director of Content at Econsultancy Chris Lake stated, “The very best ads are conceived as shareable content experiences, and we’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s possible.” I’ll repeat part of that:  shareable content experiences. The content created by GoPros mirrors the stories of their customers. It’s the epitome of visual storytelling and an implied slogan:  Buy a GoPro and you can film your amazing adventures too.

User-Generated Content and Enthusiasm

What better way to tell a story about your amazing base jumping experience? Or show your epic snowboarding run? Or share whatever your passion is with the world? There are no words that can describe that feeling, but you might be able to share a tenth of what you felt with friends and family if you share your video with them. And who doesn’t want to brag about their great vacation or experiences?  It’s this storytelling that mirrors the actual product and combines with user engagement to create enthusiasm.

Content Marketing Strategy- Being Social

User enthusiasm translates to a brand being able to capitalize on genuine excitement for their product by using a variety of content distribution channels to gain brand awareness and increase market share. What’s great about GoPro is they do this naturally. While some brands create content and try over and over again to publicize it and get it in front of consumers, GoPro increases its followers and fans by sharing what they think their customers would think is fun to watch, and could be fun to do.

A snapshot of GoPro’s social media show’s how extensive their network is:

  • 8.5 million Facebook fans
  • 1.35 million Twitter followers
  • 4.4 million Instagram followers
  • 2.8 million YouTube subscribers

And these followers, fans and subscribers aren’t all jumping out of planes or diving with sea lions every day, but video is informative and makes you feel something, increasing the likelihood you will share. Whether viewers walk away with a cool video to talk about or they’re inspired to start a new hobby, numbers of this magnitude don’t lie; people actively seek out content and share interesting and relevant videos. And if people like the video, they might create their own or just want to film an experience from their personal perspective.


Case in point:  here is a photo of a head down skydiving formation. One person with a GoPro could’ve captured this image, but there are at least 8 GoPros visible, and more of those jumpers probably just didn’t mount the camera for this jump. Those eight people wanted to record THEIR experience.


Yes, GoPro has a cool product that literally produces exciting, vivid, highly shareable content. But the customers are the ones telling the stories and GoPro is simply sharing that with its networks. By posting these compelling videos and images, participating with their networks and asking customers to share even more, GoPro has escalated expectations for what good content marketing looks like.

Something to think about for your next content marketing piece:  have you asked your customers to share their experiences with you about your product?

Create A Strong Content Marketing Strategy

Writing a quantity of content is the easy part.  Anyone can simply churn out a bunch of copy.  The challenge is creating quality content that appeals to the right audiences and knowing what you hope to achieve with the content.

jack_of_all_trades_A key part of creating a content strategy is first having a handle on what your brand is known for.  It can be tough if you operate with the concept of being a “jack of all trades.”

Try to focus on your primary areas of expertise and develop your content around these core areas. Once you have that down, think about how to break down those larger areas into topics you can discuss in your blogs, articles, videos, and white papers.

And keep these following points in mind:

What’s your packaging?

Have you thought about how users will absorb your content?  That determines the best ways for you to package it.  Some users may want to sit down at their desktops and go through a 2,000 word article.  Others may prefer to absorb content on the go and read a 200-word update on their mobile phone while waiting in line.  This also has to do with your audience’s learning style.  If you’re not sure of their preferred method of learning, you will want to package your content in several different ways.  If your content is instructional, create a 5-minute video or podcast to go along with it.  You could also trying working the written content into an infographic if it can visually explain your main points well.


Web Seminar Recap: Developing Paid Search Ad Copy That Works

This web seminar was hosted by Diane Pease on March 17, 2015.

Writing ad copy can be challenging, especially when you have created several new campaigns, and are in need of writing ad copy to a large number of ad groups. It can feel very overwhelming to say the last. This session provides you with the basic guidelines of writing ad copy, ad copy best practices, and finding new ways to get inspirational ideas. This session also covered ad copy optimization and developing solid ad copy testing techniques.

What Attendees Learned:

• Learning the key elements of a great PPC ad
• Where to go to get ideas for ad copy
• How to make your ads better with extensions and callouts
• Learn about the latest AdWords updates for display and mobile ads

Missed this seminar? Find the slides and recording here.

Agile Marketing: Sprint 11

In this week’s retrospective, everyone expressed how good the week felt. Across the board it was positive. Everyone felt productive based on a general lack of interruptions, which was great to hear.

For sprint 11, held from 3/11/2015 – 3/17/2015, we completed a total of 444 points.

That’s a slight uptick from our previous velocity and is most likely due to the contribution of a newly hired team member. It looks like we’ve started to turn on the corner on her training and she’s starting to add additional capacity for the team.

Last week I wrote about how we had not properly adjusted our velocity to account for this new hire’s training, but after talking in our retrospective, it looks as if we’ve now adjusted appropriately. That included some time devoted to training, as well as some velocity adjustments to account for that training. 

But as the team also vocalized, some of our capacity increase was also due to a week with less interruptions and fires that took us off our initial sprint plan. Instead, we planned our sprint, executed on the plan, and were more productive because of it.

The takeaway from this week though is the continued need to empower new hires.

We touched on it last week, but as a group we took some time to talk about training in our sprint 11 retrospective. We discussed how at times we were putting off interns and new hires for tasks they may not be able to do. They would ask if a task was something they could do and we would push them off to something else, instead of taking the time to teach them.

Having a cross-functional team with people who can wear many hats is what makes our team successful. We should encourage their initiative instead of stifling it. We should applaud their effort instead of turning them away. But that means sacrificing our own time and energy, which can be a challenge for many people.

It is easy to look at the short-term loss of time or use the common ‘It will take me longer to teach you how to do than just do it myself.” But the long-term benefit of getting these newer folks ramped up with skills and knowledge is where the true value is. The sooner they are working autonomously and contributing to the team, the sooner we open other employees for larger, more complicated tasks and projects. That is when we will reach new levels of productivity.

As a team, we decided that we are all accountable to help our newer folks learn new skills. We all understand this is a short-term individual sacrifice that will help us all benefit in the long run. We agreed to not say no. We will all supply coverage if one of us ends up sacrificing time and is no longer able to complete a time-sensitive task or project. We will work together to encourage their ambition and help them get up-to-speed faster.


Do Trade Shows Really Get Qualified Leads?

For many businesses – from macro to enterprise – trade shows are a critical component of marketing success and a time-honored tradition among business-to-business (B2B) marketers. Trade shows provide companies with unique selling opportunities.  According to an industry report by Exhibit Surveys Inc., 85 percent of trade show participants can make, or influence the buying decision; 63 percent will buy within 12 months; and 42 percent of attendees are interested and want to be at the event.

But no matter what statistics show, trade shows allow companies to make face-to-face, direct sales pitches to prospective buyers who come to them. Trade shows offer one of the tried and true opportunities to build relationships – something every business can use more of today.  Research has proven the quality of sales leads that come from trade shows continues to rank among the most qualified and trade show marketing has proven to be resilient over time and in spite of an economic recession because of the value of face-to-face meetings with clients, prospects and key business partners.

In order to create a successful and effective trade show marketing effort, businesses need to strategically evaluate, plan, execute and measure results. These sure-fire steps will help you and your company achieve trade show success!



Find the right show. With thousands of trade shows help across the world each year, finding the show or shows that will best meet your business goals and marketing objectives is the first step. Do your research. Make a master list. Narrow the list. Analyze the numbers. Just as you evaluate traditional or online paid media, look at demographics (gender, age, occupation, income and buying influence, for example) and geographics. Ask questions of the organizers about their credentials, sponsors, budget, past show trends and prior exhibitors and sponsors. What is the traffic density, or number of attendees per 100 square feet? How many exhibitors participate?

Make the selection. Once you have worked through this process and developed a short list, determine what portion of your marketing budget will be dedicated to trade shows. A 2010 study by Goldstein Group Communications reported that B2B marketers allocate 17% of their budget on trade show marketing. Then, calculate which shows will offer the best ROI potential. Again, base the decision on the data and alignment with company business goals and marketing objectives.



Content Marketing Campaign of the Week: The Caul Real Estate Group

caulHow many times will you buy or sell a home in your lifetime? For some it may be once or twice, none, or even 10 times. No matter how many times, it is probably the largest financial decision an individual or family will make. But who do you trust to make sure you’re getting the correct advice? What about the best deal? How can you make sure you’re not going to have buyer’s/seller’s remorse?

A realtor’s services might not be a tangible product, but they are incredibly impactful. Sure you can read reviews on Trulia, Zillow or Angie’s list, but how do you trust someone you’ve probably never met before to guide you to make a good life decision? One of the due diligence items that many people neglect is making sure the chosen realtor knows their market, their clients, and the business itself. What may be known to realtors as good business practices is actually content marketing at its best.

The Caul Real Estate Group, comprised of husband and wife Kevin and Tina Caul and their team members Laura, Kelly, Lezlie and Tanya, have done a great job with this, proving content marketing can be done successfully whether your brand is large or small. Here are some of the reasons The Caul Team has succeeded:

Knowing the Client

Web Seminar Recap: Tips for Building Awesome Blogger Relationships

This web seminar covered Tips for Building Awesome Blogger Relationships on March 11, 2015 and was presented by Joseph Havey.

Today, most media relations plans include an element of blogger outreach. Blogs provide an excellent platform to showcase brand messaging, and they give marketers access to niche groups that already exist. Like any outreach plan, successful blogger relations are based on mutually-beneficial partnerships.

In this webminar, we learned how to form these relationships with the following tools and tactics:

● Guest blogging
● Product reviews
● Online contests
● Cross-promotion

We also learned tips for finding relevant bloggers and ensuring your relationships stay strong over time.

Blogger relationships can open the door to audiences to which you otherwise wouldn’t have access. As word-of-mouth increasingly becomes important in the marketing world, bloggers can work as reputable third parties to endorse you or your brand. Shelten Media frequently partners with relevant bloggers to increase clients’ online reach, and Joseph shared some of the tips that he has learned over the years.

You can find the slides and recording here.