3 Inspiring Creative Content Marketing Campaigns

Let’s be honest, content marketing can be hard. The Internet is a vast place, and it can be a challenge to come up with new, fresh and exciting content targeted to your audience at all points in the sales cycle on a regular basis. (It was exhausting just typing that.)

It’s enough to want to turn exclusively to posting cat memes for the lifespan of your business. At least you know people like cats.

The good news is, there has never been a greater time to really stretch those creative muscles and think outside the box when it comes to your content marketing efforts. Here are three campaigns to get you inspired for your next campaign.

1. Dumb Ways to Die

This campaign is, hands down, one of my favorites. Metro Trains took really important safety information that many commuters would typically miss on yet another boring old sign and gave it a creative twist.

This Melbourne, Australia train company wrapped up that important safety information in a (ridiculously catchy) song and (ridiculously addictive) mobile app. It’s clever, creative, and sure…just a little over the top. But millions of downloads and views later, this campaign is still going strong, and–according to some research (though some critics disagree)–even saving lives.

Of course, to truly be effective with this sort of information, Metro Trains couldn’t rely on just this one piece of content, but as far as simply starting the conversation…well, it has definitely accomplished that goal.

2. Our Food, Your Questions

Speaking of conversations, I think there’s a misconception that “content marketing” is a lonely, one-sided process where a company must constantly churn out information that gets gobbled up by an audience that’s never satisfied.

On the contrary, content marketing can be a two way conversation, with your audience coming up with the content for you.

Enter in McDonald’s Canada with their campaign, “Our Food, Your Questions,” where they bravely (seriously…BRAVELY) answer each of the 300-400 questions they receive every day through their dedicated website.

Our Food Your Questions

The brilliance of this campaign is that they’re allowing the audience to dictate the flow of the conversation. AND they’re not afraid to tackle the hard questions, either, lending even more weight to their willingness to be open and transparent with their audience…which is always a great way to carry on a genuine conversation.

3. Three Words: Van Damme Splits

If you haven’t witnessed the visual sensation that is Jean-Claude Van Damme gracefully performing the splits between two giant Volvo semi trucks to the soothing sounds of Enya, then you must, immediately. Go. I’ll wait.

Here’s the deal…not everyone has the budget to produce a video of that quality. But the real lesson here is, “How can I show one of the key selling points of my business, product or service in a new and unique way?” While the sensational part of the video is of course, Van Damme doing the splits, the bigger message is, “Yep, our trucks make even this craziness possible.”

What campaigns do you love? What inspires you to be creative with your content?

Advanced Google Analytics: URL Tagging

One of the great parts of using your website for marketing is all of the data: you can see where visitors are coming from, what is driving traffic and where your investments are paying off. But there is a wrinkle: what about all the things that you do that aren’t online?

campaign tagging

Allow me to introduce: custom tagging. If you have spent any time in Google Analytics you are probably familiar with (or at least aware of) source and medium as ways to group visitors to your site. While the default groups are pretty web centric, with a little planning, these can start to shed light on all sorts of efforts. By adding some variables to your URL you can define the source, medium and campaign (along with a couple of other variables) that Google Analytics associates with the visit. This might look like this: http://www.tkgenius.com?utm_source=kyle&utm_medium=blog&utm_campaign=education

But how would this work? Let’s start with a pretty straightforward example: you are mailing a postcard to recipients of your print newsletter to encourage them to sign up for your email list. How can you tell how many people got the postcard and signed up? You could look at your data and find people that signed up for the newsletter on your site, but how do you know if these people came from the postcard? You could use URL tagging, but who is going to type in http://www.tkgenius.com?utm_source=postcard&utm_medium=mail&utm_campaign=newsletter – not to spoil the surprise, but it will be exactly 0 people.

But what will work is to setup a much simpler URL: tkgenius.com/postcard – this URL can be setup to send people to an existing page with a signup form and in the process add the tracking code to the end of the URL. Boom: now you can look at your email signups and see how many had a source of “postcard”.

And that is just the beginning. The same signup page could be used with separate URLs for the postcard, a letter and sign in your store. By planning this ahead you can see which approach led to the most sign ups. Compare this to the cost of each method and you are in a good position to make a better choice for your next campaign.

If you are curious about how to get started adding your own tags, the Google URL builder can help to get you started. And if that is a bit overwhelming, get in touch and we will see how we can help you out.

Want to learn more about Google Analytics? Stay tuned to our blog. I’ll be bringing you more advanced tips on Google Analytics or join us in person at TKG’s Google Analytics Advanced Breakfast Bootcamp on September 18 . Click here to register for this FREE session! I look forward to meeting you!

Good Customer Service is Good Communication

customer serviceEmails that never get answered … phone calls that take forever to get returned … meetings that continually get cancelled at the last minute … projects that get derailed with no explanation. What happened to great customer service?

At TKG, we pride ourselves on excellent customer service. We truly believe that our customer service sets us apart from the competition. It hits at the core of who we are as a business – and we take it pretty seriously.

When you strip it down to bare bones, what is customer service? I think it all comes down to really good communication skills. And I don’t mean talking either.

These are just a few things I think are important in good communication:

  • Listen more than you talk
  • Be concise
  • A little friendliness goes a long way
  • Empathy keeps you humble

Customers have needs. Those needs can be as simple as a question that can be answered with a “yes” or a “no” or as complicated as setting an entire marketing strategy. The one common thread that keeps both of these scenarios on track is communication.

Communication is all about setting expectations and then doing something really crazy like following through and doing what you promised. Crazy, I know! But if you nurture that tiny little component in any relationship, you will be a very popular person. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that.

Something else that affects great customer service is that disappointment can creep into reality (never at TKG though!) and affect your relationships. Disappointment can come in the form of something like a delayed schedule. But if you go the extra mile for your customer and get ahead of the curve to let them know about that delay, most people will understand.

I’m in the business of taking care of customer needs. Some of my most valuable lessons have been learned when I’m playing the part of the customer in my personal life. I know what it feels like to get good customer service. It makes me feel good.

Have you experienced great customer service? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!

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5 Ways Businesses Are Using Creative Content to Increase Engagement

If you are a business on social media, chances are you are always looking for new ways to boost engagement. When you want to increase your likes, shares and comments without increasing your social media budget, your best bet is to develop creative and unexpected content.

Here are five ways that successful brands have leveraged creative content to increase customer engagement:

  1. Dove tugs on your heartstrings – The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty utilizes creative advertising strategies like the ultra-popular Real Beauty Sketches video to change women’s perceptions of beauty.These viral marketing tactics are more than just shallow ploys for likes and shares. Dove delivers sharable content that shows a profound understanding of its target audience.
  2. Lays wants to know what you think – The original Lays Do Us a Flavor contest was one of the most successful and recognizable examples of user-generated content in social media history. The contest asked users to invent new potato chip flavors and vote to keep to best flavors around.Although the Do Us a Flavor campaign was great at generating engagement, the caveat to user-generated content is that it typically requires a pretty hefty incentive for participation (In this case, a $1 million cash prize).
  3. Coca-Cola stops you in your tracks – The Coca-Cola Happiness Machine surprises customers with free drinks and other unexpected gifts. This unique vending machine forces customers to stop what they are doing and share some happiness with the people around them.Coca-Cola brilliantly uses hidden cameras to document these happiness exchanges and publishes the videos on YouTube. These videos help spread Coca-Cola happiness and engagement in the social space.
  4. Arby’s and Oreo watch what you watch – Real-time content creation helps users see brands as more relevant members of their social communities. Who can forget the Oreo dunk in the dark tweet, or Arby’s genius response to Pharrell’s hat at the 2014 Grammy’s?The catch with real time marketing is that you should only interact during events that make sense for your brand; otherwise you might end up confusing your audience.
  5. Taco Bell has a life of its own – When brands have strong personalities on social media; they are able to build lasting relationships with their target audience. Taco bell knows that it is a fast-food restaurant and its audience is not super interested in gluten or calorie counting. It embraces this persona and runs with it in all of its communication.A little personification can go a long way in developing brand loyalty. Customers and social media users want brands to post content they can relate to, and Taco Bell totally nails it.

Social media users won’t engage with content just because a brand follows best practice guidelines. Users want to engage with brands that understand them, and produce content that makes them feel something. Creative content is a quick and effective way to boost engagement, as long as you do it in a way that makes sense for your brand.

Google Analytics Basics: How to Find Keywords that Drive Traffic to Your Site

Getting statistics that tell you what your site visitors are searching for is like finding a goldmine. For quite some time Google provided this in Google Analytics. However back in October of 2011, Google announced, that they were starting to encrypt individual visit data to protect users that were logged into any Google product such as Gmail, Google+ etc. and they’ve since extended that to many other searches as well.

Now when you go to Google Analytics and click on “Acquisition > Keywords > Organic” you will see a large number of (not provided) keywords. In other words: Google knows what these users searched but they are not sharing this data with you. Bummer, right?

keywords

Well, good news. Even though it is not possible to see keyword traffic data in Google Analytics you can still find some of this data in 30 day snapshots in Google Webmaster tools. Here’s how:

Step 1: Open Google Webmaster Tools. https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ and select the site you would like to get Keyword stats for. If you haven’t set this up yet – do it!!

Step 2: Click “Search Traffic” then “Search Queries” in the left side navigation.

webmaster tools

Step 3: On this page you will be able to see what keywords led people to your site as well as what keywords triggered impressions. It’s not quite the same data as you would get in Google Analytics, and you can’t manipulate it the way you could if it were there, but it’s still valuable insight into what keywords people are using to reach your site.

more keywords

Want to learn more about Google Analytics? See my previous post on where your visitors are coming from, and stay tuned for more great tips next month as we delve into some Advanced Analytics topics!

Prefer an in person session? Join us in person at TKG’s Google Analytics Basics Breakfast Bootcamp on August 21st (that’s tomorrow!) . Click here to register for this FREE session! I look forward to meeting you!

Don’t Overlook Great Content in your Website Plans

content_highlighted credit HubSpotSo you are setting out to build your new website or really ramp up your web marketing efforts. What about the content?

At the end of the day, it’s not all about how great the site looks (though, of course, that is great) but it’s more about what the site says and how it says it that equates to online success.

Content writing is an art. Trust me, as I attempt to craft this blog post, I realize that it is a skill that I do not possess. However, we have that talent at TKG in spades – and they tell me it’s like a fine wine that takes practice to perfect.

Simply put, content writing sounds much easier to do than the execution of it can be.

Often, our clients aren’t able to create their own content in-house. Or they start off thinking they can, but end up with material that isn’t well-written or strategized – and that leads us back to pretty websites that don’t produce.

Even worse is what happens when desperate folks think they can grab content from another online source or supplier with the same info. But what happens is this creates duplicate content – a big no-no in the online marketing world.

Not only is it unethical, it often does not read well or suit your audience. And even worse, the Google gods will frown upon you and blow your site off the rankings radar for just about everything. No one wants that.

So what to do? Find a partner (like TKG) that has an awesome copy writing staff in house. Our staff will get to know you and your business and work toward how to best showcase you in the digital space. All while knowing the right way to say it.

You will always know your business the best. It is a pro copywriter’s job to interview and learn your business and the voice you wish to present to your customers online. They will take the pressure off you to create the all of the powerful content that your website and your online web marketing strategy cannot live without! And don’t forget the added benefit of knowing that the content created is original and optimized to specifically target your audience and online goals.

So my advice it to save those content writing skills for thank you notes or a letter to your mom (she’ll appreciate that!). Leave the copy writing to the pros. Your online presence will thank you for it!

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Facebook Still Drives Traffic

We have discussed Facebook’s organic reach decline on TKGenius for the last several months. At the risk of angering big and small brands alike, Facebook slowly reduced the organic reach for business pages over the last year, resulting in some brands leaving for other platforms such as Twitter and Google+.

Was this a good decision on the part of the brands saying “Adios”? Probably not. As new traffic numbers are released by Shareaholic for the second quarter, the infographic below shows that Facebook is still by and large the biggest driver of traffic.

shareaholic

As you can see, referrals began to climb from March to June, but really took off in the second quarter, with Facebook driving 23.39% of ALL referral traffic in June, with Pinterest coming in a distant second. This is an increase of more than 150% from last June, allowing Facebook to continue to be the dominant force in social media.

Pinterest, the darling of the web, also saw a dramatic increase over last year. Image as content is getting more and more love from users – proved by the more than 69% in growth since last year.

Coming up third in referrals is Twitter. While Twitter remains very popular among users, it doesn’t have the reach that Facebook continues to garner. Most brands use it for branding alone as opposed to trying to actually drive traffic.

What does all of this data mean to you? Basically, Facebook, even with the organic reach nosedive, performs. It will still provide the best ROI of any of the social media platforms out there. Facebook changes just enough to keep users interested. The newsfeed changes constantly, creating an environment where users can’t help but to read, click, share, like and save. It still provides an enormous amount of interaction for brands and the traffic numbers speak for themselves.

So, did you decide to just muddle through Facebook’s organic reach decline, or did you choose to abandon ship and spend your online marketing dollars elsewhere? If you left, we’d love to hear what you’ve been doing instead of Facebook.

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Advertising Agencies Are Not Web Experts

There seems to be some confusion out there in our industry. Oh, the pain.

Is it any wonder that businesses looking for a new website are sometimes confused or frustrated by the process? And rightfully so, after what I’ve been hearing about what some advertising agencies are doing to their clients.

Agencies Are Struggling to Adapt

It is no secret that the advertising world has changed. Back in the day when print was king, advertising agencies ruled with fantastic design, creative ideas and expertise in branding through use of different print channels. But times have changed; and now, the traditional agencies are trying to reinvent themselves by claiming to be experts in web development and web marketing. How do I know this? I often deal with the aftermath of the havoc that some have brought upon their unsuspecting victims (er, clients).

Agencies aren’t usually adequately staffed to build and support websites. If they need to build a site for a client, they typically rely on resources outside of their agency for website programming, coding of pages and maybe even design. What tends to happen with this lack of a team approach, though a beautiful-looking website may come out of it, is that it can quickly become disjointed with no web marketing strategy to support it. There’s no real plan with substance, you know?

And if there needs to be complicated programming, will the advertising agency that is great at print, billboards and bus wraps be able to find the skillset to deliver the technical know-how? It’s a coin toss.

TKG has a unique approach to the web that allows our clients to stand out in the digital space with a beautiful, functional and well-strategized website – and we’ll be here to support it long after launch.

tkg difference

More Questions: Traffic and Hosting?

How will search traffic be impacted when your new website replaces the old site? Will your traditional advertising agency know how to preserve search engine rankings (e.g. web traffic) so that your business does not suffer the consequences? And who will host the site? Some third party company, no doubt.
If your business or organization has a website, that means you are looking for traffic, and most importantly, leads/sales from it. If that is not the key motive behind every decision in creating a new site, it’s a safe bet your site may look good but do nothing for your business.

Account Manager Offer: Can We Help You?

Often we are solicited to help companies with web marketing and web development after they have had their website built and launched by an advertising agency. We can improve your website to best speak to its audience, present the most important information, grow traffic and boost leads/sales.

Do you have a beautiful website that isn’t producing results? We can fix it! Give me a call and tell me about what isn’t working on your current site.

Google Analytics Basics: Where Do Your Visitors Come From?

Analyzing where your visitors are coming from is a very important piece to understanding your audience – and we don’t just mean where they are in the world (although that’s important too!) You can tell how well your website is being marketed by how your visitors find you – directly by typing the URL into their browser, through a search engine, via social media, from an email campaign or by clicking on a link to your site from some other place.

Here’s how to find out:

1: Open up your Google Analytics Account and then click on the “Acquisition” tab in the left hand navigation. Then click the “Overview” tab that is directly under “Acquisition”.

acquisition

When you click Overview this page will appear.

acquisition overviewacquisition overview2

Step 2: Select Your “Primary Dimension” from the Primary Dimension dropdown just above the pie chart. Your Options are; Top Channels, Top Sources/Mediums, Top Sources, Top Mediums. Below we will look at Sources & Mediums.

sources mediums

Top Mediums:
Mediums are broad categories of traffic sources. They include organic, direct, social, referral, email etc. By looking at the Top Mediums section you can see a broad overview of where your visitors are coming from. If you would like to dig a little deeper into the data, you can see all of the mediums that are sending traffic to your site by clicking the “To see all channels click here”, at the bottom left of the page.

Top Sources:
Sources are more detailed categories of traffic. A source could be Google which is an Organic traffic source or Facebook which is a social traffic source. This section you will be able to see the top 10 sources/mediums for traffic to your site. To look deeper you can click “To see all Sources click here”, at the bottom left of the page.

So, what does all of this mean? Well, if you’re investing a lot of time in social media, for example, but social isn’t sending any traffic to your site – well, now you know, and can adjust your strategy. Maybe you’re not reaching your audience via social or maybe you’re not linking back to your site with a strong call to action. The same analysis can happen for other mediums also. Are you getting the organic traffic you’d expect? What about referrals? These reports give you access to the information that can help you make smart decisions on how to spend your marketing dollars.

Want to learn more about Google Analytics? See my previous post on device data, and stay tuned for more great tips! Prefer an in person session? Join us in person at TKG’s Google Analytics Basics Breakfast Bootcamp on August 21st . Click here to register for this FREE session! I look forward to meeting you!

How Responsive Design Can Impact Online Marketing Efforts – in a Good Way!

this-is-the-webBy now, you have likely heard about responsive design.

Responsive design allows users on any device – desktop, smartphone or tablet – to have a good online experience regardless of screen size.

So, the question is, how does responsive design impact online marketing efforts? As marketers, we sometimes focus only on specific tasks, such as creating content, developing email campaigns and updating social media networks. The fact is that if you do not have responsive design in place, all of the online marketing strategies you want to implement will not garner your full potential results.

How much impact does mobile play into content, email, search and social media marketing today? The answer in short – a lot! Here are just a few examples:

  • 51% of emails are now opened on mobile devices
  • 60% of internet access is made on a mobile device
  • 70% of mobile searches lead to action on websites within one hour
  • 60% of social media time is spent on mobile platforms as opposed to desktop browsers

These results mean that mobile has a growing impact on online marketing efforts. People are reading content, opening emails, performing searches and engaging with brands on social media – all from their mobile devices.

Responsive design greatly affects the user experience, ultimately meaning it will support your online marketing efforts in the following ways:

  • Email Marketing – As many users are reading your emails on a mobile device, naturally you want them to be able to follow the links in your email and have no issues browsing your site on that same device.
  • Content Marketing – users will be able to read the content from their mobile device, and also be able to use the social sharing buttons to easily share the content.
  • Social Media Marketing – when users click on a promoted offer on their mobile devices, they’ll be able to purchase the promoted item just as they would on a desktop browser.
  • Search Marketing – when a user clicks on a link to your website from search results, they will be able to get to your page and consume the information they need, just as they would on a desktop.

If it isn’t already a part of your online marketing strategy, a responsively designed website should be a significant consideration moving forward. Website visitors will be able to learn about your products and services, buy your products and consume your content on any device without issues.

So adding responsive design will not only make your website visitors happy, but it will help you get more results with your online marketing efforts. That’s a win-win in my book.

Do you have a responsive design success story? Share it in the comments!