Fifty Five and Five https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com Customer Experience expert Wed, 09 Dec 2020 13:32:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.3 https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/cropped-icon-01-32x32.png Fifty Five and Five https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com 32 32 Episode #2 of our podcast: How we did it. The inside scoop on the Microsoft Partner Top 50 https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/episode-2-of-our-podcast-how-we-did-it-the-inside-scoop-on-the-microsoft-partner-top-50/ Wed, 09 Dec 2020 13:32:10 +0000 https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/?p=44923 For the last six years, Fifty Five and Five have produced an annual inbound marketing excellence report, celebrating the marketing efforts of organisations across the Microsoft Partner Network. In this episode we speak to Fifty Five and Five’s Barnaby Ellis (Head of Creative) and Stephen Reilly (Head of Content), about the release of the new […]

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For the last six years, Fifty Five and Five have produced an annual inbound marketing excellence report, celebrating the marketing efforts of organisations across the Microsoft Partner Network. In this episode we speak to Fifty Five and Five’s Barnaby Ellis (Head of Creative) and Stephen Reilly (Head of Content), about the release of the new Top 50 website, the transformation from hard copy report to a digital website. We also discuss the origins of the Top 50, from a piece of marketing in its own right to a solution that helps partners of all sizes improve their inbound marketing.

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The power of negative thinking https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/the-power-of-negative-thinking/ Fri, 04 Dec 2020 16:49:52 +0000 https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/?p=44856 One of the worst-kept secrets of the B2B writing world is that persona-writing is everybody’s favourite job. Fleshing out this ‘semi-fictionalised’ outline of our target audience is a unique opportunity to bring a little bit of fantasy and creativity to the writing process – and we love it.   Not too long ago, I found […]

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One of the worst-kept secrets of the B2B writing world is that persona-writing is everybody’s favourite job. Fleshing out this ‘semi-fictionalised’ outline of our target audience is a unique opportunity to bring a little bit of fantasy and creativity to the writing process – and we love it.

 

Not too long ago, I found myself once again living my best life writing about Brenda, the absurdly overachieving CIO of a multinational corporation. Brenda was the kind of person everybody wanted to know. Her technical knowhow was first rate, her management skills incomparable – she knew exactly what was needed to be ‘ahead of the curve’, and she was wasting no time in getting there. Brenda, in a word was perfect – and that was exactly the problem. In a moment, my marketers’ fantasy was shattered as I realised I’d fallen into the classic writers’ trap: My persona was a Mary Sue.


Mary who?

‘Mary Sue’ is a term used by writers to describe a character who’s unnaturally and infuriatingly perfect. She’s a staple of internet fanfiction and young adult novels; a character with unnatural talents, beauty, ingenuity – and usually far younger than anyone with her skills and experience is likely to be. Once you know what to look for, you’ll start seeing Mary everywhere.

Brenda was textbook Mary Sue. She’s nothing like a real CIO; she’s a personified pastiche of various absurd B2B marketing clichés. I was being too positive about my character – to the extent where it barely resembled the target audience at all. Luckily it didn’t take much tweaking to tone Brenda down a bit – but I’d learned something valuable in the process.

There’s such a thing as too perfect

When creating personas – and indeed all marketing content, it’s easy to fall into this mindset of overly-idealising your ‘ideal’ audience. When your perfect persona looks nothing like your actual buyer, the marketing material you create will struggle to chime with the real audience’s priorities, pain points and challenges.

As marketers, we like to live in the world of positivity. Our job is to explain to the world why our clients’ products are great. But good marketing needs to have a basis in reality if it has any hope of communicating with the real people that are going to read it. Sometimes, a little negativity can help bring your Mary Sue personas back down to earth.

What does your customer actually want?

A little pessimistic thinking can go a long way in aligning yourself with your customer’s priorities. This is particularly the case when selling technology. Poor B2B writing usually features several clichés, revolving around innovation, digital transformation and the dreaded ‘ahead of the curve’.

These things aren’t strictly wrong, but they’re abstract, and they don’t really chime with the very tangible priorities of your target audiences. A client once put it to me in terms I could never beat: “my people don’t really give a fig about digital transformation, they just want their buggers to do their time sheets”. Applying a little strategic negative thinking can help you better understand the wants, challenges and pain points of the people you’re trying to sell to.

Improve the content you’re creating

But it’s not just about better understanding your audience. Being critical is also a vital part of understanding more about the work you’re creating and whether or not it’s up to scratch.

In any industry and profession, it’s easy to fall into the habit of patting yourself on the back, rather than forcing yourself to engage with the reasons your marketing material might not hit the mark. Is it too jargony? Too dense and overcomplicated? Is it too focused on how great you and your product are rather than engaging with the priorities of the reader? These are easy traps to fall into – we’ve all been there. But by putting yourself in the shoes of your reader and thinking critically, you can force yourself to get out of this habit – and your readers will thank you for it.

Sometimes controversial is ok

Being blithely uncontroversial is another positivity trap that marketers often fall into. It’s easy to justify not being offensive. But there’s a danger that in seeking to offend nobody, you also end up engaging roughly the same number of people. Sometimes, a little tactically-placed controversy can give you something unique to say, letting you speak a different language from your competitors.

To put this into practice, let’s pretend we’re marketing a videoconferencing app, which we’ll call WeTalkr. The inoffensively uncontroversial way of promoting the software could go something like this:

“WeTalkr allows you to seamlessly catch up with your colleagues any time and any place.”

There’s nothing wrong with this. But let’s be honest; it’s a little bland. Realistically, every competitor is going to be saying roughly the same thing. Why not try this instead:

“We know virtual meetings can be a faff. Are you tired of wasting ten minutes at the start of every meeting fiddling with cables and sound settings? Check out WeTalkr – for meetings that you actually want to attend.”

If you look beneath the surface, the second one isn’t all that different to the first. There’s nothing particularly offensive there, either. But by taking just a little extra risk and engaging with the less-than-perfect reality of your customers’ real lives, you can start to create content that’s better targeted to your reader, and better differentiated from your competitors. And, after all – isn’t that every marketer’s ultimate goal?

Creating content that really sings

Of course, there’s a line between a bit of well-placed negativity and being straight-up unpleasant – which isn’t going to impress anyone. It’s not always easy to work out where the sweet spot is for you and the people you’re speaking to, but it is possible. And sometimes, a bit of tactical negative thinking can help get started.

 

If you need some help getting your marketing to relate, resonate and really sing to your real-life audience – get in touch with the team today.  

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How to write an awesome creative brief https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/how-to-write-an-awesome-creative-brief/ Fri, 27 Nov 2020 10:56:21 +0000 https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/?p=44740 Don’t have time to read? Listen to this blog post instead. Let us know what you think. Over the years, we’ve responded to a fair few creative brief processes. Like all agencies, we’ve won some and lost some. But the true value of the experience comes down to what we’ve learned from the process. That’s […]

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Don’t have time to read? Listen to this blog post instead. Let us know what you think.


Over the years, we’ve responded to a fair few creative brief processes. Like all agencies, we’ve won some and lost some. But the true value of the experience comes down to what we’ve learned from the process. That’s why we’ve put together this article on the value of writing a collaborative creative brief (sometimes referred to as pitch brief, the language often depends on the project and the client).


A creative brief confession  

Now we could say that winning new business is 100% down to the awesome people at Fifty Five and Five, but that wouldn’t be strictly true. Our most successful proposals have been the result of clients that have been entirely open and fully supportive of a collaborative process to get the best outcome.

Whether you’re a client looking for a new agency, or an agency wanting to improve your pitch-win ratio, this article provides advice for both sides of the fence.

We’ve boiled it down to several key aspects that make up the best type of client-agency partnerships when it comes to a creative brief:

  • Research
  • Transparency
  • Collaboration
  • Evaluation and feedback

With that in mind, let’s start exploring how to make the pitch experience a win-win for all.

Do your research

Client: Finding the right talent, chemistry and shared culture and values with an agency is no easy task. Do your research – know who you want to pitch for your business. Find the experts in your field. For example, Fifty Five and Five is a perfect fit for a B2B tech brand. A bit of time spent here will save effort later weeding our agencies that were never going to fit.

Agency: It makes no sense to say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. Inevitably, you’ll end up overstretching your teams, ignoring your existing clients and creating a culture of pitch complacency. Have a scorecard that you evaluate briefs against, and if the results show that you’re not a good fit, take a pass. This is not a sign of weakness; it’s sensible business decision-making. When you get to the creative brief, a good scorecard process will set you up for success.

Be transparent

Client: What are the motivating reasons behind bringing in an agency? What do you and your stakeholders want (vs. what you actually “need”), and how will you communicate this in the creative brief? When it comes to deliverables, think about how you want to run the process and be realistic with your timings and budget.

Agency: If you can’t deliver the scope of work within the timescales or budget, be straight with the client. They’ll appreciate your honesty and directness, even if it may not be an easy conversation. Share your reasons and discuss whether there’s an alternative solution. Don’t ignore your instincts or sacrifice learnings from past experiences just to win the business. It never ends well.

Collaboration is key to a good creative brief

Client: It’s really not worth keeping your cards close to your chest; sharing data (from campaign performance to customer insights) will help agencies shape their strategic response to your brief. It also makes a huge difference when you give them ample opportunities to ask questions.

Agency: Why not offer your client the chance to feed back on your ideas and co-create? It’s an excellent opportunity to showcase your culture, ways of working and compatibility. At Fifty Five and Five, we offer a one-hour problem-solving workshop as part of our approach to new business.

Evaluation and feedback

Client: It can be challenging to evaluate proposals if you don’t have clear criteria, especially if there’s more than one person involved in the decision-making process. Sharing how you plan to score proposals can help agencies ensure they deliver a balanced response, focusing on the same areas that matter to you. Try to include this stuff up front in your creative brief.

Agency: Like after a job interview, make sure you push for feedback – whether you win or lose. It’s essential to learn from every new business opportunity and find ways to apply those learnings in the future. It also allows you to continue a relationship with the client because you never know when there might be a second chance.

 

If you are looking for a new agency, and have an an awesome brief (or want someone to help you write it)get in touch with the team today.  

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Episode #1 of our podcast: Microsoft Partner Top 50 edition with Nick Rameka of LiveTiles https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/episode-1-of-our-podcast-microsoft-partner-top-50-edition-with-nick-rameka-of-livetiles/ Fri, 20 Nov 2020 17:11:35 +0000 https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/?p=44643 In this episode we speak to Nick Rameka, the CMO at LiveTiles, about brand evolution, pandemic priorities and marketing advice for other Microsoft partners. LiveTiles are a maverick marketing voice in the Microsoft Partner Network, and we were delighted to get his take on the marketing landscape in such a tumultuous year. Nick reveals the […]

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In this episode we speak to Nick Rameka, the CMO at LiveTiles, about brand evolution, pandemic priorities and marketing advice for other Microsoft partners. LiveTiles are a maverick marketing voice in the Microsoft Partner Network, and we were delighted to get his take on the marketing landscape in such a tumultuous year. Nick reveals the content marketing trends he sees coming around the corner and what remote working practices we can expect to stick as we try to put 2020 behind us.

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Marketing in the Black Mirror: Our industry’s sci-fi (near) future https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/marketing-in-the-black-mirror-our-industrys-sci-fi-near-future/ Fri, 13 Nov 2020 17:00:20 +0000 https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/?p=44544 I’m a massive, unashamed sci-fi geek. I went to the Blade Runner Secret Cinema, I just got a replica (replicant?) of Deckard’s whiskey glass, I can’t wait to see Katsuhiro Ōtomo’s Akira in pin-sharp 4K, and if any technological development that’s vaguely cyberpunk turns up in the news, I’ll be the first to exclaim ‘William Gibson predicted that!’. I love this stuff.   So, I often look at the world through the lens of […]

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I’m a massive, unashamed sci-fi geek. I went to the Blade Runner Secret Cinema, I just got a replica (replicant?) of Deckard’s whiskey glass, I can’t wait to see Katsuhiro Ōtomo’s Akira in pin-sharp 4K, and if any technological development that’s vaguely cyberpunk turns up in the news, I’ll be the first to exclaim ‘William Gibson predicted that!’. I love this stuff.  

So, I often look at the world through the lens of speculative fiction (the ‘literature of cognitive estrangement’, as academic Darko Suvin put it) and apply this kind of speculation and extrapolation to all kinds of things in everyday life. That includes aspects of my work, our industry, and so on. ‘What do you mean by that?’, you may rightly ask.

Recently, I was creating a marketing persona for a project, inventing an imaginary sales lead from the clay of research and experience, and something struck me:  One day, AI will be doing this for me. What will that be like?

And that thought led me down the rabbit-hole.


Making fake people from real data 

We live in a time when more data is created and recorded, covering more aspects of our lives, than ever before. It’s already being used in all manners of ways – from the recommendation systems of Amazon and Netflix to deciding whether you’re a safe bet to borrow money.  

And, as our burgeoning digital lives increasingly blur with our physical onesalongside the growth of the Internet of Things and devices like Alexa, this big data is only going to become bigger. That will provide those that hold it with deeper and more intricate insights into who we are. What once may have been a relatively shallow and generic impression of a customer now has the potential to become really nuanced – to the extent that a buyer persona becomes a buyer simulation. But why does that interest me so much? 

It’s alive!  

As a marketing writer, there’s a tendency to become attached to the personas you createIt’s an imaginative act, after all, and imaginative acts are inherently interesting and enjoyable. When you’re inventing a person, with their name, professional and educational history, along with numerous other incidental details, they begin to take on a life of their own. You could be forgiven for thinking things like Ah, classic Persona! Of course they’d do that. When you start inventing significant others, families and pets for them, it’s time to click ‘Save’ and step away from the computer. In every marketing persona, there’s the seed of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (the first sci-fi novel of alland, before that, the Prometheus myth: “It’s alive!”. 

But devising comprehensive personas and delving into the lives and mindsets of possible customers isn’t only an enjoyable part of marketing work – it’s vital for engaging and connecting with your audienceAnd who knows how much more valuable it can be when AI (our digital Igoris using today’s data goldmine to help with the creationThe possibilities are strange, maybe a little unnerving at times, but ultimately highly intriguing. 

Fact is quickly catching up with fiction 

In an early episode of Black Mirror (season two, episode one: ‘Be Right Back’)Domhnall Gleeson’s character Ash is killed in a car accident. OK, this article’s taken a dark turn, but stay with me. His grieving partner Martha, played by the excellent Hayley Atwell, signs up for an online service that builds a new virtual Ash out of all the data floating around, including social posts and other digital communications. He/it is very, very accurate.  

I won’t spoil what happens next (apologies if I’ve already revealed too much) as it’s a bloody good episode. But you see where I’m going with this. What could marketers do with this kind of technology? And the central idea behind the story – building a synthetic person out of all the data they emit simply through existing today – isn’t just science fiction. It’s closer than you think.  

Be Right Back aired in 2013, and as I always say, tech years are like dog years. The previous decade might as well be 50 years ago, and as we hurtle toward the singularity at ever-increasing breakneck speed, what was once a strange future is quickly becoming our strange now.  

 Do synthetic personas dream of electric sheep? 

Development of synthetic buyer personas is already well underway, with some companies already mooting market-ready solutions. Such is the depth of the data and sophistication of systems that there are even elements of personality-based marketing entering the equation. This has the potential to provide even richer insight into how customers really ‘tick’. How risk adverse is Persona as an individualWhich psychological motivators are at work here? What would Persona’s instinctual reaction be to X or Y? Would Persona respond more positively to this analogy or design choice as opposed to that one?  

Personally, I’m eager to see what will happen when today’s highly advanced chatbot technologies, such as Pandorabots’ Mitsuki, are thrown into the mix. Imagine having a full-blown conversation with a buyer persona – on their virtual lunchbreakperhaps (insert old tech joke about ‘having a byte to eat’). What would a focus group be like, conducted with a (chat)room full of synthetic subjects? These are questions that I think (and hope) will probably be answered soon enough.  

The machines have been busy  

This is only one area of marketing where AI is making itself useful. For some time now, it’s also been helping to manage and optimise pay-per-click (PPC) advertisingpersonalise website experiences and email marketing, and predict customer churn – which is extremely valuable for Software-as-a-Service companies, among others 

If you can think of an aspect of marketing, chances are ‘there’s an AI for that’, able to help us make better choices, speed up processes, and do what we do more effectively. There is even the prospect that one day, design and content may become SUPER responsive, personalised and dynamic – to the extent that no two people see the same website. Or even the same website twice. Everything from the style and tone to the user experience would be perfectly curated for you and you alone, at that moment in time, by a very smart machine.  

AI can already write (to an extentand assist with designWhat’s further down that road? Will writers like me someday become AI’s editors? Will designers and developers become their art/technical directors? Could you one day even engage the services of a digital agency that’s literally a digital agency?  These are all pretty dizzying concepts for someone who cut their copywriting teeth on old-school banner ads and still hasn’completely gotten over the death of FlashBut, again, they’re very intriguing thoughts – for me, for Fifty Five and Five, for our clients, and for the industry as a whole 

The spark of human creativity 

With the universe of possibilities around synthetic buyer personas, and the growth of AI-powered marketing in general, you’d think I’d be little worried about someday becoming obsolete. “Hire a human marketing writer? That’s so 2020…” Replaced by the Machine in the Grey Flannel SuitBut I’m a firm believer in the spark of human creativity and ingenuity. So, at the risk of coming across like Neo or John Connor: I believe we’ll triumph over the machines. 

Machines can gather the data. They can collect and corral it in huge quantities, analyse it and make it available in a form we can comprehend. But they’re not yet able to make the intuitive connections and creative decisions, the subtle leaps of understanding and insight, that make great marketing that really resonates with other humans. Ultimately, we know us better than computers do – even with all the data in the worldBut AI certainly can – and will – give us a lot of help

If you’d like to discuss how Fifty Five and Five can help you target your audience more effectively and ensure your digital marketing is firing on all cylinders, get in touch with the team today.  

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What is a Google core algorithm update – and why should you care? https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/what-is-a-google-core-algorithm-update-and-why-should-you-care/ Fri, 06 Nov 2020 17:35:44 +0000 https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/?p=44448 Every so often the world’s content creators and SEO specialists become suddenly impassioned by what’s known as a ‘core algorithm update’. These happen a few times a year and can have a significant effect on a web page’s Google rankings. But what is a core algorithm update? And more importantly – is it really something you should care about?   Algorithms, updates and rankings  An algorithm update […]

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Every so often the world’s content creators and SEO specialists become suddenly impassioned by what’s known as a core algorithm update. These happen a few times a year and can have a significant effect on a web page’s Google rankings. But what is a core algorithm update? And more importantly – is it really something you should care about?  

Algorithms, updates and rankings 

An algorithm update means Google has made a significant tweak to the way they determine search engine result rankings. Admittedly, these can be quite small. But for the world’s biggest search engine, small changes can make a big difference to people who rely on their search engine results pages (SERPs) to generate leads.  

Google algorithm updates happen all the time. In fact, even referring to the Google algorithm in the singular it a bit disingenuous – the truth is it’s a complicated web of loosely related algorithms which has been in a near constant state of flux since Google first got going. Keeping track of all that is a fairly tall order, because updates happen virtually every day. Luckily for SEO professionals, most of these are relatively minor and no cause for alarm 


OK, so what’s
 a core algorithm update? 
 

Core updates aren’t just your run-of-the-mill minor adjustments. As the name would suggest, this is a change to the fundamental algorithm that powers the Google search engine. It’s easy to see why these updates happen – if you’re in charge of the world’s most popular search engine, you’re going to want to make sure it responds to changes in how people write, post and read content over time. So far, so understandable.  

The problem is, algorithm updates are a bit like dropping a large fishing net into the middle of an ocean – there’s no clear cut line between the content you want to catch and the stuff you’d rather leave where it is 

That means whenever one of these core algorithms turns up, several wellmeaning bystanders tend to get caught in the net. Virtually every core algorithm update comes complete with horror stories of businesses whose rankings change dramatically overnight. It’s also why these updates tend to make SEO folks pretty stressed.  

But how can we tell when a core algorithm update has happened – or even better, when it’s on the way? 

 

How to spot a wild core algorithm update 

Unlike the smaller everyday updates, core algorithm updates tend to get a lot of attention. Sometimes Google announces them in advance, sometimes they announce it on the day (generally via Twitter), and sometimes they keep it to themselves. The bigger the bombshell, the bigger the publicity and the bigger the splash it’ll make throughout the SEO world.   

If you want to find out what’s changing, it’s helpful to follow the Google Search Liaison account on Twitter, as well as paying attention to blogs like Hubspot and SearchMetrics – (and, of course, Fifty Five and Five…) who are generally pretty quick to spot these changes. 

Sometimes, Google will publish guidance on who these changes are likely to effect and what the ramifications are likely to be. Other times, they prefer to keep tight lipped and see if anyone notices. Their search engine, their rules. Naturally, this makes it pretty difficult to keep up of what changes are coming and when.  

The only definite way to limit the damage of such changes is through regular and thorough SEO auditing. That way, if there’s a big change to the SEO rankings of your content you can quickly see what’s affected, identify the trends and take positive steps to mitigate any damage. But as well as this, the type of content you create makes a huge difference.  

 

What pandas can teach us about SEO 

About a decade ago, Google decided that they’d had enough of ‘content farms’. Such website were filled with realms of low value, keyword-stuffed content that made it onto page one of the search results through black hat SEO trickery – without providing much value to their readers. Google described such content as being “as close as possible to being spam, without actually being spam”. An update was clearly in order.  

The idea behind the update, known as Panda, was to make search results better match the intent of their users. But what does that mean in practice? And what can we learn from that almost a decade later? 

Well, imagine you want to find out more about a topic such as, for example, Google core algorithm updates, and type “What is a core algorithm update?” into the search engine. Which of the two following articles would you say best matches your search intent? 

  • A detailed breakdown of the context and background to Google core algorithm updates, as well as an explanation as to what it means to you. 
  • An article with virtually no relevant informationwhich just happens to have the words “what is a core algorithm update” strategically placed all over the page to game the SEO rankings.  

Well I hope it’s the first one, anyway.  

The point is, the lowvalue, keywordstuffed content might have been successful at gaining a temporary SEO boost, but it wasn’t really what readers were looking when they typed in the search term. Eventually, the rules were always going to catch up.  

 

Content that stands the test of time 

This game of cat and mouse has been going on since the earliest days of search – and isn’t likely to change any time soon. As long as search engines exist, there will always be people looking to game the system. But content that seeks to fulfill the user’s search intent has consistently managed to stay on the right side of the fishing net, for the clear and obvious reason that it’s precisely the kind of content that Google is trying to promote.  

If you’re writing content that’s genuinely valuable and satisfies the search intent of the people reading it, it’s highly likely you’ll be able to handle whatever spanners the gods of search throw in the worksSo, if you want to avoid getting caught out by the latest core update, the one helpful piece of advice is the only thing you can rely on Google to tell you every time an update happens: Write good content.  

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The nine circles of content marketing ideas hell  https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/the-nine-circles-of-content-marketing-ideas-hell/ Fri, 30 Oct 2020 10:15:25 +0000 https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/?p=44353 Do you ever feel like you are living the same day over and over? If you’re in charge of your organisation’s content marketing ideas, there’s a chance you might feel like you’re stuck in a type of creative purgatory. Content marketing has become ubiquitous. Everyone is ‘doing’ it. Your competitors are doing it, which means you have to do it. And because it’s a ‘must have’, it means if you’re not careful it could become a rote, meaningless, box-ticking […]

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Do you ever feel like you are living the same day over and over? If you’re in charge of your organisation’s content marketing ideas, there’s a chance you might feel like you’re stuck in a type of creative purgatory. Content marketing has become ubiquitous. Everyone is ‘doing’ it. Your competitors are doing it, which means you have to do it. And because it’s a ‘must have’, it means if you’re not careful it could become a rote, meaningless, box-ticking exercise. And if we live our lives simply ticking boxes, we could begin to lose meaning…do you ever feel like you are living the same day over… 

This article covers the cycles of repeated content marketing ideas and mistakes you can all-too-easily doom yourself to if you are not careful.  

 

1. Constant wandering  

In a marketing context, ‘wandering’ means acting without a plan. Creating and deploying content just because you feel you should, instead of having a clear idea of exactly what it should achieve, or who it should be ‘for’ is likely to be a waste of your time and marketing budget. 

Instead of endless, costly wandering, embark on your grand adventure with a map – a well-defined marketing strategyIt will set out where you are, where you need to go, and the best way to get there. If you need a hand with that, the keen cartographers at Fifty Five and Five have created an end-to-end-guide to marketing strategies to help with your mapmaking.  

However, even your best attempt at a marketing strategy will probably fail if you’re 

 

2. Lacking vision 

Your marketing budget may not extend to teaching the world to sing or hiring Oscar-winning director Ridley Scott, but that’s no reason to resign yourself to just one format. Think outside the blog. Blog posts are the foundation of many a good content marketing strategy, but they’re just that: a foundation, not the whole house.  

So, you’ve taken the time and effort to create blog content that aligns with your marketing aims. Is your email marketing and social media driving traffic to these posts? OK, that’s the start of a joined-up digital marketing strategy. But what if the blog content wasn’t the end of their journey? What if those articles, in turn, were driving traffic to an eBook, infographic or whitepaper? Or even an animation or video or a podcast?  

All the above could be gated assets’, prompting the user to provide contact details before they’re accessed. That allows you to capture contact information to reach out to leads or continue providing them content. Blog posts are just one tool in your digital marketing arsenal – think bigger and consider all the methods at your disposal.  

 

3. Ignorance 

Understanding all the digital marketing possibilities is one thing. But you also need to understand your audience – targeting your content toward the right people, in the right wayOtherwise you’ve got ‘all the gear but no idea’Think about who you’re aiming to attract: 

  • What’s their typical job title?  
  • What might their professional (and educational) background be?  
  • What’s their organisation’s likely size and industry?  
  • Which specific business problems are they trying to solve?  
  • What factors are likely to persuade – or dissuade – them?  
  • Do they prefer Oasis or Blur? 

Researching and developing in-depth customer personasand putting yourself in their shoes and their mindsets, is crucial to knowing and really reaching your audience. What type of rhetoric will they respond to? Are they fact-heads’? Do they wear their decisions on their sleeves? Or is your character or ethical behaviours the most important factor?   

 

4. Boredom 

Your content should provide valueIt should be useful and informative to your audience, and it should present your business as a good choice for their custom, a thought-leader in your field, or simply a helpful, friendly standout voice in a crowded marketplace.  

You’ve established your content’s purpose, the forms it should take, and who you want it to speak to. Now, you have to make sure those people want to listen. Otherwise, it’s all for nothing – and you’ve come too far, conquering three circles of content marketing hell, to fail now. At this pointa lot is riding on your storytelling 

This is where your research and strategy will need to pay off. It helps you cut through the noise and reach potential customers with relevant and interesting information that grabs and holds their interest and resonates with them. And it’s also a matter of craft. Just like a well-made website or image, well-written marketing content takes time and skill. Underestimating that, or generally failing to ensure content is engaging, is a sure-fire recipe for failure.  

 

5. Unrealistic expectations 

It’s fair to expect results from your marketing content, but patience is a virtue and impatience can very easily be your ruin. Beware of expecting too much, too soon, and giving up because these expectations aren’t met.  

Some organisations see content marketing merely in terms of one-shot campaigns where certain content assets either deliver easily quantified results within a certain time or they don’tThis ignores the subtleties of the brand/buyer relationship, wherein a reader may not simply be persuaded to get in touch and sign a contract after reading one (albeit really good) eBook or blog post.  

Instead, think in terms of curating content, a digital presence, and a relationship with your audience. That’s why it’s called lead nurturing – it’s not a fishing trip where you’ll hook or net a wealth of leads ione outingIt’s a garden to be cultivated. Don’t become disheartened if it doesn’t bear fruit right away.  

 

6. Worshipping false idols 

By that, I mean the great and allpowerful Google. Don’t get me wrong – SEO is a very necessary part of ensuring a good harvest of website traffic. But sacrificing everything to please the Almighty Search Engine is a mistake too many make.  

Letting SEO alone dictate the direction of your content is fraught with peril. It’s painfully obvious if every article on your blog is framed around hot search term. That’s especially true if these articles don’t really resonate with readers at the right level and on the right topics. For example, if you’re a Microsoft reseller creating content around the Office suite, writing an article called ‘What is Excel?’ or ‘How to write an Excel formula” isn’t going to impart a sense of thought-leadership and expertise, or bring in the right kind of site traffic – in this case business decision-makers rather than end-users looking for help with spreadsheets 

And on a line-by-line level, in your eagerness to search-optimise your content, you could find yourself crowbarring in every keyword under the sun. ‘Keyword salad’ isn’t palatable to any reader and visible to even the untrained eye. Subtlety and restraint are your friends here. Tick the boxes for Google without putting off your human readers. After all, it’s their approval you really want in the end.  

 

7. Gluttony 

You know what I said about lacking vision earlier? The opposite can also doom your content marketing to failureTrying to do too much and spreading your efforts too thinly could land you in a mess and mean none of your content achieves the impact you want it to.  

Bombarding your audience with a mass of emails, social posts and blog articles means the things you really need to stand out won’t. ‘If everything’s important, nothing is’. In an already noisy marketplace, you could just be adding to the static instead of offering decisive clarity.  

This is once again where the value of a solid, well-defined content marketing strategy comes to the fore. When all your content and other interactions with your audience have a clear purpose and fit into your overall marketing plan, nothing’s fighting against anything else and everything’s working as it should do. Otherwise your prospective customers will find it all hard to digest.  

 

8. Fraud 

In Dante’s epic, this circle of hell contains hypocrites, flatterers, falsifiers and thieves among others. It also includes fortune tellers – not sure what Signore Alighieri would have thought of predictive analytics and data scientists, but perhaps that’s a topic for another article.  

Unlike its 14th century predecessor, this circle of content marketing hell focuses less on the act of being fraudulent and more on the appearance of it: in other words, selling too hard. You know your product or service is great and you want to shout its benefits from the rooftops – that’s only natural. But you don’t want to appear too insistent or even desperate. 

Your audience is shrewd and if you’re too overt and pushy in your efforts to get their custom, you’ll turn them off quicker than you can say ‘buy now!’ Don’t be the salesman at the cocktail party, as the old expression goes. Once again, have some subtlety and be sure to provide something of value. That way they’ll trust you, your business and your offering.  

 

9. Being too bound to process 

Our final circle might seem to contradict all I’ve said before about strategy and focus but hear me out. Planning and awareness of what you’re doing goes a long way. It’s good to have a sense of purpose, but take the occasional leap, too.  

Go off-piste. Write that off-topic article that doesn’t necessarily promote this or that service but demonstrates passion and insight into your industry. Sticking too rigidly to the schedule might also mean you miss out on making the most of a big topic or breaking news. Surprise your audience and try to keep things fresh (that’s also how you build an audience)Otherwise, they might feel like they’re stuck in purgatory themselves. 

 


Your content marketing could be a delight. Instead, it’s likely a bit underwhelming. We’re not criticising. It’s hard to execute content marketing really well. Because usually it’s a task that’s part of a juggling act with other tasks. It’s a box to be ticked. If only you could devote more time and resource! Well, hopefully this article helped you give it a bit more thought. If  need help improving your content marketing ideas get in touch with us and together we can create something beautiful

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The art of seduction: your brand tone of voice is your secret weapon https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/the-art-of-seduction-your-brand-tone-of-voice-is-your-secret-weapon/ Fri, 23 Oct 2020 16:06:04 +0000 https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/?p=44267 You have probably given a lot of thought to how your business looks. From your website to the murals on the walls in the office, when it comes to visual representation of a brand, companies put serious time and effort into their looks. But have you given much thought to how you sound? The way […]

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You have probably given a lot of thought to how your business looks. From your website to the murals on the walls in the office, when it comes to visual representation of a brand, companies put serious time and effort into their looks. But have you given much thought to how you sound? The way you express yourself as a business is made up of more than just your colour scheme. Beauty is only skin deep. Personality goes right to the bone. If you attract your audience with design, your brand tone of voice is how you seduce them. In this post, you will learn:

  • It is appropriate for your specific audience
  • Helps you stand out
  • It’s a trust builder
  • Helps you go from prospect to customer

Get your personality across

Even when you know exactly what your business’s strengths are, they won’t come through unless your brand voice is engaging. Way back when, Marketing Week reported that in the B2B sphere, emotive marketing messages works better than rational marketing messaging—and that hasn’t changed much in the intervening years. This is interesting when you might assume that B2B is all about rational decision making.

An engaging brand tone of voice is what generates emotive messaging. It’s what engages your audience. So, let’s look at how you go about making sure your organisation is expressing itself consistently and in a way that ‘fits’.

Get everyone on the same page

If you’re going to stay consistent, you need to have everyone within your business on board. From marketers to your CEO, everyone must understand your voice, or at least know that you have one. If not, it won’t come through in everything you put out there.

What to do –

Get the important people together. Host workshops where you can discuss your brand voice and get input from different areas of your business. It’s only when you start discussing ideas that you’ll find out that people can interpret ‘friendly’ as different things – and you need to iron out those creases. Highlighting what you’re trying to achieve will help everyone understand why you are doing this in the first place, and help ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Tune into your values

Your business should have brand values (if not, that’s a bigger conversation). Your values should help guide your business decisions both internally and externally, and logically it should also inform your brand voice.

What to do –

Look at your brand values and see how they translate into a personality. If transparency is one of your brand values, then your business prioritises honesty, clarity and getting right to the point. That translates to a straight-forward, honest brand voice.

If you’ve chosen integrity as a brand value, this signals that your business cares about making responsible decisions and going the extra mile to help customers. Your brand voice should be helpful and trustworthy.

This act of translation is how you create a tone of voice that’s tailored to your business, your brand and your audience.



Write brand voice guidelines and stick to them

It’s easy enough to create a brand voice document and think that because you’ve created it, you’re automatically creating marketing materials in your brand voice. Consistency really is key. When multiple people are creating different materials, it can be hard to remember how to ensure that your brand voice comes through. That’s why you need a set of simple guidelines that will make it easy.

What to do –

It doesn’t have to be complicated or long – think of it as defining a character or persona that you’ll be able to inhabit:

Our brand voice is uplifting; we always look on positive side of life. We’re friendly and warm, making sure that everyone who interacts with our business comes away feeling optimistic. To keep things simple, our brand voice uses the simplest and clearest language possible.

Your guidelines should tell this person’s story and explain their voice in a way that makes it easy for anyone to understand. Keep these guidelines up to date and revise them when your business makes any changes to the way you operate. They’ll be the thing that keeps your identity constant even as you grow and change.

 

Fifty Five and Five is a digital marketing agency with a lot of really talented storytellers. We’ve been creating brand voices that get results for years now – if you’re not confident that you know where to start, we’d be more than happy to give you a hand. Get in touch today.

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6 digital marketing technologies to help you raise your game https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/digital-marketing-technologies/ Mon, 05 Oct 2020 07:48:49 +0000 https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/?p=44036 Technology has permeated every aspect of our lives, from the way we communicate to the way we shop. Marketing has become an art that’s primarily digital. No matter what you’re selling, and to whom, technology can improve the quality of your marketing output and, ultimately, help you generate more leads. In this post, we’re going to examine the current […]

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Technology has permeated every aspect of our lives, from the way we communicate to the way we shop. Marketing has become an art that’s primarily digital. No matter what you’re selling, and to whom, technology can improve the quality of your marketing output and, ultimately, help you generate more leads. In this post, we’re going to examine the current state of six digital marketing technologies, and how you can use them to raise your game. 

  • Social media 
  • Paid media 
  • SEO 
  • Email 
  • Reporting 
  • Training 

You already use all of these technologies, right? Well, let us blow your mind.  

Social media  

Social media can be used to build your brand identity, to reach out to your existing customers and to find new audiences. It can be used for thought leadership, to enhance your SEO rankings and as a direct channel for people to interact with your brand. Most organisations already know this, but they invest hours in social media management without having a good idea of how to get return on investment.  

The key to using social media is knowing what you’re using it for. Are you looking to create brand awareness? Then that goal needs to inform the way you use social media – you need to target your audience, create relevant content and maintain a strong brand.  

What tools to use and why? 

If you’re looking for greater visibility over your social channels, detailed insights about what is does or doesn’t work or greater control over publishing posts through automation and scheduling, these tools can transform what’s possible with social media. If you want to produce quality posts that engage and grow your social following across multiple channels, then these tools are exactly what you need. 

Hootsuite is one of the most popular tools for enhancing your social media output. It supports over 150 integrations, allowing users to update multiple networks in one step. It’s also capable of analysing over 200 metrics, so you can create a dashboard that perfectly tracks your business’s goals . It’s the perfect first tool to get started when you’re investing in your social media management. 

Hootsuite’s dashboard 

Sprout Social is a social media scheduling, monitoring and reporting platform that offers a customer relationship manager (CRM) feature. This enables you to create profiles of your customers, which will lead to stronger relationships. When it comes to social media followers, it’s about quality over quantity: having many followers who don’t interact with your channel is less valuable than a few followers who do.   

Sprout Social’s CRM platform 

Revive Old Post is an excellent tool to get maximum impact from your content. It helps you schedule new and old content that can be automatically posted in regular intervals that targets your audience. Many businesses make the mistake of never reposting their content, but it’s essential to reshare content in order to improve its performance. This tool will help you create a schedule that works for you.  

Revive Old Post PRO 

Loomly isn’t just a social media management tool – it’s also an idea generation platform to help you create ideas that will resonate with your audience and tie in to current trends. It suggests ideas related to your industry, any holidays or national days that are close, trending hashtags, and more. You can even integrate it with Zapier so that your content generation and publication processes are entirely streamlined.  

Loomly’s post builder 

Having a social media channel is an excellent way of reaching new audiences and creating a recognisable brand. These social media tools represent just a fraction of what’s available on the market to help you make the most of your content and your social channels. Brands are going to be expected to keep up with social media and be present on an increasing amount of channels as times go on – best get started sooner rather than later.  

Paid media 

Paid media is an external marketing effort that involves a paid placement. This can include PPC advertising, branded content and display ads. It’s a crucial part of any marketing strategy: by picking the right platform and targeting the right demographic, paid media can ensure your message reaches the right audience. However, to do this you need the correct tools to track your campaigns. There are also great tools to help you develop a competitive strategy.  

What tools to use and why? 

Using a third party platform means you can extend visibility of your advert placements and find a larger audience. Your ROI needs to be optimal, which means a lot of planning and overseeing your long term strategy. A management platform simplifies the process, allowing you to target your audience more effectively and reduce your overall spend.  

There’s a great tool called SpyFu, which enables you to carry out PPC competitor research. Whether it’s a competitor’s estimated monthly spend, the keywords that they are targeting or how well their ads are ranking, SpyFu gives you insights to help put together a highly competitive campaign strategy . 

SEMrush is a popular paid media tool that offers an extensive keyword database. It makes building ads simple –using information about the ads posted by your competitors to ensure that they have the best chance of ROI. This chance for better audience targeting means your PPC campaigns will be more likely to succeed. 

SEMrush’s dashboard 

Leadpages is a tool that’s suited for smaller businesses who are looking to engage with their core audience on social media channels. It acts as a funnel, sending your target audience to a specific landing page designed for them. When it comes to social media followers it’s a case of quality over quantity – if you can engage with a small selection of more interested followers, your content is more likely to see conversions. It’s integrates with with Google Ads and Facebook Ads, so you can capture leads effectively and quickly.  

Leadpages’ dashboard 

PPC is an investment that takes research and precision to get right. Before intelligent digital marketing tools, it was simply a case of buying ads in places you thought your audience would see them and hoping for success. But now, with the amount of research and segmentation that’s possible, your business stands a much better chance of getting seen by the right people. 

SEO 

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is all about staying visible on search engine results pages. It feels like an arcane art sometimes because Google is forever changing its algorithms. Staying on top of these changes is hard enough but being able to adapt your SEO to these changes and stay ahead of competitors is the real challenge.  

What tools to use and why? 

Moz is a great bet for continued SEO success. Not only does it offer useful educational resources to keep on top of SEO best practice, but the Moz all-in-one SEO toolset provides the full range of capabilities that you need. It tracks desktop and mobile keyword ranking, allowing users to easily keep tabs on any and all active keywords. This intelligent keyword analysis is supported by other features like link building and opportunities, site audits, search visibility score and page insights. 

Moz’s dashboard 

DeepCrawl is a unique website crawling tool. It provides SEO auditing that shows you a deep dive of your site issues to assess your overall site health. With features like backlink tracking, device breakdowns, ad hoc keyword research and more, DeepCrawl puts you in a great position to begin improving your SEO from. It’s not a tool for keyword research or position monitoring, so it’s perfect for SEO newbies.  

Deepcrawl’s dashboard 

In today’s competitive online world, it’s not enough just to use SEO practices and hope you rank above competitors. You need to use the right tools to find the right online niches to occupy. Long tail keywords, in particular, have become a beacon of hope for small businesses hoping to rank on results pages. Taking SEO seriously means doing your digital research and picking the perfect keywords.  

Email 

Our email inboxes are awash with communications competing for our attention. With so much competition, you need to make sure you optimise your emails so they stand out from the crowd. Great email marketing isn’t just about open-rates but click-throughs and conversions. It’s not just about getting people to open your emails; you need to offer actual value.  

What tools to use and why? 

MailChimp is our tool of choice for sending out emails. MailChimp allows you to automate your email marketing with simple A/B testing, ready-to-use campaign templates and a simple email designer, so you can focus on the strategy to guarantee that your emails add value to the target audience. ‘MailChimp reports’ make it easy to track how successful your emails are at engaging with your audience, using advanced segmentation for precise targeting, distribution by time zone and comparative data reporting. 

Mailchimp’s dashboard 

SendinBlue is a digital marketing suite that includes an email marketing platform. It’s easy to build emails with a drag and drop editor, and it offers personalisation, data list segmentation, automation and analytics. The free version is more than enough to keep a small business going, offering unlimited contacts and up to 300 emails a day, so this is an ideal way to get started with email campaigns.  

Omnisend, as the name suggests, is an email marketing tools with omni-channel capacity. Within the automation workflow, you can add additional functions like push notifications and social media messages alongside your email campaigns. This is a wider approach to email marketing, incorporating it into targeted workflows that reach your audience using multiple personalised methods. It’s ideal if your marketing resources are stretched, giving you a single tool with plenty of functionality.  

Omnisend’s automation dashboard 

Email marketing is one of the core tools for a marketing team for a reason; it’s excellent at nurturing leads into customers. It also offers an opportunity to create a dialogue with your audience, sending them targeted updates and offers that’ll pique your interest. It’s a more one-on-one dynamic, and that means gauging the tone and the relationship between you and your audience correctly. The name of the game here is personalisation. 

Reporting 

40% of marketers said that demonstrating the ROI of their marketing activities is one of their greatest priorities. Marketing professionals are under pressure to prove that their campaigns are creating business value. These days, marketing is very much a numbers game. You need to be able to report back to the CSuite with hard evidence that your campaigns are working – otherwise the budget for your next social campaign will dry up. 

What tools to use and why? 

Most tools and platforms – from the social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to the dedicated-marketing tools like Hootsuite – offer in-depth analytics. Google Data Studio collects real-time data from YouTube, Google Ads and Google Analytics to help you create dynamic, interactive dashboards. It’s also compatible with multiple third party data sources like Twitter, MailChimp and Salesforce. Google Data Studio helps users put together reports that are fully customisable, easy to filter and easy to share.   

Google Data Studio’s dashboard 

However, for that added bit of magic to pull everything together, Google Analytics stands head and shoulders above the rest as a tool for measuring the bigger picture – particularly by monitoring traffic arriving on your website and how site users are behaving. Google’s machine learning capabilities mean that Google Analytics can generate insights you just can’t get anywhere else.  

Google Analytics dashboard 

Cyfe is a popular tool for marketers because of its comprehensive reporting. It tracks just about everything within your business, from social media to analytics, and sales to KPIs. There are more than 250 metrics available to measure, and it’s easy to integrate with other services like Google and Salesforce. The dashboard is fully configurable with pre-populated widgets that can be tailored to each marketer’s need. The reporting is all-encompassing across your business, so this is a great tool for businesses without much room for new tools.  

Cyfe’s dashboard 

Instead of thinking of reporting as the culmination of your efforts, you need to think about it as the way that you justify future investment in your marketing efforts. After all, management want to see results and return on investment – this is the best way to show that the tactics you’re using are successful, and that you have ideas about how to improve in future. Digital reporting tools are your best friend when it comes to innovation in your marketing efforts.  

Training 

In a sector where change is almost always constant – SEO is a great example of this – it is essential to keep on top of the latest marketing platforms. In this respect, to succeed in marketing you need to be a life-long learner. You need to be open to change and ready to pick up new skills all the time. 

What tools to use and why? 

There are several tools that can help you keep up with the latest digital marketing platforms and skills. LinkedIn Learning is a great example – with a wide range of professional courses and tutorial videos. There are courses for every level from beginner to expert, and even over 16,000 entirely free courses. From the technical aspects of PPC to the writing skills you need for engaging content, there’s a course here for everything.  

LinkedIn learning  

Another great example is the Partner Benchmarking Tool, a tool created by our team at Fifty Five and Five. Using a wide variety of metrics, you can rank your company’s marketing efforts across its social output, website and blog. Now the tool identifies where your marketing efforts are lacking and offers training through articles and videos to help you improve those areas. Check it out. 

Partner Benchmarking Tool dashboard 

Google Digital Garage also offers a fundamentals of digital marketing course that’s extensive enough for any beginner. After all, a lot of digital marketing is about working with Google, so why not go directly to the source for more information? It’s self-directed, with 26 modules coming in at around 40 hours, so it’s a handy way to get started for free. 

Keeping on top of your marketing education is essential – things are always going to change, and if you don’t keep up then you’ll get left behind. We like to think of training in marketing as a way of investing in the success of our future efforts.  

Why are digital marketing technologies important? 

There’s now such a wide range of applications to help B2B marketers that it can be hard to decide what your team requires. A recent BrightTALK study found that lack of resources such as staff, funding and time remains the biggest obstacle to successful B2B lead generation for 61% of respondents’. With that in mind, more marketers are going to rely on digital tools to streamline their marketing efforts. 

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer variety in the market, but the key is remembering what your business is trying to accomplish. Create a strategy and set goals – this will make it easier to identify features in tools that will be most beneficial to you. There are thousands of tools available, so make sure to create a list of the most beneficial services your business needs before you get started researching. 

We hope this guide can point you in the right direction to find the technology that your marketing team requires.  

 

At Fifty Five and Five, our expert marketing team use a variety of digital marketing technologies to help them deliver the best results for our clients. To find out more about our team, what we do, and the technologies we use, get in touch with us today.

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How to write for email campaign success and actually get results https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/email-campaign-success/ Wed, 30 Sep 2020 08:05:08 +0000 https://www.fiftyfiveandfive.com/?p=43978 When it comes to email campaign success, starting from scratch can be daunting. It’s predicted that we will be sending and receiving upwards of 347 billion daily emails by 2022. With all this noise, how could your emails even be noticed – never mind opened?  But there is a way. It’s about being simple, engaging and consistent. We’re going to share some straight-forward steps you can use right now to bring your email campaigns to life and enjoy actual […]

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When it comes to email campaign success, starting from scratch can be daunting. It’s predicted that we will be sending and receiving upwards of 347 billion daily emails by 2022. With all this noise, how could your emails even be noticed – never mind opened? 

But there is a way. It’s about being simple, engaging and consistent. We’re going to share some straight-forward steps you can use right now to bring your email campaigns to life and enjoy actual results—and good ones too. 

Identify the goals for your email campaign 

The first step in this process is identifying exactly why email should be your preferred option. The clearer your goal, the easier it will be to measure progress and results once the campaign has been executed.  

For example, goals for your campaign could include persuading recipients to: 

  • Download an eBook 
  • Sign up to a webinar 
  • Buy a specific product or service 

As well as provoking actions like these, campaign goals could also include: 

  • Getting recipients interested in your offerings 
  • Raising brand awareness for your business 
  • Re-engaging or nurturing current subscribers  

Once your goal is established, you can get started on defining your audience.  

Who’s reading these emails, anyway? 

Now, before diving into copy, you must first outline exactly who your emails will be seen by. If you’ve been doing email marketing for a while, you’ll no doubt already know who your audience is. But if you’re new to the scene, you’ll probably need to make a few educated guesses so you can tailor your content effectively.  

To do this, you can use Google Analytics to access data on demographics, interests, locations and so on. This will provide a snapshot of who your customers are and what they are interested in. 

The trick with successful emails is to make them personal. By segmenting your audience, it’s easier to send emails that at least feel personalised.

Curate effective emailfor your audience 

With your purpose and audience in mind, you’re all set to begin writingHere are a few simple pointers to keep in mind:  

  • Keep it short and sweet 

When taking into account the sheer volume of emails sent and received every day, it’s important that your copy is engaging. Avoid wafflekeep to the subject and add value 

  • Provide clear and obvious value 

If you only send promotional emails, your readers will likely lose interest. Keep them interested by outlining how your business or product can benefit themSeems too obvious but make use of bullet points and bold text so that the important parts of an email are easy to find.  

  • Stay relevant  

When writing your emails, always keep your audience in mind. What is it that they want and need? How can you address their pain points? Rather than focus on what you’re trying to sell, you should focus on what your readers need.  

  • Include a clear CTA 

What is the overall objective of your email? The call to action you include needs to be immediately obvious and move the recipient towards your goal. So, if you’re looking to encourage sign-ups for a free trial, your CTA might read ‘Sign up now!’  

  • Check, check…and check again 

Once the email is written get a second or third opinion, proofread and ensure you’ve ticked off every point in this list. When sending out an email to a large mailing list, you really don’t want to make any avoidable mistakes.  

Add the finishing touches 

When it comes to selecting imagery for your emails, we’d recommend avoiding stock photos – or at least the most obvious and artificially-posed ones – as these can deter readersAdding a few interesting images can boost the click-through rate but be mindful of the file size – as images that are too big can trigger spam filters, sending your email to the junk folder. 

Your email campaign also provides a good opportunity to highlight your website and social media platforms. Add links where possible to drive people to your site. This shouldn’t distract from the overall objective of your email, but it certainly can’t hurt to include a few inbound links where relevant.   

Create your email template  

Fortunately, there are plenty of email providers (we use Mailchimp) that will allow you to set up and schedule emails with no need for coding.  

A crucial consideration here is responsive design. This ensures that your email looks great on every device and will improve your clickthrough rate (CTR). If you’re using an automated email platform then this will be taken care of for you. If not, there are lots of tips out there for responsive design best practices!  

Set up tracking devices  

Before sending your emails out into the world, you’ll need to track them. This is the best way to quantify the success of your campaigns, and it can be executed with relative ease by using a tracking pixel.  

The gist of it is that a tracking pixel is added right before the closing body tag of the email. Then, when this image is loaded by the reader, the image request is logged by the server. This information is then collected by your chosen analytics service and you can access statistics on clickthrough rates, open rates and more. 

Testing! Testing! 123 

With all of the above in place, you’re ready to test your email. This should involve sending it out to multiple email accounts (accessed from a variety of devices) so that you can ensure everything looks as you want it to. Different email providers tend to display emails differently, so you need to check that yours works across the board.  

This stage is vital as it gives you the chance to iron out any creases before your email is sent. Any issues that you spot should be addressed, and the testing process repeated 

What are you waiting for? It’s time to push the button 

Sending mid-morning during working day seems effective in terms of open rates. To find your optimal time, it’s best to trial a few different times and analyse which gets the highest engagement.  

Let the data do the talking 

Hopefully, you will gain lots of useful insights from the data your campaign accumulates. Understanding this data is vital to understand what works and identify areas for improvement. We suggest looking at:   

  • The success of your CTA – does it need tweaking next time? 
  • How many readers are using mobile devices? If you have lots of mobile users, you’ll want to focus on mobile-friendly design. 
  • Who is least engaged with your emails? You can segment these contacts out and then try to retarget them with tailored content in the future.  

Pick a partner to do all the grafting for you 

We hope this article has provided helpful insights to get your email campaigns off the ground and produce fantastic results. However, if you don’t have the time, resources or knowledge to achieve this by yourself, we have heaps of email marketing experience and would love to lend a helping hand.  

 

If you’d like further help with email marketing, get in touch with a member of our team today. You can also check out our website for more information. 

The post How to write for email campaign success and actually get results appeared first on Fifty Five and Five.

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