Tag Archives: online marketing

Stop wasting money in Facebook

Roslyn Layton with a smartphone - perhaps looking at Facebook?Many organizations waste their time with Facebook. Only a small fraction of any company’s customers “Like” their page in Facebook.

You can’t read the press these days without an article telling how fantastic Facebook is. Indeed with 900 million members, it’s very much comparable to being one of the world’s largest countries. Facebook has milked its IPO to full effect.  It’s as if the world is infected with a “Facebook fever” which makes companies forget to make the necessary investments on their website and conduct real and vital communication with their audience by email and newsletter.

It’s important to look beyond the hype and investigate whether Facebook can really help your business.

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Avoid the top 10 errors in email newsletters

Roslyn Layton with a smartphone - perhaps reading your next newsletterEmail marketing is a crucial strategy to pump up holiday sales, but don’t forget that email newsletters are important all year long.  Here are the common errors you should avoid along with some tips to make your email newsletters better:

10.  Overuse of capital letters and punctuation in the subject line. Respect your readers. Don’t bludgeon them with an overly anxious call to action punctuated withgratuitous question marks and exclamation points.  What is urgent to you, might not be urgent to others.

9.  Pictures that distract attention. We say that a picture is worth 1000 words, but words are worth 1000 pictures.  Too often a picture is the first part of the email, and it doesn’t render correctly, so the receiver just deletes the email. Be sure to send a test message to yourself and see how the email renders both with and without pictures.  Be sure that your message can work even if the picture is not included.

8. Text that is too long or too short. Making effective newsletters is an art. It takes practice and testing.  The proper length can depend upon the topic and the audience.  An article or story that is too short without enough content to provide value is not worth reading.  Sometimes you can make a short teaser with a link to a longer discussion on your website. By the same token, avoid long emails. Break up a long topic into 2 or 3 emails on related themes.  A general rule is to keep your message to one page when printed--including pictures.

7. The broken record. Saying your message consistently is not the same thing as saying it over in the same message.  Make your point clearly and succinctly once in the message, ideally at the beginning.  Ensure that your message is consistent in subsequent newsletters.

6. Indiscriminate links. The art of a good email newsletter is to show restraint.  Avoid the trap of making every offer under the sun to your customer.  Instead focus on one topic and one link for the newsletter.

5.  Surprises: In life we like surprises, but not necessarily in the email newsletter.  Be sure to discuss the topic named in the subject line, not something else.

4. Overly fancy design: The principles of “less is more” and “keep-it-simple” hold true.  Today’s newsletter tools offer hundreds of templates with many designs, layouts, graphics and so on.  Be critical. Does the design improve the offer and quality of the message? When in doubt, leave it out.

3. Too many topics in a single newsletter.  A good email newsletter has just a single topic, no more. It’s good that you have a lot of topics.  It means you can make more newsletters in future!

2. Boring subject line. If you can’t be bothered to make an interesting subject line, why should the recipient read the email?

1.  Unknown sender, The recipient of the mail wants to know who is communicating.  Have a real person at the other end of the newsletter. If you can make your newsletter and email communication personal to the recipient, so much the better.

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Swarovski hosts treasure hunt using smartphones

Swarovski, a brand name for a range of precisely-cut crystal and innovative digital marketingLuxury crystal brand Swarovski recently managed to win many new fans when they took to the streets of London on the last weekend of September for the brand's innovative treasure hunt using smartphones. The treasure hunt marked the culmination of a longer digital campaign to celebrate the London premiere of its first cinema spot, Discover your light.

Collaborating with location-based service provider SCVNGR, Swarovski successfully tapped into pioneering digital marketing approaches. According to Andreas Wieser, Manager Brand / Reputation Communications at Swarovski and project lead for this treasure hunt:

We have reached out to young, urban, fashionable individuals and provided them with a unique branded experience. This is the future of how brands are going to be built. In addition, this project illustrates how brand communication needs to be orchestrated across all channels to result in true value – for both the audience as well as the brand

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Are industry top level domains attractive?

CMS: Own top-level domain?In the past, the generic Top Level Domains (also known as gTLD's) have been limited to the well known .com, .net, .org and about 20 more. In addition to these generic TLD's there are about 250 country-specific top level domains like .us, .ch or .tv (which stands for Tuvalu, a small Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, but is commonly used as an abbreviation for "television"!)

For years people wanted to be able to register their own top-level domains, and finally the door will be opened to new "custom" gTLD's by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, responsible for managing this area.

In other words, if you want to register a top-level domain for your dog, you soon can (starting January 2012 for an initial 4 month period). Do consider your needs carefully before pulling out the credit card, though: the registration costs are steep. Among other things you need to pay a $185.000 registration fee, another 25.000 per year for running the registry and you need to show that you have a legitimate claim for the domain. In other words, no need to try to register .apple..!

Now I am no expert on domain names (otherwise I'd probably have retired to some South Pacific Island long ago) but I wonder if it would be attractive for an industry to register their own top level domain name? Granted, we all got used to .com. The brand promise of .com is simple: you expect a commercial entity to be found if you type a domain name that ends with .com. This leaves a lot to be desired from a brand promise perspective.

For example, a .photo domain could clarify that you are visiting a website related to photography. The .kids TLD would make it very simple for parents to filter out any unwanted content by restricting internet access to websites with a .kids TLD. (This of course assumes that someone actively manages such a top-level domain and ensures that only kids-related content will be found there). So given the above, there seems to be merit in a custom top-level domain.

Let's consider how this could look for the content management industry, whose software is commonly referred to as a CMS. Assume the CMS industry gets together and registers .cms as a custom Top Level Domain. This would allow CMS vendors to get second-level domains like magnolia.cms (obviously my favorite), fatwire.cms or sitecore.cms.

From a branding experience I think this is attractive. Let's look at the cost. There are more than 1000 content management systems listed at CMSmatrix.com. Optimistically assuming that 400 CMS's are interested to acquire a .cms domain name, here is the math over 5 years:

  • 185.000: Initial registration
  • 125.000: 5 * 25.000 yearly fee
  • 100.000: Setting it all up (Gartner estimates up to 200k for consulting fees around setting up your own top-level domain)
  • 500.000 est. - 100.000 p yr. for running the whole infrastructure & registration processes (and maybe market the domain name within our industry?)
  • Total: $910.000

In other words, between 400 CMS’s we’d need to spend $2.275 each for a five-year period (or $455 per year) for such a domain. For your industry, these numbers could be considerably more favorable. Is it worth it? Personally, I think yes it is. That maybe so because magnolia is a name that is widely used by anything from a TV chain to the famous Magnolia bakery in the West Village, a problem e.g. Drupal is unlikely to have.

So what do you think‚ should your industry get a custom TLD?

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Out of office messages – a missed opportunity?

You have probably just switched off your "out of office" message. Most out of office auto replies contain no more than a sentence a two saying when the individual is back in the office. But why miss the opportunity to add some brief relevant communication, such as a link to a marketing campaign?

With all the money spend on digital marketing and branding, I certainly think that a normal out of office, like the one below, is a lost opportunity:

I will be out of the office starting 23-12-2010 and will not return until 03-01-2011.

Here's a slightly more helpful version:

I will be out of the office until Monday, January 3, 2011.  I will respond to your email at that time.

If you have urgent questions regarding XXX please call my mobile (555-5555) or contact my assistant Jane Doe

The worst are the many out of office messages that contain the usual legal disclaimer such as:

This message (including any attachments) may contain confidential, proprietary, privileged and/or private information. The information is intended to be for the use of the individual or entity designated above and so on

Which legal department came up with the idea that this stuff makes any sense at all in an auto reply?

Include a relevant link or some more helpful information instead - given that you cannot respond right away. Here some ideas for next time you take some time away and decide to turn on your out of office:

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J. Boye online in 2010

Another year has passed and while we think we have made progress with our online activities, we still got a long way to go. Online professionals never really have enough time for reflection - it is always on to the next project, quick fixes, daily routines, meetings and changing priorities. Our annual online activities report for 2010 here below can hopefully act as inspiration for your activities and 2011 planning.

At a high level our online activities have been leading the way in an initiative to better describe what we do. Based on many conversations with members and business partners, we've made our community for online professionals more visible and we've gone through iterations of our graphical design, mostly on the front page to make the websites more effective for online marketing.

A special thanks goes out to Danish system integrator Klean for their UX scorecard, which opened our eyes to many best practices. Thanks also to Steve Machesney from Covidien, Martin White from Intranet Focus and to everyone else who have offered their input.

We have thus far invested most time and effort in our English and Danish websites. A German-language site is up and running, which we plan to give more attention during 2011. We don't have any microsites as such, but keep our conferences sites in subfolders on jboye.com.

Annoyingly, we've taken a temporary (but totally unacceptable) step backwards when it comes to accepting credit card payments. Our current solution provider, Plimus, turned out to be difficult to integrate with our new sign-up process and we simply ran out of time in the run up to our conferences. Better planning!

Towards the end of the year, we began inviting external contributors to write on the J. Boye blog. The first article was a case study on fighting intranet chaos at SWIFT. We are looking forward to more guest writers sharing their nuggets going forward.

Traffic to our website went up 30% compared to 2009. Google kept our servers busy and sent 42% of our visitors; up from 30% in 2009. Twitter sent 4% (unchanged from 2009) and LinkedIn 1% (down from 3%). CMS Wire, Bing and Facebook were all in the top 10, each at less than 1%.

Using analytics (Google Analytics) we discovered that our bounce rate is quite high at 71% (up from 68%). We also learned that people find jboye.com when they search for terms such as “mobile CMS”, “proof of concept”, “key account management” and “Sitecore vs. Umbraco”. None of those are terms we ourselves would list as keywords to describe what we do. We've started applying this knowledge to our content strategy and hopefully Google and others will place terms such as “web governance”, “intranet”, “online health”, “higher education web” and “digital strategy” higher on the list in future.

A inescapable theme throughout the year was social media. We focused mostly on LinkedIn where our J. Boye group passed 600+ members; up from 265. On Twitter @jboye now has 775 followers and  Twitter continues to be a very helpful tool in terms of getting input to answer member questions, to crowd-source ideas for our blog and to get the word out about speakers at our events.

We decided to close our Facebook group and while we continue to use Facebook to share content to our social network, it is perhaps a sign of progress that we did actually managed to close down an activity? At the moment we are considering how to make best use of Facebook in 2011.

We have not yet made much progress when it comes to using video online. 23 has kindly helped with video sites for some of our conferences, but we have failed to follow up on the many great conference videos produced. We've experimented a bit with YouTube, but quickly realized that the choice of tool is dependent on us investing time to make the best use of it online.

Finally, and a major difference to most of you working in large organisations: At J. Boye everybody is involved hands-on in our online activities. Those not actively working on implementing still all have years of digital experience. A special thanks to Dorthe Jespersen, Peter Sejersen and our tireless webmaster Jakob Damgaard for leading the way.

Please share your ideas for 2011. And many thanks to all for helping us make 2010 a bit less difficult and a lot more fun than 2009.

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How the local Mayor persuaded me to stay on Facebook

Much is said and written about Facebook - postive as well as negative. However, the figure of 600 million users speaks for itself. You may not agree with all of the persuasion tactics deployed the folks behind by Facebook, but I do think online professionals can learn from the digital marketing approach adopted by Facebook.

I have considered leaving Facebook more than once - and I guess I am not alone. Fair choices and best intentions were the main drivers behind a major campaign to leave Facebook earlier this year. Privacy and security concerns together with a general feeling of wasting time are also popular reasons for leaving the dominant social network behind.

Facebook use many subtle tricks that persuade you to perform a certain action. One good example; try visiting the page that allows you to deactivate your account. What could be more obvious than using your friends to convince you to reconsider?

Facebook deactivate page - click for large

When I tried to deactive my Facebook profile, Facebook showed 5 of my Facebook friends, including Aarhus Mayor Nicolai Wammen, who according to Facebook would "miss me" were I to deactivate my account. Note also that "reason for leaving" is a required field.

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Red Bull introduces print 2.0

Originally introduced for the Formula 1 racing circuit, energy drink company Red Bull have introduced The Red Bulletin, an innovative printed magazine, that enables readers to 'interact with the printed copy'.

In the words of the magazines editorial team:

This magazine sings, dances, flies and even scores a touchdown…

Here's how it the interesting initiative works: By simply holding the magazine up to the webcam on your computer you can take it ‘beyond the page’ and into the world wide web. The cover for example will link through to a video package explaining exactly how augmented reality can enhance your reading experience in a way you almost certainly never imagined, with music, film, animations and more.

The Red Bulletin is a global magazine published each month in eight countries with a total circulation of 4.3 million copies (!). Labelled as an 'almost independent magazine' it is a modern lifestyle magazine covering news from the world of Red Bull, including a recent feature with Clint Eastwood.

Austrian-based Imagination has worked behind the scenes to create the webcam augmented reality experience. A close look at the URL also reveals that FatWire Content Server is powering the website. If you don't have a copy of the printed magazine, you can even download it (link to August edition) and print it.

I'm not sure how many actually uses this and whether other companies with less circulation could benefit from it as well, but it certainly provides for a nice wow effect.

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Find, f**k and forget

shoppingAs soon as an order has been placed, sales people have been trained for generations to quickly move on to the next customer. Unfortunately, this way of working also seem to be the prevailing experience for online customers.

When shopping online we have all experienced that the price suddenly climbed dramatically when arriving at the checkout with our virtual shopping cart. Shipping, taxes and other unexpected fees can ruin any shopping experience.

To make matters worse, if you have ever tried to get some customer support after having bought something online, I would be very surprised if you received a treatment that was better than what you would normally expect in a physical shop.

Today it seems like most online businesses follow the infamous 3F sales strategy. They know how to target  new customers by using flashing adverts, pop-up windows or aggressive email marketing. Many online shops are naturally very keen to close the sale, but surprisingly few make an effort to keep the customer happy in the long run.

As long as responsibility for the online shop lies in either the marketing or sales department, the website will undoubtedly be fine-tuned to be good at either finding new customers or closing the sale. Different departments have different goals and they will try to use the web to help them meet their targets.

Even though the web is now 20 years old and e-business has been around for a long time, surprisingly few organisations have implemented improved ways to handle selling to existing customers and making the experience a good one.

We all know that it is cheaper to sell to an existing customer than it is to win a new one, so why not begin to act with a longer-term vision of life-time customer value? This way the "forget" could be turned into "forever".

Thanks to Hannu Vangsgaard and Peter Vellenzer for valuable input.

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