Lizzy's List - 5 MozCon Influencer Posts Lizzy Loves
In preparation for MozCon, I (Monkey Marketer, Lizzy) did some digging into the Keynotes - don’t worry, I found no criminal reports or sexually explicit photos. What I did find, however, was a bunch of informative, engaging, and kickass posts. From my research I wanted to share some of the articles, and one video, that I love most (5 in this post, and 5 more to come). Bring on Seattle!
Samuel Scott just lit the fire under my ass and reminded me of the thousands of dollars I spent on a Business/Marketing Degree. Since I began working in the tech industry there has been no mention of the classic concepts I learned in my Marketing 100 class (that’s first year marketing). I have been so focused on learning the ins and outs of digital marketing I forgot about the 4 P’s. I have been the marketer Samuel urges people not to be, and he’s right. To get the full effect of the article I strongly urge you to read it. It is gold.
What is “content marketing”? Scott would argue that it is ALL marketing. It is NOT a subsection of the field, it IS the field, and we should stop pretending that it is some special skill to master. People aren’t “content marketers”, they are marketers. Period.
Think about it. What do a TV commercial, a billboard, a blog post, a promotional email, a Google ad, and a coupon book all have in common? They are ALL content. Content is not this brand new marketing phenomenon. It has and always will be the tangible marketing product.
“Content is not a commodity. Creativity cannot be scaled”
Think quality over quantity. If you can produce mass amounts of shit content (a blog post, advertisement, YouTube video, etc), what does that do for your business? Nothing. If you can produce quality marketing material that answers your customers' questions, attracts and engages them, and provides value, then you will find success.
Tech’s obsession with metrics and immediate results have steered them away from the creative aspect of marketing - the kind of marketing that takes time. Publicity, for example, is difficult to measure. PR stunts are hard to measure. Direct marketing, on the other hand, are easy to measure, which is the reason inboxes are stuffed full of unwanted emails from tech companies softly promoting their services. Don’t get me wrong, direct marketing belongs in the marketing mix and should not be forgotten, but it shouldn’t take the lead in every marketing initiative.
What is the solution to this obvious marketing rut the tech industry has found itself in? Well, Samuel give a very simple answer that I love and will leave you with - “read a marketing 101 book.”
This post by Ronell Smith gave me the warm and fuzzies, as I was raised by an entrepreneurial father. His small business, believe it or not, is a sailing school and water sport equipment rental company in Colorado. “Colorado is landlocked!” you say. “Where do people sail?” you ask. Yes, I know the whole concept may sound crazy, but guess what? He built a very successful business that has been able to support our family for many years.
So, how does my dad’s business tie in with Ronell’s post? Well, Ronell has provided incredibly valuable digital marketing tips that have the potential to take my dad’s small business (and all other small to medium sized businesses) to the next level, and that really freaking excites me.
Like many entrepreneurs there is only so much my dad can take on, and digital marketing is a bit out of his realm. He is too busy fixing boats, teaching courses, and being a kickass boss to even begin to think about it. Digital marketing is a vast and overwhelming field that many small businesses don’t even touch because of the perceived time, money, and experience it requires.
Ronell understands and appreciates the challenges that SMBs face with digital marketing, and has presented a killer argument as to why and how SMBs can invest in it - no experience required. I would love nothing more than to see my dad’s dreams and hard work really take off, and believe Ronell’s advice will prove to push him to the next level.
Without further ado, the stellar advice SMBs can use to stand up against the giants:
- Take advantage of local SEO - For those business owners who don’t know where to even begin with their SEO (and why would you, when you’re busy being awesome at your own craft?), I suggest starting with MOZ’s Local Learning Center. Big organizations often don't spend money on local SEO, leaving it up for the taking by the little guys. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT. Even the most basic efforts could make a difference.
- Create local content - Write content for your website about what you know - your community! People are always looking for the local advice, tips, and tricks. When I travel I often go to the local blogs to find out where I want to eat, to figure out what to do, and to discover any local hot-spots that I wouldn’t have found otherwise. Be the small/medium business that provides people with awesome local content - it will be far more valuable than what the big guys have to say.
- Quality over quantity - Entrepreneurs barely have time to take a 30-minute lunch, not to mention sitting down to write a blog post. Ronell (and I agree) believes that business owners, or their staff, should take the time to create quality content. Figure out what your customers are dying to know, and use your expertise to answer their questions. Developing trust and authority will transform into repeat customers that would be happy to refer your business down the road.
- Make It Personal - Write in a tone that will connect with your customers. Local content shouldn’t have a corporate tone. Be authentic to yourself and your brand, you readers will appreciate it. Ronell makes a great suggestion to make your customers the topic of certain content. Interview them, ask what they love about your business, and what they would change if they could. Get to know them, show them you care, and share that information with others.
In my very humble digital marketer opinion, I believe the above tactics could add immense value to SMBs and cannot wait to sit and strategize with my pops. So, I recommend taking the time to read Ronell’s article to get all of the gems he has offered up, and then go produce awesome local content! I would love to see more SMBs make big traction on the web and their bottom lines.
Cara Harshman, from Optimizely, wrote a fantastic synopsis of a Q/A session with Slack’s CMO, Bill Macaitis. As a young marketer, I am ALWAYS in search of advice, guidance, and mentorship. This post gave me just that. Here is my take:
If anyone is forward thinking, and customer focused it’s Bill. He believes that “your brand is the sum of every single experience a person has with your company, online and offline”. With the CRAZY success he has created within organizations (Cara dives into this), it’s hard to debate the guy. Bill builds his marketing strategies upon customer experience. Every point of contact a customer has with a business, from their first impression, to the sale, and beyond, impacts the final goal. This means that all departments in the company impact customer satisfaction, and therefore growth, including Slackbot.
What is the final goal? For Bill it is not a transaction, but a referral from a customer - or word-of-mouth marketing. Word-of-mouth marketing has been a huge contributor to Slack’s success. This is the result of the company’s hyper-focus on customer satisfaction.
How does Bill get the entire company working toward the same outcome? He uses the Net Promoter Score (NPS) - a customer satisfaction tool - to incentivize teams throughout the organization. This metric is awesome for establishing an organization with a cohesive vision, and guides all departments towards the same goal - an outstanding customer experience. There are not many organizations I know of with such a common and synchronized direction throughout every department, but I do believe there is tremendous value in it. Implementing the NPS is a great way to pull an organization together and direct all departments toward the same goal.
Though word-of-mouth marketing has been outstanding for Slack, Bill doesn’t rely on it alone. To enter new industries, new segments, and to break down doors, Bill harnesses other marketing tactics - content marketing, evangelism, product marketing, and hyper-focused campaigns to enter into markets that otherwise would have never been touched by Slack. He does emphasize that the marketing initiatives Slack utilizes are genuine and not naggy - you can’t buy a reputation.
Cara does an amazing job emphasizing Bill’s tactics and strategy. Her article opened my eyes to a new and proven perspective (always welcomed, and appreciated), and introduced me to a mentor I had not considered. Give the whole article a read. It is loaded with information, is inspiring, has very nice graphs, and smiling faces :). Can’t wait to hear your talk at MozCon, Cara!
Rand Fishkin - obviously a valid source for information - has a video series titled Whiteboard Friday. In this particular episode (that will be easier for you to watch than for me to summarize) Rand presents some fantastic arguments to counter the trending discussion that keyword rank tracking is not valuable. If you don’t give a shit about keyword rank tracking, I still recommend watching the video for style and mustache guidance.
5. Your Impressions Don’t Impress Me Much - One of the Most Ubiquitous Metrics in the Digital Marketing World is the “Impression”
Impressions are often used as success metrics of marketing campaigns, but Dana DiTomaso argues that impressions do not indicate success and should not be relied on. Her article is stuffed full of satirical common sense and I love it - gimme gimme more.
A sad fact? “comScore found that 54% of display ads are never seen.” That means you can cut your ad impressions in half - not so impressive anymore, hey? Don’t worry about it, you should be more concerned about the CTR (click through rate) anyway. Forget about the huge number of impressions your analytics present to you and focus on the shit that matters.
Impressions do NOT equal brand awareness. Don’t kid yourself. There are other metrics (read the article to find out what they are) that do a far better job of measuring brand awareness. The numbers may not be as impressive, but guess what? They will be real and reliable. Needless to say, pay-per-impression ads probably aren’t the best marketing initiative to invest in.
How many ads do you actually pay attention to on the internet? Not many. It’s called banner blindness and it is oh so very real. Your ad better steal the show on a page, or be sure that it will be ignored.
What’s the lesson to be learned? Forget about impressions as a metric, and take the time to craft an unforgettable ad that can’t be ignored. The time it takes will be worth it.
To those who gave my first list a read, thank you! My goal is to sort through the masses of information on the interweb and provide you with awesome, relevant, and timely posts every week - mostly in the digital marketing space. Love, likes, shares, and constructive feedback are all welcomed and appreciated :).
Have a wonderful day, friends!