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Posts Tagged ‘JTMarCom’

Does Disruptive Advertising Annoy You?

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

You can’t blame media companies for trying to make a living. But consumers are growing ever weary of ubiquitous disruptive advertising, such as pop-up ads on websites that are not relevant.

There is another way for marketers. With inbound marketing, you provide something of value to prospects – white paper, product comparison data, promotional offer, etc. – and, in return, they provide something of value to you – their email address, information about themselves, and their attention.

Here’s an example: You create a white paper providing advice on how your target audiences can save money. You promote it in a blog using carefully selected key search terms. You promote the blog via social media and in an email to your prospects list. Every communication contains a link to a landing page where interested persons download the white paper after providing their name, email address, company name and zip code.

You have engaged with your prospects in a helpful manner and collected additional email addresses. Don’t stop now! You continue providing your contacts helpful information and continue learning more about them.

I became interested in inbound marketing about five years ago (better late than never), but it wasn’t until JTMarCom became a partner agency with Hubspot a year ago that I truly understood the full picture — how an inbound marketing software platform such as Hubspot provides a measurable system for finding leads through content and nurturing them through the purchase funnel from consideration to brand evangelist.

Tying marketing communications to measurable results is the holy grail, particularly for companies that don’t have big research budgets to measure things like brand equity before and after an advertising campaign. How does the old saying go? I know that 10 percent of my advertising is working; I just don’t know which 10 percent.

With Hubspot, you know exactly what is working on the most important metric of all – gaining new customers.

At JTMarCom, we do a lot of work in the tire and automotive aftermarket industries, and it is amazing to see how many companies are running ads on industry websites that simply link to the company’s website.

Wouldn’t it be so much better to link the ad to a landing page (such as the example below from MuleSoft) where you can mulesoft landing pagecapture information about prospects for future communications. The landing page contains a “smart” form so you can learn more about your contacts each time they visit one of your landing pages.

According to Hubspot, companies with 100 to 200 website pages generate 2.5 times more leads than companies with 50 or fewer pages.

I’ll be focusing a lot more on inbound marketing in future blog posts. It is the best approach I’ve seen for tying marketing to sales.

If you’ve had experience with inbound marketing or would like to learn more, please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

 

 

7 Steps to Building Positive Buzz Through Brand Ambassadors

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Third-party testimonials have always been important, but with the advent of social media and online consumer review services, they are absolutely crucial.  Social media is word-of-mouth on steroids, making it well worth your time to foster brand advocates who can “talk up” your brand to thousands of potential customers through YouTube videos, Instagram photos, Facebook posts and the like.

McKinsey & Associates estimates that two-thirds of the economy is now driven by peer recommendations, thanks in large part to the ubiquity of social media. At the same time, trust in corporate advertising and institutions in general (Washington D.C. anyone?) is sinking.

Why not create a formal brand ambassador program to give your testimonials a boost?  This can be an extremely impactful strategy for any brand, particularly challenger brands trying to gain traction in a new market.

Let’s take the tire industry for example. For a brand like Michelin, which has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising over the years to burnish its reputation for quality and safety, a brand ambassador program may not be as critical; although I would argue that even a powerful “pull” brand like Michelin could benefit from such a program.

Let’s say, however, that you’re an Asian tire brand trying to establish yourself in the U.S. Here’s a typical scenario:  A consumer makes a call to his local tire dealer asking about various brands, and the dealer recommends a brand he has not heard of. The price is great, but what about durability and safety?

The prospective tire buyer goes to the Internet to see what experiences other have had. This is where the brand ambassador program comes in. He sees comments from people he trusts (like fellow off-road enthusiasts for example). Maybe it’s a Facebook post or Tweet, or possibly a blog post or YouTube video.  Whatever the platform, it’s the validation he’s looking for to move forward with the purchase.

Off-road enthusiast David Jones, a brand ambassador for GT Radial tires, has active fans on Facebook and Instagram.  He also writes guest blogs and creates YouTube videos for the brand.

Off-road enthusiast David Jones, a brand ambassador for GT Radial tires, has active fans on Facebook and Instagram. He also writes guest blogs and creates YouTube videos for the brand.

An effective brand ambassador program does not happen by accident. Here are 7  key steps to setting up a program that will super charge word-of-mouth for your brand:

  1. First, put your listening ears on to find potential ambassadors. Set up Google Alerts for your product and make sure you check the “all results” box so you capture forum comments, not just media stories and blogs.  Monitor your Facebook page for fan comments, search brand mentions via Twitter, and monitor popular online forums in your industry. Alert your customer service folks. Talk to your dealers. Use every possible avenue to find brand enthusiasts.
  2. When you find a candidate, evaluate their clout. Look at their Klout score. Do they have a lot of Facebook friends or Twitter followers? Do they blog? Are they active on Instagram? Assess the size of their audience and how their audience matches up with yours.
  3. Does their tone of voice jive with your brand personality? They may be too “edgy” for your brand or not edgy enough. Dig some into their background. Are there any skeletons in the closet?
  4. Reach out to your top candidates, and develop a formal agreement which outlines what you expect from them and what they can expect from you (i.e., free product).
  5. Train your ambassadors on your product’s features and benefits and brand positioning. Also provide social media training; maybe they could use some pointers on Twitter.
  6. When your ambassadors produce content, amplify their voice through your website, social media platforms and marketing materials.
  7. Stay in touch with your ambassadors on a regular basis. Talk over upcoming events and opportunities. Show them some love, and they will provide you a steady stream of valuable content.

Two words to keep in mind as you implement your program – authenticity and transparency. If your ambassadors start sounding like corporate shills, you’ve lost the all-important third-party credibility factor. Train them on your product attributes and key messages, but let them talk about your brand in their own voice.  Maintaining authenticity contributes to transparency.  You have nothing to hide here. These people love your product; you are just helping them spread the love!

I would love to hear from you about other tips and case studies on successful brand ambassador programs.

GT Radial Brand Ambassador David Jones writes a blog post each time he participates in an off-roading event.

GT Radial Brand Ambassador David Jones writes a blog each time he participates in an off-roading event.

Grow Your Blog Audience Through Social Media

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

We all know that a blog is one of the best ways to move your content up in search engine rankings.  But without promotion, a blog has little chance for exposure and, thus, little impact on SEO.

Social media is a logical first step.  Many businesses have already established social media profiles.  Use all of them to promote individual blog posts.  If you are an individual blogger, set up social media profiles specifically for your blog; in particular, develop a Google+ profile that links to your blog.  Google is ramping up its recognition of “authors” of content in their search algorithms.

Blogs and social media were born to thrive together.  Take a look at how GT Radial Tire (a JTMarCom client) is promoting their talkin’ tires blog on their Facebook page.

A great place to start is to share your blog post on Facebook.  Upload an interesting and relevant photo, write a headline and paste a link.  Photos perform significantly better than links on Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm which determines which posts are prioritized on fans’ news feeds.

Use LinkedIn as well.  Join some LinkedIn groups that fit your target audience and post your blog in the discussions section.

Post a link to your blog post on Twitter with a catchy introduction to grab people’s attention. Add hashtags when appropriate on keywords.  And don’t forget to leave room in your 140 characters for people to share with a comment.

Marc Pitman, writing for Social Media Examiner, suggests posting your whole blog on Google+. To do so, paste the blog link and a photo will appear. Choose the thumbnail you wish to display and then paste the whole blog post in the text section. This will take advantage of Google search, especially if you use relevant keywords in your blog.  Share your blog with all relevant circles.

Tumblr, Delicious., and Pinterest are other great platforms for sharing blog posts.

Also, expand your audience and increase your credibility by sending your blog to other sites, such as publication websites or blogs that reach your audiences.

You can also post comments with your blog link on other users’ Facebook walls, Tweets, etc. The key here is to avoid spamming by posting links in non-relevant places.  Keep in mind that few people will want to click on your link if your message sounds like a sales pitch.  Teeth whitening anyone?

Finally, use Google analytics to determine which social media sites are bringing the most, and best, readers to your blog.

I would love to hear about social media tactics you use to promote your blog.

Trucking Industry is Getting Social

Friday, April 15th, 2011

I walked the floor at the recent Mid America Trucking Show to get an idea of how quickly the trucking industry is adopting social media and the latest digital technologies.

I found that some companies are very engaged, others are in the process of becoming more involved, and others are sticking their head in the sand – believing that they will lose “control” if they put themselves out there in social media.   Guys, you are already “out there.”  Web 2.0 technologies have significantly shifted the power from institutions to the people.  Get with the program!

Anecdotally speaking, I saw a lot more social media activity than at last year’s show.  The show’s Twitter hashtag was very active, companies were using social media to drive booth traffic, and it was clear that social media is playing a greater role in marketing strategies for many.

 

I liked what I saw from Michelin.  They are actively listening to their customers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., and according to Michelin Marketing Communications Manager Bianca Hogan, the company has established procedures for engaging with advocates and responding to detractors (when a response is appropriate).

It was music to my ears when Ryan Fisher, account manager with Michelin agency Jackson Marketing Group, described how they conducted research at another trucking show to find out which social media platforms are most used by drivers and owner operators.  We see the opposite all too often; companies wanting to jump into Facebook, Twitter or something else before really analyzing how, where and why their target audiences are using social media.  For the record, they found Facebook to be the main platform with Twitter and YouTube also very popular.  Facebook and YouTube are a great way for these road warriors to stay in touch, personally and professionally, while Twitter is good for sharing the latest news on road delays, weather conditions, etc.

Joan O’Clair, corporate communications and social media manager for TravelCenters of America and Petro Stopping Centers, explained that the company has launched a popular iPhone app. to help customers check fuel prices, utilize the company’s emergency road service and much more.  Phase II of the app. is on its way with restaurant specials and more.

Magnus Koeck, vice president of marketing and brand development for Volvo Trucks North America, said Volvo Trucks has been involved in social media for some time in Europe.  Koeck said he has challenged his team to learn more about New Media because it is obvious that Volvo Trucks’ customers are spending more and more time online.  He said they will soon be adding a digital media specialist to the marketing staff.

It was also great to see the traditional media integrating social media into their offerings.  We had a great conversation with Deborah and Evin Lockridge about how they are using Twitter and other New Media tools at Heavy Duty Trucking magazine.

Then there was the speaker who warned the audience not to get involved in Facebook for security reasons.  Yes, you have to be aware of security issues and have a social media policy in place.  But advising not to get involved is akin to a transportation company in the early part of the 20th Century sticking with mules and wagons because you could lose control of a motorized vehicle’s steering wheel.

 

 

 

Twitter for the Holidays!

Monday, November 30th, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009  |  Modified: Sunday, November 29, 2009, 5:00am CST

Businesses using Twitter to build brand, bring in customers

Nashville Business Journal – by Eric Snyder Staff Writer

James Yates, Nashville Business Journal
Mitzi Maynard, left, and Lori Paranjape of Redo Home and Design in Franklin update the store’s Twitter status. The retailer is an avid user of ‘micro-blogging.’

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Just as the image of Santa Claus has continuously evolved — from the skinny patron saint of Greece and Russia into today’s jolly-sized chimney diver — merchants have continued to find new ways of connecting their wares with the public.

This holiday season, many local retailers will continue reaching out to shoppers where they live — and via Twitter feeds, where they work, play or pick up grocercies.

Twitter is a free “micro-blogging” service that allows users to send bite-sized info blasts to subscribers, more commonly (or ominously, depending on your perspective) referred to as “followers.” Tweets can be sent or received via computers or smartphones.

Spurred by breathless media coverage and celebrity adopters like actor Ashton Kutcher and NBA player Shaquille O’Neal, Twitter has enjoyed exponential growth. According to eMarketer, more than 18 million American adults will have used the service this year, compared to 6 million users last year.

And while reports suggest Twitter’s growth may not be sustainable — up to 60 percent of users quit after one month, Nielsen Online said in April — many local retailers say you have to remember one thing: It works.

And it’s free.

“It is, by far, our best (return on investment),” said Lori Paranjape, a partner in Redo Home & Design in historic Franklin, citing a primary reason it has proven popular with retailers.

Lori immediately began “tweeting” when she joined the business in January, thinking the company might just put a toe in the water. No longer.

“When we get new inventory, we tweet. When we get an interesting new client, we tweet,” Paranjape said. “It’s just how we communicate.”

Paranjape said Redo got multiple clients, whom they had never previously met, via Twitter. When Redo joined A Shopping Soiree, a Franklin fundraiser for several local charities — an invitation they received via Twitter, of course — they tweeted. They’ve tweeted Christmas shopping tips and holiday gift guides.

She doesn’t, however, make the same mistake some retailers do; Paranjape’s advertising button isn’t always on.

“There’s consequences in the Twitter world,” Paranjape said. “It’s not all business.”

It may seem paradoxical. To receive messages via Twitter, you must sign up for them.

But they also want to be entertained, or innocently informed, not just sold to.

“There’s a kind of 9-to-1 rule,” said Christine Taylor, vice president of social media marketing for local firm JTMarCom. “You need to be marketing other people nine times more than you’re marketing yourself.”

Taylor said clients sometimes have a hard time wrapping their heads around the concept, but she used the example of a big-box store pointing a customer to another store if they don’t have a particular item in stock. Perhaps the competing store gets that sale, but the original business earned trust and built a relationship.

“You have to develop a relationship with your customer base,” Taylor said.

Even if it is transferred over a so-called social media, traditional advertising will be found out.

“We have a good b.s. radar,” Taylor said. “Traditional advertising is tuned out.”

Paranjape, tweeting for Redo under the account redodesign, promotes other events around Franklin, solicits advice from followers on things to do and offers moments of levity, as she did in response to a jogger that ran past the shop window: “Please stop jogging by our door. We get it. We should jog, too. At least say, ‘Hi.’ Don’t just fly by all exercisey.” (Paranjape also advertised this article, twice, tweeting on Nov. 23, “We’re awkwardly having our picture taken right now by the (Nashville Business Journal) for article about Twitter.”)

A quick perusal of Twitter reveals numerous Nashville businesses advertising everything from contests to coffee, including Dunn Bros Coffee, Fido, 12th and Porter and Sambuca, among others.

Taylor said some companies, particularly larger ones more entrenched with traditional, top-down advertising, find Twitter intimidating. While JTMarCom also advises several clients on how to wield their Twitter accounts, Taylor herself manages the accounts of nine clients, ranging from a pet food company to an executive coach. While that does negate a prime benefit for some retailers — the fact that Twitter is a free service — help from Taylor saves the businesses another, if less tangible, investment of time.

“You have to nurture it once you have it,” she said.

Rachel Lowe, owner of Two Elle, a boutique home and clothing store that recently moved into Green Hills’ Hill Center, feels no intimidation from Twitter.

With a love of writing, and an English degree from Columbia University, Lowe said she uses the Two Elle Twitter account, twoellerabbits, to reinforce the personalities of their sales staff.

“We would never just say, ‘This T-shirt came in,’ end of sentence,” Lowe said. “It always has to have a story behind it.”

Like Paranjape, Lowe said Twitter is her store’s most effective form of advertising. While she tweeted constant updates about the store’s relocation this summer, Lowe said the business didn’t run any print ads announcing the move.

As Paranjape put it, with Twitter, “We are our own press coverage.”


You can reach Eric Snyder at esnyder@bizjournals.com or 615-846-4254.

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I stalked Chris Brogan:)

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

T-shirtThis is an image off of a t-shirt my husband John bought me as a joke from Despair.com. I thought it was pretty funny.  It captures  brilliantly the three behavioral disorders propelling the continued phenomenal growth of today’s most widely-trafficked social media sites. And the personality dysfunctional forces of Narcissism, ADHD, and Stalking  that reside today’s in the fast growing area of social media.

As a social media practitioner I freely admitted to the ADHD, (not a bad trait for a multi-tasker). Narcisissim not so much, but I must admit I do like it when my posts are re-tweeted. ( I call it being informative.) But I didn’t get the Stalking category.

I do Now. I am a big fan of Chris Brogan and read his blog eagerly every morning as I drink  my coffee. When I heard that his book “Trust Agents” needed a launch push and he offered to be a speaker for anyone willing to buy 200 books. I jumped at the chance.  I pulled out my credit card and bam, I had 200 books.

Then the shock set in. How was I going to move 200 books? Well the Nashville tech community came to the rescue.  Lynn Bennett at Stage Post Studios offered to host the event. Social Media Club of Nashville (who JTMarCom is donating some of the proceeds to) has helped promote the event with Jessica Murray and Georgia Cross of SMCNash helping any way they can. And most of all, Chris Brogan and his great mother Diane Brogan have helped pull this all together.

Below is our press release: Three days and counting. I am nervous and excited. We could not have done this without many fine people involved.

It’s not too late to sign up HERE for the live portion of the event and if you live elsewhere please tune in HERE to the  Free Video Web Cast provided by Author’s Way.

RELEASE

In their new New York Times best-selling book, “Trust Agents” co-authors Chris Brogan and Julien Smith make the case that the Internet has made it easier than ever to reach your customers.  It’s less likely, however, that they’ll listen.  Today, the most valuable online currency isn’t the dollar, but trust itself.

In the video streaming webinar, Brogan will discuss how social networks and personal connections have far more influence on consumers than a company’s marketing messages ever well –unless your business knows how to harness them.  He will provide valuable insights on how to tap into the power of these networks to build your brand’s influence, reputation, and profits.

Brogan contends that trust agents aren’t necessarily marketers or salespeople; they’re digitally savvy people who use the Web to humanize businesses using transparency, honesty, and genuine relationships.  As a result, they wield enough online influence to build up or bring down a business’s reputation.

During the first two hours of the webinar (10 a.m. to 12 noon EST), Brogan will discuss how to build profitable relationships with trust agents and his six basic principles for becoming a trust agent yourself.

During the final hour of the webinar (12 noon to 1 p.m. EST), audience members will have the opportunity to pose questions to Brogan  via phone, Twitter and email.  He will respond to as many questions time permitting and will sign books for these individuals.  Brogan’s book and a DVD of the webinar will also be available for purchase to all audience members through Authorsway.com.

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