Last week I received this fan email, from new wave band Devo. I went on-line and checked out what they were up to. Turns out they’re launching a new album. Here’s a great example of an awesome 80’s band leveraging 21st century technology.
The Spud boys have always understood how to leverage themselves and their message through great marketing. With the launch of their first album in 20 years, they recently created focus groups . Of the many things they surveyed, one question asked respondents to choose which songs should go on the album. Another question asked, “What color [of power domes] makes this musical group feel more effective?” They embraced current feedback and have now relaunched themselves. You’ll see their stuff on all the mainstream social networks you can think of. Clearly this was their intention, as you’ll see in their tagline, “Devo is Everywhere.” Fitting that as the band who espouses futuristic predictions, they would be the ones to embrace new technology. Check out this tongue-and-cheek video chronicling their relaunch campaign. It’s as unique as Devo.
Even my 3 year old daugher is a fan of Devo since they are featured on one of her favorite shows, Nickolodeon’s Yo Gabba Gabba!
I’m so excited about their comeback, I know what I’m going to be for Halloween already!
People love to contribute content to their favorite brands and what better way for your company to connect with consumers? With the social media explosion in marketing it is advantageous for companies to use user-generated content in their marketing and loyalty programs.
Back in 2008 I came up with the idea of using customer submitted photos for an email program “Kodak Moment of the Month” after the success of the staff photo slideshow in our newsletter. It was time to take the concept a step further and the program was born. This program of course did not come without its challenges and I will go into that later in the post. But the results made it all worth it – the response was overwhelmingly positive. I learned quickly that people love to show off their photography skills! Check out John Harrisons’ post on user-generated content and the “Kodak Moment of the Month.”
Kodak Recently launched a site celebrating your Kodak Moments, user images and video, “ The real Kodak Moment happens when you share.” Disney Parks launched last month a new site dedicated to fan content very similar to Kodak Moments, in which you can share your photos, videos and stories from your trips to Disney Parks. One nice feature is that you can also categorize the content by theme, location and the emotion. Check out this post on Mashable, on Disney’s “Let the Memories Begin” campaign.
A few things to consider if you are building out a user-generated marketing program, depending on the size of your company it will take a lot of work to manage all that content, so make sure you have the resources and have a clear goal on how you want to engage your customers and use the content now and in the future. Try to be as specific as you can when you request content, trust me it will help you out tremendously to receive more relevant content. Copyright is always a concern in the digital age so consider all avenues when creating your Terms and Conditions. This content is also a great opportunity to index your site with this rich content and optimize for SEO.
Had the same newsletter template/design for 12 or more months? It is a good time for a facelift. Here are a few reasons why.
- It’s a good opportunity to do some in-depth analysis on what is working and what is not. If a section of your newsletter is not performing, yank it or change it up in the template. If anything, your readers will appreciate a fresh look.
- It goes without saying from best practices point of view you should always be adapting your emails to contend with image rendering issues etc.
- From a design stand point, try and keep it simple but aesthetically pleasing, and don’t be afraid of white space. It will clearly define your content.
Once you have your new template, now is the time to optimize your newsletter. I think all e-marketers struggle with how much is too much, or too little! Each month I suggest selecting a section of the newsletter and do an A – B test, example, if you have top 10 tips:
1) Version A- Feature 1 tip with a CTA to all 10 tips
2) Version B- Feature 3 tips with a CTA to all 10 tips
This is a great exercise, depending on the content I found anything from a 20% lift in click-through to a 20% decline.
Change is good – here is the header image layout for Gallery Exposure, that was tested well over 4 years:
Obviously empowering your customers does have consequences, if someone has a bad customer experience with your company; it is very easy for them to share that with the world. The good thing is, if you respond quickly and make it right it can turn into a huge positive. Most people will respond to their friends and followers how you went above and beyond to fix their issue.
A large part of our marketing mindset is to be in the customer’s shoes and what they expect from you in social media. Here are a couple of points I have used to good effect:
On a final note you can leverage your customers to be advocates for your company, one’s circle of friends and family tend to carry the greatest amount of social capital in the business context.
As we all know- with any marketing campaign keeping it relevant is the key to success. It’s really no different in with social media, but the great thing is — you can have a little more fun with it. They are a fan for a reason, now keeping your fans engaged, is just like any relationship. You need to work on it!
Here are a few ideas of where to start on messaging:
Once you have an idea of what they are responding to, ask for their feedback (poll app), what they want to see more of and what they haven’t seen!
Check out this great post from The Email Wars Examples of Social Media in Email Marketing.
Next up: the customer perspective and concerns.
Why try social media? Why not? If you haven’t already, it is a no-brainer to have a social presence for your company. I personally think there is no real expert in social media marketing yet! I think it is very much trial and error at this stage, so test, test and test again. So my advice is to you, is to go for it.
Over the next week or so I will be sharing a few simple tips I’ve found helpful in building out a social media program:
Have a clear goal:
Next up: messaging and engagement.
Also check out this great article from Social Email Marketing blog and see why 37% of companies avoid social media.
As a self-confessed Home & Garden TV addict, I think this email from Bed Bath & Beyond is a great example for how to use animated gifs. And what a great way to feature a partner product, like Sherwin-Williams in this example, that truly compliments your own. Although the email is a little busy I think the objective is achieved – inspiration! This variation in color palette definitely motivates me to give my bedroom a make-over.
Using animated gifs is also a great opportunity to have an A – B test, from my experience we saw a 10 – 15% lift in revenue over the standard HTML version. Of course you don’t want the novelty to wear off so don’t over use this option and make sure to keep it relevant to the product you are selling. Animated gifs is still well supported by most email clients.
Want to showcase more products/product designs in your emails?
It is always a challenge for a marketer and designer to create an email that the business requires to showcase a number of new products/designs. One great solution is to leverage the poll/vote functionality that most ESP’s provide; the benefit in this is you don’t only get to showcase what you want but you also get the customers feedback and future targeting opportunities.
Another thought is to use this type of campaign as a teaser to the bigger event and give valuable feedback to product marketers and designers on what products to feature in the new product launch.
I am really surprised I do not see marketers leveraging this existing technology more.
I have not used one myself but there are a number of different poll apps available for FaceBook that would give you a similar result and may even increase your fan base!
Here is a campaign I ran at Kodak Gallery using this functionality:
To me a lot of newsletters are just a big promotional email which defeats the purpose of a newsletter. Reviewing a lot of different (one size fits all) e-newsletters, I think a lot of companies miss an opportunity to talk to a broader member base and drive more engagement. A lot of sites have great content that is buried and near impossible to navigate to, and this is the tool to leverage that content.
When I created the Gallery Exposure newsletter for kodakgallery.com some 4 years ago the objective was to have an engaging, inspirational and retention-minded communication. Content was based on user/customer service feedback and monthly polls that featured in Gallery Exposure. We intentionally kept promotional offers to a minimum or not at all in the email with extremely positive feedback, offers do not motivate everyone and the numbers proved it. The message I heard loud and clear “inspire me”.
This award winning newsletter from Olympus is a great example: