Category Archives: Serious marketing yakking.

Targeted content marketing for conversion, or, “You talkin’ to ME??! You talkin to ME?!”

content marketing conversionBrands are becoming publishers.

Let’s say it again: brands are becoming publishers. Is this good? No. It’s stupid.

If you’re in the sneaker selling business, and you are forced by your marketing strategists to become a content publisher, are you going to have the experience equity in publishing you have in sneaker production? Hell no.

You are no more qualified to be a publisher than a squirrel is.

However, you do have one thing that publishers are desperate for- specialized knowledge which can be converted to content. You are deeply knowledgeable about sneaker production and the needs and habits of the sneaker consumer.

You have a treasure trove of potential content.

And since publishing is as simple as setting up a WordPress blog, if your marketing team or some blogger on Scribd can convert your knowledge trove to content, you have plenty to publish. So suddenly you have a content archive which is a value-add to your consumer. But you still don’t know anything about publishing.

About how to tell a story, how to sell a story, who to tell what story or how to use a story to create consumer aspiration, which is the real point, for you.

So do you just open a content firehose on your blog or site and hope it will attract people through search, get shared and give you beneficial backlinks?

Sure, you could start there. Or you could design your content to attract the people most likely to buy your product and use it to guide them to the purchase that will make them happiest.

Let’s do a case study, of how a company called Orchard Corset (link has no nudity but still NSFW) is doing a tremendous job at this with reasonable, not-extravagant resources. Orchard Corset is a company up near Seattle that sells mass-produced steel-boned corsets and shapewear, and their content marketing ROCKS.

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Extreme Gothic Halloween Values for the Discerning Geek, at 99Only.

99Only Halloween skull glass display

And now begins the High Holy Season of Geeks, the sacred month of Halloween.

The 31st falls on a Thursday this year, so expect parties both the weekend before and the weekend after. Or you can opt for Halloweek, like we’re doing. Today is the day to begin laying in supplies and planning your events, so we’ve got some tips on shopping.

Wouldn’t you know, my work T324’s longtime client 99Only.com is a truly excellent Halloween resource!

I wouldn’t have thought to go to a dollar store, because even though I’m cheap, I’m a snob. And I buy so much Halloween junk that costs plenty of money (from crack peddlars Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn, thanks a lot you bastards) that I probably don’t need to buy Halloween stuff that’s practically free too. However, one of my work’s big clients is local “extreme value” retailer 99Only.com. Continue reading

“You know what Facebook’s big announcement was? Vine.”

Yesterday my boyfriend was complaining about Facebook before I’d been awake ten minutes.

00005698He usually lets me read Morning Spoilers on io9 before he reports on the fresh technology hells of the day. He was irate that Facebook was announcing Instagram for Video. “Who would want to make a 15 second video?” he asked. “uh, maybe 13 million Vine users?” I mumbled. “Or…. not?”

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All about how to use Rich Pins to promote your business, and why I think you should do it.

T324 has been pro-Pinterest for businesses for a while, and the evidence keeps supporting our position. Pinterest appears to be committed to an ad-revenue based monetizing model and moving fast, with a clear vision. Unlike, well. Facebook.

Sephora’s February 2013 report that their Pinterest followers spend 15X more than their Facebook fans shows the value proposition for retailers.

ThinkGeek, for all your caffeinated food item needs, and the value of email marketing.

At my last marketing job we bought a lot of stuff from ThinkGeek, for raffle gifts at networking events and business expos, for adding humor to gift baskets, and for our own entertainment. A lot of the goodies on our “Gifts for Geek Clients” Pinterest board came from ThinkGeek. Email newsletter marketing on mobile devices

So we got regular ThinkGeek email newsletters, and we actually opened and read every one.

How does a for-profit business get us to read its marketing email?

By knowing their market, having a really good email template, and filling it with great content.

Email newsletters are stronger than ever as a marketing tool, despite the challenge of making them render attractively or even decently across the increasing variety of devices and email clients people view them on.

Email templates have to be coded in HTML, with CSS. TG’s newsletters display perfectly in Outlook, even though they include lots of images and links.

In Gmail, which strips out all images and much graphic formatting, the newsletter is still readable with text formatting in place and messages that appear in place of the images.

Being mindful of what has to be explicitly built into the newsletter for each email client is crucial. It’s also very helpful to have your email newsletter template built by someone who knows how to make it stand out from cookie-cutter Constant Contact and MailChimp templates.

The TG newsletter is colorful and chatty, with a geek-friendly we-speak-your-language tone. It’s highly topical – like a reference to an Internet-exploding episode of Game of Thrones to promote TG’s GoT board game. A typical week’s also included a product so ridiculous we had to click over to the website- Caffeinated Sugar!

When writing an email newsletter to your client base, you want to keep the welcome mat out for future emails. Don’t spam readers with your priorities.

Keep the focus on what’s important to your clients and add value with interesting content. Gauge the tone to fit the level of formality that’s typical in your industry. Include clever social share incentives like a “tweet this tip” in your informative content. Don’t forget that email newsletters should always include icons that link to your social media and an RSS button to subscribe to your blog.

If it’s appropriate to your industry, make it fun; if your clients expect a more serious tone, make it elegant.

CEOs can help their marketing professionals when it’s time to write a newsletter: what’s new in hires, products or services from your company, are any sea changes in your industry affecting your clients, and is there a segment where you’re gaining or losing clients? Budgeting time for your company experts to write a technical tip for your newsletter pays off in value-adding content.

Offering a coupon, contest or sale at the top of your newsletter and mentioning the exact prize value or percentage off in the header will help you get opens.

If you have a great white paper, include a button to click for a free download. Engage readers by showing you value their input. ThinkGeek uses the brilliant gimmick of soliciting and publishing a weekly Tech Haiku from readers.

A photo contest is a great way to engage your clients, and asking them in your newsletter to submit the photos on your Facebook page can jumpstart your Facebook activity if it’s lagging. If your business is precision machining, like T324’s wonderful client QQE, you can still run a photo contest. Pick something fun about your team and include an example, like “most pictures of kids on desk”, and ask your clients to respond in kind; offer a gift basket as a prize. Ask for stories about how your clients use your product or service, and print the story in the next newsletter.

Remember, an inbox is a personal space. Enter it politely, sincerely, and with something worthwhile to give. And look like you dressed nicely to visit- make sure your template looks beautiful!

this post originally appeared on the T324 blog.