Month: December 2017

Get your social media organised with ContentDJ

Get your social media organised

We all know it. We SHOULD be so much better at getting our social media organised. But too often, it’s just a source of stress and frustration. Identifying the right topics, finding the right messages to share, writing unique content –and then publishing it at the right time…

If it’s any consolation, you’re not alone in your frustration.

Stop the tailchase

The first hurdle to overcome is the easiest one: Automation.

If you’re not already using a scheduling tool, now is the time to start.

Every social media marketer worth their salt will automate a large part of their social media activities. This will take away the stress of having to log into your platforms several times a week to post your updates. Instead, you just pre-populate your message calendar with content and links.

Smarter scheduling

There are of course many basic tools available, such as HootSuite and Buffer. While these systems are fine for simply publishing updates, I have found that it makes a lot more sense to have a system that combines your own scheduling functionality with a clever way of finding and sharing (i.e. curating) relevant content from other sources.

My absolute favourite social media scheduling tool is ContentDJ. But why? I hear you ask. Well, let me share a few reasons why I love this system.

  • Filtered calendars
    It’s a great resource for single marketers or distributed teams, as it allows you to build out a complete calendar for publishing content on all your platforms – filtered on campaigns, team members or content type.
  • Fast, easy curation
    The one thing that really sets ContentDJ apart is how it makes it easy to curate relevant content from other sources. By setting just a few keywords, the system lists hundreds of trending articles to share from.
  • Editorial tools
    Rather than just publishing, ContentDJ allows for team members to log in and start drafting content ideas in the ‘editorial room’. These can then be reviewed and approved through your own custom workflow stages.
Social media organised with ContentDJ

Screenshot of ContentDJ user view

Get your social media organised in 2018

If you are ready to make a serious impact on your social channels this coming year, why not start out with a great toolbox? Check out ContentDJ today and try their free trial where you can test some awesome scheduling, editorial and curation functionality.

Do you want tips like these to your inbox? Over the next few weeks I will continue to share suggested systems and processes that will make your life easier. Sign up to the Hunting with Tigers bulletin and stay updated with hands-on marketing advice.

spam trap

How spam traps trip up your email marketing

Email marketing is still one of the most cost-effective ways of nurturing your leads and prospects – but it is fraught with pitfalls, especially if your data is less than perfect in the eyes of your email automation software. Here’s what to do if you’re dealing with an email system that won’t play ball!

Email list warnings

I was recently asked for advice on what to do when Mailchimp (or any other email automation system) refuses to accept your email list.

In this particular situation, the user had received a warning saying that the list used “could contain spam traps”. They were unable to continue with their campaign until the issue had been addressed.

This obviously triggered a host of questions:

  • What does ‘spam traps’ mean?
  • Where do they come from?
  • And how can this issue be fixed?

Why email systems care about your data

When launching an email campaign in an automation system, the software will analyse your list using its own internal algorithm. It will look for any quality issues or warning signs that the data isn’t good enough. The reason is of course that the email service provider doesn’t want to be associated with email campaigns that are considered to be spam – so they are trying to protect the quality of your campaigns by not allowing data that sets off their alarm bells.

What is a spam trap?

One of the things that the email system will look for in your data is spam traps. These are effectively addresses that flag up as unsuitable for email campaigns.

These are some of the main types of spam traps to be aware of, as listed by CampaignMonitor:

    • The pure spam trap
      This is an email address that has been set up purely to lure in spammers. It’s placed on the internet as ‘bait’, open for anyone to copy and paste into their database. The only way this address would end up on your list, is if you have unlawfully collected it.This is often the type of address that would be shared from one spammer to the next, added to rogue email lists and sold on to unsuspecting customers.

      Remedy: Avoid buying lists – unless you are 100% confident that the data is legitimate and suitable for your campaigns. And don’t even think about adding email addresses to your database by copying them from the internet!

 

    • The recycled email address
      A recycled spam trap is an address that was once genuine, but is now no longer in use. Typically, it has been unused for so long that the provider has started using it as a trap to catch and block marketers who are not keeping their lists up to date.

      Remedy: Take regular action to clean and maintain your lists, removing any bounced or inactive email addresses.

 

    • The invalid email address
      An email automation system can also react to an obviously incorrect address – one that simply doesn’t exist. This scenario might occur when you collect email addresses through a form but don’t require the user to confirm the address being correct.

      Remedy: Don’t accept subscribers onto your list without first confirming their email address. This can be done easily using a double opt-in, requiring the user to actively confirm that they are receiving emails to the address they have given.

 

    • The typo
      An invalid email address could be one that is not deliberately incorrect. It could be one that is simply misspelled. This can be a mistake on the part of the subscriber, or it can happen when data is entered manually based on a phone call or a business card.

      Remedy: Always confirm the user’s opt-in as described above. As for manually added data, aim to test the email address by confirming their interest in your product or service using a single personal email message. If this bounces, you know there’s an issue with the address.

Shortcuts aren’t worth it

As tempting as it may seem to quickly add data to your list without checking its validity, this could end up causing you tremendous headaches.

Poor data management is one of the biggest reasons why email marketing campaigns fail to deliver. One nightmare scenario is that you may have your email marketing account permanently suspended – which is something you won’t want to experience. (Been there, done that!)

What to do with old lists

If you know you are dealing with data that is old and poorly managed, you need to pay particular attention to cleaning it before launching any large scale campaigns. Take the time to assess the quality of the list, and make sure to test it outside your email system.

However – if a list is more than three years old, you may want to consider starting fresh. There is a strong risk that your subscribers will have forgotten about you and will consider your new email campaign to be spam.

Do you want tips like these to your inbox? Sign up to the Hunting with Tigers bulletin and stay updated with hands-on marketing advice.

Marketing productivity

The keys to marketing productivity

Whoa – is it Wednesday already?! How did that happen?

Some weeks, the days just seem to fly by. And not in a nice way.

Each new day seems to remind me of all the stuff that needs to get done but somehow hasn’t been done. It makes me wonder how many other people are struggling with managing their time and staying productive in their marketing.

Get systemised

I recently did some work for a systemisation consultancy. Their job is to help people become more efficient with their time and money, by understanding the processes and systems of their business.

I was fascinated by how much I could learn from just listening to how they work with clients! There is so much cross-over between general business management and marketing management.

Marketing productivity

Think about it: Marketing shares many of the same productivity challenges as the overall business.

  • We have a finite amount of resources and time.
  • We need to make sure we are cost-effective and provide return on investment.
  • We can save time and energy by streamlining processes.
  • We need to make sure we use the right tools and systems.
  • We need to have a clear structure of ‘who does what’.
  • We need to measure and report on key metrics.

So, what can we do to make our marketing processes run more efficiently, and that we get better results from what we do? Well, quite a few things actually. Even if we don’t have a huge budget, we can still do a lot to improve.

Key one: Get clear on job roles

If you’re anything like me, you tend to do a lot of things yourself, because it’s “quicker than getting someone else to do it”. But the truth is – we lose a lot of time this way. How much do you do in a typical week that shouldn’t really be in your job description? Get an overview of processes and activities, and start delegating and outsourcing everything that is not a good use of your time.

Key two: Systemise your daily tasks

How much of what you do is stuff that you do over and over, on a daily or weekly basis? This is where you can save yourself a lot of time. Look at ways to structure and systemise that in a way that makes it quicker to do each time.

Here are a few tips:

  • Template everything. Even a simple thank you email or meeting confirmation. If you do them a lot, have a template ready at the touch of a button.
  • Pre-plan and pre-populate your blog posts and social media posts weeks in advance, and on a rolling basis, to prevent any “dead air” panic at the start of the week.
  • Have an “event box” ready to go for future events, with all the basic essentials that you might need for tradeshows or workshops.
  • Use checklists for all your weekly and monthly marketing tasks to make sure nothing gets missed.
  • Use productivity tools like SharePoint, Chatter and DropBox to communicate with team members – inside and outside the organisation.
  • Make a note of all bottlenecks and frustrations you see in your daily job, and take some time out each month to look at ways to improve or reduce them.

Learn from business management

These are just a few ways to improve the way you operate. But there is so much more we as marketers can learn from business management – so keep an ear open to what people are saying in other areas of business to see what you can pick up and translate into your own world!

What tools and templates do you need? Let me know if you have ideas for documents or templates that would help make your job easier. I’m constantly producing new tools and make them available here on the website and in the Facebook community.

How to nail a presentation

The two ultimate tips for nailing a presentation

It’s my first ever annual corporate conference at the US head office. Everyone is gathered in this high-ceilinged, carpeted theatre, expectantly watching the people making their way up on to the stage at the front.

One of those people is me.

I’ve been pulled up on stage by my interim manager, in front of the entire business, unprepared to speak. I’m knee-rattlingly nervous.

“Just give them an update on what you’re working on,” I’m told. It doesn’t exactly help. My words are trembling. How am I supposed to instil confidence in marketing when I can’t even keep my voice steady?

This was a horrendous experience, as it is for many other people who have a deep-rooted fear of public speaking. I know many people who hate presentations and get just as flustered as I do when asked to speak to a group.

Now, I may not have been given the opportunity to prepare that time, but I used that incident as a motivation for adopting a mini-speed-preparation process for unexpected presentations.

It consists of just two steps.

Step one: Breathe.

Step two: Focus on one single listener (ideally someone nice), and imagine that they really need to hear what you have to say.

What to do before a presentation

However, for those occasions when you do in fact have time to prepare, these are a few things to bear in mind to make the experience less of a terrifying rollercoaster ride.

  • Prepare, prepare, prepare
    This may sound ridiculously obvious – but preparation is critical. If you suffer from even just the occasional butterflies when speaking in public, you must have a plan for your presentation. Don’t assume that you will know what to say! Leave the ad-hoc for the seasoned professionals, and prepare your notes like a real person.
  • Know your audience
    Always be clear on who your audience is. What do you know about them, and what will they want to know? How can you best address their questions and pique their curiosity?
  • Focus on THEM
    One of the most powerful tools for overcoming confidence issues is by focusing on the listeners. Don’t let your presentation become a performance – that’s when the nerves kick in. Rather than worrying about how you look or stand, think about the audience. Focus on helping them, adding value to them, and being clear.
  • Be memorable
    If you want people to come away from your presentation with one important key message or fact, consider giving them the information in a way that is different. Use an item, a large sheet of paper, a piece of music or an image. All these things will spark up people’s memories.
  • Engage
    Some of the best presentations are the ones where the audience plays an active part. If you can get people to feel like they are part of the message, they will enjoy it more. If you can have some positive interaction in the room, it will help you feel more at ease too.Tip: If you’re worried about taking questions, try to get a couple of topical questions beforehand, that you can prepare answers to. This will help keep your confidence up.
Partner Marketing

A quick guide to successful partner marketing

Managing the internal Sales and Marketing relationship can be hard enough. Throw a partner pool into the mix, and suddenly you face a whole raft of new challenges. But is there a way to reduce the partner marketing headaches?

Relationships rule

I’ve always championed relationship building, both inside the business and in the ecosystem of partners, resellers, customers and other stakeholders. After all, we are human beings – and we all share the need to be heard and recognised. By focusing on maintaining positive relationships with the people you serve, you will be in a good place to listen to and understand them.

How flexible can you be?

In my experience, one of the best things you can do for a partner is to be flexible. Rather than churn out exactly the same one-size-fits-all materials for everyone, consider taking a more tailored approach wherever possible.
Rather than expecting the partner to conform to your routines and processes, try to work in collaboration and create marketing packages that correspond with the way they work.

It will stand you in good stead in the long run.

I remember one occasion when I was working with an IT consultancy. They had a number of strategic partners, but one in particular who was under a lot of sales pressure – and needed some materials for a call campaign quickly.

I had the usual library of partner marketing materials to offer. I passed across various documents like service overviews, brochures, white papers, case studies. They weren’t excited.

“These guys are quite a hands-on bunch,” the partner liaison explained. “I think they could do with something a bit more… practical. Could we work with something like a call script, perhaps?”

I hadn’t worked much with call scripts in the past, and my general view on them was that they often had a tendency to make sales conversations quite rigid. However, in this case, I could understand why the wanted one. They’d only had some brief training, and there was a bit of complexity to the services offered.

I set out to create a call script in the form of an intuitive flowchart, following the typical patterns of the sales conversation. There were gentle, guiding questions that would help clarify the key points – without putting clunky phrases in the mouth of the caller.

A week into the call campaign, I asked the liaison how things were going – and if they wanted to make any edits.

“Please don’t change anything. They love it!” he said. “It’s helping them qualify leads correctly – without having to know everything about the services. Can we do this for our other partners too?”

Internal Partner Managers

Relationships are everything. Especially when there is an internal Partner Manager involved, who is accountable for the partner’s contributions to the business.

What your stakeholders need to know is that you will strengthen the relationship with the partner, not damage it.

The best way to ensure you are focusing on the right activities is to ask the right questions.

Questions to ask

  • What can we do for you?
    Don’t wait for the partner to come to you with requests. Always aim to be one step ahead and show proactivity. If you are unable to give the partner what they request – or if there is a delay – make sure to communicate this to set the expectations.
  • What’s coming up?
    Keep a close eye on what the partner is planning, so that you are aware of what will be expected from you in the future. 
  • Is there synergy that we can build on?
    Always look to engage not only with Sales representatives, but with your Marketing counterpart in the partner’s business. Share your marketing calendars, social strategies and content libraries, in order to understand how you can work together.

Focus on the value

The more you know about the partner, the better you will understand how you can help to raise their profile – which they will be grateful for, especially if they are a small business and you are large.

Whatever you do, make sure you get the most partner value as possible out of one set of activities. If there are multiple partners on board, can you use and re-use materials for other partners?

(Just remember to be fair and avoid being seen as favouring one partner over the other when they are on the same level!)

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