Most Recent Posts

Sounds Good: Choosing The Right Mic For Your Video

Sounds Good: Choosing The Right Mic For Your Video

Beyond • June 26, 2015

  News Flash: Onboard cam mics should never be used. Every pro videographer worth their salt recommends against onboard mics, and you should listen to their advice unless you really don’t have any other option. Although you shouldn’t plug a microphone every time your cat jumps to catch a fly, you should definitely use a better one when recording marketing videos. One of the most critical question that faces all marketing video producers is which microphone should you choose? Some of the flaws of the built in microphone are: Omnidirectional is horrible - Almost all on-board microphones record sound coming every direction around the cam. Although this could be useful sometimes, it will really hurt your business or formal video when you record sound coming from all over the room, bouncing from all the walls. This leads to increase in unwanted sound noise. Mic should be closer than lens - The microphone should be placed close to the sound source (usually a person speaking). The built-in microphones have been primarily put for the person holding the camera to talk to (usually narrating), not to have the subject put far away from you. Because of the distance between the individual doing the speaking and the microphone, you end up with additional room noise. Just like your picture focuses on the subject, your audio should be focused on him too. Hi quality cam but low quality mic - Even though the microphones are improving every day, the on-board ones are still lacking in quality compared to a dedicated microphone. This is mostly noticeable on HDSLR cameras. The low quality microphone can distort your audio, resulting in voice that sounds unnatural and flat. These are the primary reasons you should buy a cam that has an external mic jack. This will still allow you to record both the audio and video on the same device. Not only will you have less work while recording, you will also get rid of the hassle of synchronizing them together later on. Now that you have decided that you need a microphone, how do you know what microphone should you buy? There are three basic types of microphones used for shooting videos: Shotgun Microphone – This microphone eliminates all the flaws of the on-board mic. It can be placed very close to the speaker but still stay out of frame. The audio quality it provides is excellent, even with the mid-range shotgun microphones. The microphone is extremely directional, making sure you focus the audio on precisely the sounds you want to record, instead of recording everything. Handheld Microphone – This is the standard stick that reporters or singers on stage hold. Its advantages come from being small, easy to use and fast. All that it takes you to record someone’s voice is to point it at them. Change of subject? Just point it somewhere else fast. They are also pretty inexpensive for what they offer. But the cons come with its presence. You cannot hide the microphone from the frame without taking a very weird angle and it usually has to stay directly in front of the speaker in order to capture the sound correctly. Lavalier Microphone – This is one of the most versatile microphones available. Also known as a lapel mic, a lav mic or a clip-on mic, it is usually attached to your shirt. Since most of them are wireless and require no holding, it allows you to walk around and do any kind of gestures you want. This comes at the cost of having a poor sound quality while still paying a lot for them. But they are still very useful and should be a part of every videographer’s microphone kit. With this info you’ll have an easier time making the decision of your microphone. Most video marketing producers might need all three of them. If you are a bit more specific, you might get away with one kind of a microphone and then rent others whenever you need them. You’ll find that every city has a decent rental outfit, and you’ll need them as great equipment is the first step to great videos.


Read More
The Top 7 Marketing Video Production Tips

The Top 7 Marketing Video Production Tips

Beyond • June 25, 2015

Not all brands can afford an award-winning videographer to shoot their videos, so if you’re just starting out in the world of video marketing, follow these top seven tips for the best possible results! Avoid automatic settings - Get to know your DSLR or video cam and its settings and make sure they are exactly where they should be. Your primary focus should be ISO, aperture and shutter speed. ISO controls the brightness of the picture, meaning the higher it is, the brighter the picture. Unfortunately you do get more noise as you increase it, so your videos look grainy once you go very high. Setting it around 1600 ISO is good practice, but if the brightness is satisfying with lower ISO, don’t be afraid to change it. Shutter speed controls the amount of time the shutter is open, which translates into its exposure time. For optimum footage set this to 1/60th of a second and only adjust it when you know what it does to your videos. The aperture controls how much light enters through the lens, and you might end up experimenting with a more open or closed aperture for different situations, but generally speaking this setting should be left open all the way. Focusing - A very important thing when shooting videos is to have your subject completely focused with crisp details. Therefore it’s            not ideal to use automatic focus but instead to move the dials on your lens in order to get your subject in focus and perhaps everything else blurred. This does take some practice in order to be done correctly though and will take some testing… so get ready for trial and error time. Have great lighting - Having at least a semi pro camera will do nothing for you if the scene you’re filming at isn’t optimal. But this doesn’t mean that you have to go out and purchase even more additional equipment that you might not be able to afford. Natural sunlight is your friend and you should use it to your advantage as much as possible. If you need your own lighting, avoid orange lamps that offset the scene and the subject from their natural color. LED panels or lightboxes are the go to choice for an ideal setup. Lenses - Even though most of the DSLR cameras come with a lens kit that is ok for starters, you should go a step higher for a better outcome. Every bag should at least have a 50 mm 1.8 lens. It features a wide aperture that lets in a goodly amount of light, making it great for shooting in dark places. Also it has an excellent depth of field which allows you to focus easily, achieving the whited out background effect. Get a good microphone - Even though the DSLR cameras have their own built-in microphones, they’re nowhere near the audio quality you need as they are built exclusively for having some very basic way of recording audio with your camera and are almost always set up to capture sound from all around the cam which in most cases is precisely what you don’t want. If you are considering producing quality videos you should probably buy yourself a good quality microphone. (In my next article I\'ll get into far more detail on microphones for video production.) Write a decent script – Nothing is more frustrating than a script so badly conceived and written that your audience has no idea what’s going on in your video. Refrain from inside jokes and aim for the most horizontal appeal possible so that you don’t turn off your viewers… or they’ll turn you off! Get natural actors – A wag reviewing BBC/PBS’s remarkable Downton Abbey series recently opined that watching Maggie Smith in her scenes with Elizabeth McGovern was somewhat tantamount to having Anthony Hopkins act alongside a bored toddler. Your audience will swiftly grow disinterested if your actors are wooden and amateurish, so check local theatrical groups or other acting centers for the best talent you can afford.


Read More
The Top 12 Tips To Master Your Video Marketing

The Top 12 Tips To Master Your Video Marketing

Beyond • June 24, 2015

At a time when just about every brand is engaged in a video marketing strategy, it is imperative for you to stand head and shoulders above the rest in order to get noticed by an increasingly video-barraged consumer base. Apply these top tips to your video marketing and earn the right to be called a Video Master Marketer! Adapt for mobiles – Not everyone watches your video on a 55 inch LED TV. You have to be sure that the video still transmits your message and has all branding elements completely visible on tablets as well as the smaller mobile phones. Call to action – What should you viewers do after watching the video? If they just leave, you end up with a lot of wasted potential. Inspire them to visit your site, come to your event, watch other videos or subscribe. Give them an easy way to do that. Generate a lot of content – Once you get people to come, give them a reason to come back again. Having a lot of subscribers doesn’t mean anything if you don’t use them. Entertain them with an ongoing regular posting schedule of new videos. A research shows that more successful brands have up to 50% more content than the less successful ones. Have value – Your goal is to create a commercial that doesn’t look like a commercial. The viewer comes to watch your video because he wants to, not because he’s forced to. Make sure he finds the time spent watching your video valuable. Post HD videos – Even though it takes more space and wastes more bandwidth, nobody wants looking at low quality footage. That is the main reason why you should record and upload all your videos in HD. Everyone can then reduce the quality through various display options available to them if needed. Interact – The journey isn’t over once you get a big number of views. Don’t leave questions unanswered and interact with your viewers. The comment section is an excellent place for this. Keywords – If your marketing campaign doesn’t have a keyword, think of one now. Use that keyword in order to pull in additional viewers. Place them in the title as well as the description. Optimize for search engines – Websites aren’t the only thing that require SEO. Your videos also need to appear high on search results in order for people to watch them. Use your keywords in the description, title and tags to help your prospective audience locate your videos. The top 25% global brands focus strongly on video SEO and apply a lot of tags. Use playlists – With playlists, you can easily make compilations of videos of your as well as partner companies. It offers people more stuff to watch and can keep them interested in their brand. You surely don’t want people to have watched everything you have to offer and sit there doing nothing. Create multiple videos – One video cannot cater to everyone. Some customers will be interested in getting the basic and most important information in a short span, while others would want to get informed about the details and wouldn’t mind spending some more time. Create multiple videos in order to satisfy everyone. Find aneditor –  The times of searching for a professional videographer are way behind us. Even smartphones are capable of recording a video in high definition now, and all you need is someone who has basic video shooting and editing skills. Additionally, you can buy a semi-professional DSLR camera such as the Canon SL1 that is available from some etailers for just under $500. Find the balance between long & short videos – If your audience is already familiar with your product and/or content, feel free to provide them with longer content. But make sure there is something interesting for them to keep on watching. People rarely watch videos for more than about three minutes unless it has something thoroughly intriguing going on.


Read More
Harnessing The Power Of YouTube

Harnessing The Power Of YouTube

Beyond • June 23, 2015

Thanks to its enormous user base, YouTube has become one of the world’s most frequented website and the second largest search engine, only trailing behind Google. And with both being owned from the same company, the YouTube videos get even more exposure from Google’s search results, which provides the videos with even more exposure to searchers. These facts make YouTube one of the most attractive marketing choices available to any online marketer. 6 billion hours of video views per month More than one billion unique users visit YouTube each month and they watch 6 billion hours of videos monthly. The crowd comes from all over the world, with 80% of the traffic coming outside of the US. But even domestically, YouTube reaches more adults aged 18-34 than any cable network, according to Nielsen. This makes it very easy for a nicely done marketing message to go viral over the globe in almost no time. And it’s already being done. Some of the biggest brand average tens or hundreds of thousands subscribers and views going over 50 million. You have to fully engage your viewer in seconds Why videos though? There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, so if you multiply that by the number of frames in your video, you get the idea of how much you can express through it. A good video builds your brand’s awareness and disseminates links, creates conversations, boosts your SEO and most importantly, it engages the viewer. This only happens with good videos though, which means that you have to fully engage your viewer in the first bare few seconds of the video or lose it. A successful YouTube video: Creates conversations Encourages sharing Engages the viewer Gains trust Provokes interest Videos are shared 30% more than other types of content Sharing makes your effort worth it even more. Since videos naturally increase engagement and interest, it only makes sense that they get shared more. Videos are shared at least 30% more than any other type of content across all social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Websites that include videos in the mix alongside images and plain text will create more inbound links. They also cause the visitor to stay on your website longer, extending the visit time by an average of nearly a full minute. Successful videos answer the viewer’s questions The key to crafting successful videos on YouTube is to ensure that the content is entertaining and educational at the same time, answering the questions that the user has and would search Google for otherwise. Videos should be targeted according to your marketing strategy, but incorporate both: Localization - This is very important for companies that want to increase their brand awareness and get loyalty from their viewers. Globalization - It should be available everywhere, regardless of location or device used. It is very important that the video is watchable on any mobile device. The keys to proper YouTube marketing When engaging the power of online marketing through YouTube, your strategies shouldn’t solely focus on the video. A strong title, description and tags optimized with your campaign’s keywords are what help a video go viral. You can then bring additional exposure to the video through your email lists, company network and social media accounts. If that doesn’t do the cut, then you can advertise on YouTube as well. Yet another advantage of YouTube as a marketing choice is all the statistics and data you get. Marketers can easily analyze how effective are their campaigns, tracking metrics like views, likes, dislikes, favorites and channel subscribes. Good YouTube marketing: Embeds the video across other places, including but not limited to blogs, social pages and websites. Places the video in newsletters, press releases and other marketing types. Links to the brand’s YouTube channel in other places like print or PR materials. Tags the videos in order to have them visible on YouTube searches as well as other search engines. Uses text for content, surrounding the video with your relevant keyword YouTube is a remarkably powerful online marketing medium which major brands have successfully implemented to boost their engagement. Has yours?


Read More
The Top 7 Tips For A Flawless Online Event

The Top 7 Tips For A Flawless Online Event

Beyond • June 20, 2015

Your online event should adhere to the same standards as network news broadcasts. Every aspect of the image and audio is carefully manipulated to ensure that the viewer receives an optimal and consistent experience right through the entire broadcast. Similarly, your online event should aspire to the same levels of excellence as your attendees will judge you in an effectively identical manner. You want to ensure that your audience is focused on the event presenters and the content being displayed. Some of the primary ways to ensure that you are successful in this task include: Set up a stationary background – Nothing is more distracting than placing your presenters with busy goings on in the background, or in front of a window where passersby can distract your attendees. You’re going to be far better off crafting your entire event in front of an interesting but static background to keep your audience’s attention focused on the delivery of the content, not the activities behind which are irrelevant to the event. Use headset mikes – True, many people wearing headsets look a bit goofy in online events, but it is a small price to pay for the considerably heightened audio quality you’re going to receive. If you are absolutely dead set against placing your mikes half an inch from the speakers’ lips, then invest in renting or buying a state of the art cardioid microphone which will help minimize the distracting background noise. Review all visible clothing – The patterns and accessories in the clothing that is worn by the presenters and is visible to the online audience can severely affect the success of your entire event. Tight patterns can create extremely distracting swirling moire effects, and sparkly jewelry can catch the light and make your entire online event look like you’re emulating the annoying constant lens flares in the recent Star Trek movies. Stick to solids in darker, neutral colors with a minimum of bling and your audience will thank you. Rehearse the technology – How many online events have been marred by the presenter not knowing where to click on their laptop to provide the next slide, how to plug in their microphone, or even which way the camera is facing? Take a page from the Broadway theatrical playbook and make sure that you have a full dress rehearsal run through to make sure that technical ignorance is not going to dynamite your online event. Obtain professional lighting help – Lighting a scene properly is both an art and a science which is not easy to master and your online event has an inherent indisputable obligation to correctly light its presenters or the entire event will suffer. Ensure that your lighting does not create any unusual contrasts such as dark shadows under the eyes, nose, and chin, or washouts where lighting sources such as windows overpower the controlled lighting and make one side of the presenter’s face look like half of a vanilla ice cream cone. Back off from the camera – Far too many online events are conducted by presenters who believe that unless the camera lens is more than three inches from their nose then they are too far away. This excessive proximity provides a comical fish eye lens effect and exaggerates your visual expressions. This is all fine and good if you’re doing a comedy routine, but extremely counterproductive if you’re trying to portray authoritative and sober knowledge and information… however, the most important and critical factor is… Look at the camera naturally – It seems the majority of online event presenters have a deeply-rooted psychological problem which prevents them from making eye contact with the camera. When a presenter avoids eye contact it makes them look shifty and insincere and therefore immediately loses the opportunities to build trust with the viewer. Staring like a hypnotizing Svengali into the lens is just as off-putting, so your presenters should be comfortable engaging the camera with the same level of eye contact as they would at a business lunch. If you apply all these top techniques your online event will be a boon, not a bust!


Read More
Resistance To Video Conferencing Can Affect Your Online Event

Resistance To Video Conferencing Can Affect Your Online Event

Beyond • June 19, 2015

Way back before internet video conferencing I engaged a colleague in Europe to get involved in a joint project. All of the details were meticulously discussed for months over email and in countless long distance telephone calls. When every imaginable trans-Atlantic duck was in a perfectly straight row, I emailed him the contract which reflected the agreement and he replied that he will be happy to sign it… in person. So could I just jump on a plane for a mere 25 hours each way (including layover) and fly a 12,200 mile round-trip, just so we could shake hands and sign? Although videoconferencing is much more integrated into today’s business world and can help allay these “impersonal” fears, many individuals still don’t consider the 2D version of a meeting to be real enough, and this factor can seriously affect your online event! Considerable challenges faced by online event producers A white paper prepared for server, application, and desktop virtualization corporation Citrix entitled Boost Your Image: Master The Three Stages of Video Conferencing Success included significant findings in the field of people-based challenges faced by proponents of online events. The top two statements by a wide margin which were used to resist engaging in a video conferencing event were “inability or unwillingness to use new technology” and “entrenchment of the current way to do things.” This resistance is especially worrisome when viewed in conjunction with the statistic that online event marketers and producers expect to grow their own video conferencing frequency to 6.3 times per month, an increase of 211% from just a couple of years ago. So it seems that the more event producers want to set up video conferences, the stronger the objections from the entrenched detractors. Europeans are more accepting of video conferencing than North Americans Geography plays a major role in the adoption of video conferencing as a valid online event medium. While only 15% of all Europeans and North Americans have never used video conferencing, that percentage increases by 50% in the Asia Pacific region. There are many other variances based on continental preferences in dealing with video conferencing events and it seems that Europeans are considerably more accepting of video conferencing based online events than their North American counterparts: Europeans are 35% more likely than North Americans to state that video conferencing helps them communicate more frequently. Europeans also are 24% more likely to conclude that video conferencing can save time than North Americans. Saving the inconvenience of travel is claimed by 19% more Europeans than their counterparts on the other side of the Pond. Europeans’ greater acceptance of video conferencing events is counterintuitive If by now you have concluded that you might want to shift your focus on marketing your next online video conferencing based event to the other side of the Atlantic, you might find that you’re going to be welcomed a bit more than in North America. It seems almost counterintuitive. Europe has a much greater population than North America, and the distances between major centers are far shorter. On a continent where travel is much more convenient you might think that video conferencing events would be shunned more than in the North American “thousands of miles between primary cities” geographical situation, but that would not be the correct conclusion. The leader’s behavior is the primary factor in video conferencing event acceptance Some of the factors claimed by video conferencing event attendees regardless of geographical location to make them less likely to be involved in ongoing online events since they have rated these aspects “distracting or annoying” focus on the leader of the event. The primary complaint is when the video conference leader has distracting mannerisms or gestures, followed by being in front of a distracting or cluttered background, does not make eye contact with the camera, is poorly lit, and acts as if they are unaware of the other attendees. It goes without saying that video conferencing events have been proven to be effective means of communication among far flung participants, but the wise online event marketer should be aware that not all potential attendees are equally enthusiastic.


Read More
Adobe’s 2014 Digital Marketing Survey Reveals Keys To Success

Adobe’s 2014 Digital Marketing Survey Reveals Keys To Success

Beyond • June 18, 2015

Adobe’s yearly Digital Marketing Optimization Survey is as anxiously anticipated by many online marketers as Christmas morning is by children with visions of sugarplums (and iPads) in their eyes. In the years that Adobe has been publishing this authoritative resource, it has provided countless critical insights into the state of online marketing, and this year is certainly no exception with a wealth of key statistics which can help guide your campaign to ever higher engagement and metrics. Statistics of significant interest to all online marketers The 2014 version of the Adobe Digital Marketing Optimization Survey polled more than 1,000 brand executives from across North America, Europe, Africa, The Middle East, and Asia in a broad swath of organizations and industry sectors. The statistics which were generated by this comprehensive and up to the minute report are of significant interest to any online marketer anywhere. These findings include: The average conversion rate is 2.6% but 20% of top brands obtain rates higher than 4.5%. Automation increases brands’ average conversion rate from 2.6% to 3.6%. Involving multiple departments in the optimization process boosts the average conversion rate from 2.6% to 4.3%. Companies with a culture of optimization are able to double their conversion rate. The companies which receive the highest conversion rates spend more than 5% of their total online marketing budgets on optimization. The top converting companies are 43% more likely to use a broad range of targeting techniques. 75% of respondents claim that personalization is critical to their brands’ long term goals. 89% of all companies acknowledge that the use of customer behavior data for targeting purposes is increasing. Companies which are quantifying the improvement in the context of online sales or key website performance metrics via the personalization of their online experiences gain 19% more sales. 70% of all brands which have adopted testing are in the top 20%, while the bottom 80% includes the 54% which do not test. 91% of all brands who consider that focusing on mobile is critical to their cross-channel efforts are in the top 20%, while the bottom 80% includes the 33% who don’t consider mobile to be important. Mobile customers spend 400% longer in a tablet app and 250% longer in a smartphone app than on a website on the identical device. Global app downloads are on track to hit 300 billion (about 50 apps for every man, woman, and child on Earth) by 2016. These figures are well worth studying and analyzing in depth, as although cumulative results are not ever precisely linear, you can make a case that if you involve multiple departments and automate extensively, your average conversion rate could actually be boosted from 2.6% to 5.3%! The top 15 techniques utilized by top performing brands Top performing brands agree on the importance of various customer experience measurement and optimization tactics, stating that the top 15 techniques they rely on include: Website analytics – 89% Social media analytics – 53% Social sharing (icons on pages) – 47% Email optimization – 43% Customer reviews – 42% Mobile analytics – 40% A/B testing – 39% Onsite search – 33% Profile targeting – 31% Retargeting or remarketing – 29% Audience segmentation – 26% Onsite survey – 20% Multivariate testing – 17% Attribution modeling – 15% Automated recommendations – 13% Key takeaways on boosting your online marketing campaign results Some of the key conclusions that can be derived from these statistics for online marketers include: Determine your Key Performance Indicators quickly and rely upon them Let your clean and consistent data dictate your brand’s marketing priorities To benefit in the relationship-driven era of online marketing create unique, organic, and fully content-driven experiences Automate your efforts to ensure the greatest real time efficiencies Invest more in order to generate greater conversion rates Enhance your mobile e-commerce with geolocation data to serve up relevant location-based offerings You can never test, optimize and personalize too much! The extent and type of data which is included in Adobe’s 2014 Survey is meticulously collected and unwaveringly applied to logically and verifiably support these stated conclusions. The study is a treasure trove for all online marketers.


Read More
Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella’s 30 Best Tips

Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella’s 30 Best Tips

Beyond • June 17, 2015

I have made no secret of my absolute idol worshipping of one Dan Zarrella, who is known as the Social Media Scientist. In a field which is remarkably short of hard-nosed serious researchers cranking out reliable and verifiable scientific results, Zarrella has effectively adopted the mantle of the Einstein of online marketing. His superlative work in the arena of social media is that of legend, and it is always couched in layman’s language so you will never be confronted by a \"Chi Squared Test Of Homogeneity” “Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation Coefficient”, “Box & Whisker Plot” or “Kolmogorov-Smirnov Test” (is that for vodka?). Through years at the feet of the undisputed master of Social Media Science, I have been grateful for his bestowal of many precious pearls of statistical wisdom, and have collected what I consider Dan Zarrella’s top 30 tips to mastering and dominating every major social network (All times Eastern zone.) Tweets which total between 100 and 115 characters are 34% more likely to be retweeted. Asking “Please ReTweet” is 12% more effective than “Please RT.” Tweets with exclamation points get fewer clicks per follower but more retweets per follower. If you identify yourself in your Twitter bio as an Official, you’ll have over 200 followers more than the average. Twitterers with a picture set have 850% more followers than the ones which do not feature any images. Tweets which contain one or more hashtags are 55% more likely to be retweeted. Some of the best terms to use to boost your click through rate on Twitter are: via, please, check, rt, and @. Articles that mention Twitter obtain 230% more retweets than ones which mention Facebook. Using the word video will gain 28% more shares on Facebook, but 32% fewer retweets. Facebook posts with a high number of self-referential terms (me, I) get more likes. Posts which are either extremely short or long get more likes. Longer Facebook posts obtain more shares. Very negative posts get more comments than positive posts. The most shareable Facebook posts deal with sex. Now, is that really a surprise? The most shareable term on Facebook is: Facebook! Another non-surprise. The least shareable term on Facebook is: vs. Facebookers don’t like comparisons, apparently. Use a lot of verbs if you want more Facebook shares but avoid adverbs as they can cut your sharing rate by over 5%. Facebook posts which are written at a second grade elementary school reading level are shared more than 50% more than those written at sophomore university reading level. Likes peak around 8 pm and shares around 6 pm. Facebook posts on weekends receive more likes than those posted on weekdays. If you use digits in your article title you’re more likely to gain Facebook shares for it. The more you post negatively the fewer the number of your followers. The most effective posting frequency is every other day. If you post more than twice a day you’re chopping your page likes by 22%. The most connected terms on LinkedIn are: recruiters, networker, LION, monetization, connector, and salespeople. The least connected words on LinkedIn are: Jesus, pastor, makeup, technician, surgeon, and psychotherapy. Pinterest descriptions of approximately 200 characters receive more repins. The most pinned words on Pinterest are love, home, and things, but the most repinnable words are recipe, chicken, and minutes. Taller images are the most repinned ones. The best time to blog is 7 am, the best time to receive blog comments is 8 am, and the most views occur at 10 am. It pays to place an attractive photo as your primary image (Dan proves it with the one on his blog where he looks like a nerdy Chris Pine). If you are one of the very few social media marketers who is not a regular reader of Dan Zarrella’s work, now is the best time to jump on the bandwagon. You can bet that your competitors are absorbing each and every word!


Read More
The Double Edged Sword Of Subject Line Personalization

The Double Edged Sword Of Subject Line Personalization

Beyond • April 20, 2015

Personalization of email seems to be a darned if you do and darned if you don’t choice for email marketers around the world. While there are clear and undeniable advantages to having the recipient’s name in the subject line so that your customer fully understands at a single glance that this email is specifically intended for them, the problem is that it has become such an overused tactic by the less reputable emailers that it can smell of a huge mail merge which is the exact opposite of indicating that your brand actually cares enough about the customer to send them a personal missive. Walking the personalization tightrope can be a difficult balancing act but it can lead to improvements in your customer engagement if you do it right. Personalization can turn a dream into a nightmare There is essentially no real problem to personalizing the subject line of any email campaign newsletter or message as whether it is done in a direct personal approach manner or even if it’s just a field in a mail merge implementation. The impasse occurs when you run into the stigma of personalization which can turn an appeal strategy to the customer from a dream to a nightmare. It’s basic human psychology to halt at the sight of your name Spammers specialize in placing the name of the recipient in the subject line as they are well aware that it allows the customer to sit up and take notice. If they are swiftly glancing at their email inbox, it is inevitable that their eyes will stop at the insertion of their name into the subject line. It’s basic human psychology to recognize your own name when it is written down. The knock on effect can stain your brand’s reputation Where the spammers have to some degree ruined the procedure of personalization of subject lines is when they have indelibly connected that characteristic with the Viagra, Cialis, and other online scams. Of course your customer is going to be wise to the scam when they read their name in the subject line next to a pitch for prescription pharmaceuticals or offers to make $26,946.17 before breakfast, but the “knock on” effect of the wariness of online scamming can carry over to your own brand’s perfectly legitimate email offerings. Should you ban personalization forever? So… should you forever ban personalization of subject lines from your email newsletter campaigns? Not necessarily. The composition of your subject line, along with the information included in the preheader can actually turn a negative into a positive, as long as you take exquisite care in crafting this critical text. It is an old email nugget of conventional wisdom that any email marketer should take 50 percent of their time in composing the actual newsletter content and the other 50 percent of the time doing nothing more than refining the subject line and preheader text so that it is consummately attractive and encourages the recipient in every way to open and read the message rather than just hit the delete button or worse yet, the spam one. Strive to be as unspammy as humanly possible The key to making personalization work for you is to expend significant effort in having those critical bits of text speak volumes as to your brand’s intent which should be not to sell sell sell, but to establish a relationship with your customer where they see your business as an authoritative source of reliable and unbiased information about the products and services in your industry sector. Even if your call to action for that particular email is based on a discount, special offer, or price-matching scenario, you are well advised to save that for the body of the email, while concentrating on having your subject line and preheader focusing like a laser beam on the social and interpersonal aspects of your brand’s presence. Avoiding the semblance of spamminess in all of your personalization will help to convince the customer of your ethics and that will result in more sales than hitting them over the head with a hard sell driven naming strategy which could backfire!


Read More
Why Are Top CEOs Afraid Of Social Media?

Why Are Top CEOs Afraid Of Social Media?

Beyond • October 31, 2014

A recent report by Domo and CEO.com showed that while they are pushing their companies to establish new avenues of marketing, of course including social media, the vast majority of top CEOs are shunning the same social network participation that they are approving for their brands. Essentially ignoring the clamor from their companies’ social media followers and fans for direct access to their pearls of wisdom, an inordinate number of top ranked brand CEOs are steadfast in their refusal to engage their customers directly. What are they afraid of? 94.4 percent of CEOs don’t have a Twitter account The statistics are staggering and damning at the same time. An almost unbelievable 68 percent of all top CEOs have no presence whatsoever on any of the major social networks, and this includes Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and even that bastion of the C-Suite, LinkedIn. While the fact that more than two out of every three top CEOs fail the social media presence test, the figures get completely out of kilter when we analyze the number of CEOs from Fortune 500 corporations who have Twitter presences. Out of 500, there are only 28 who are on the microblog king of social media and a gobsmacking 472 who aren’t! That’s a rate of just 5.6 percent and that is literally unbelievable. One third of the few CEOs with Twitter accounts are dormant It’s actually a bit worse than that. Out of the 5.6 percent of CEOs who are Twitter users, only two thirds of them actually use their microblogging accounts on anything that could even be remotely be referred to as regular use. One third of them have accounts that are either dormant or nearly dormant, while some of them are outright fakes. For example, Warren Buffett recently tweeted “Warren is in the house” as his very first tweet and that was doubly interesting as it came from an account which had never seen a tweet previously as well as the fact that the account was one that had been previously believed to be a fake! It was another account which most of the media had assumed was Buffett’s real account (albeit dormant) which was the fake one. An inordinate number of fake followers When CEOs actually do start tweeting, the results are nothing short of spectacular. In the three hours after Buffett’s first tweet, he racked up more than 130,000 new followers. Some of the other CEOs who have also demonstrated that the power of the top dawg in the C-Suite is indisputable when it comes to racking up Twitter followers include Rupert Murdoch, Ralph Lauren, Marissa Mayer, and Larry Ellison. Another rather strange phenomenon is that a significant number of the followers of the precious few CEOs who tweet at all is made up of outright fakers. A remarkable 30 percent of all of Mark Zuckerberg’s followers exist only in digital form (and possibly in The Hooded One’s mind). Buffett’s own following includes 22 percent fakers, and his fellow Top CEOs Rupert Murdoch and Marissa Mayer are not far behind him with 20 percent and 18 percent faker ratios respectively. Google+ is widely ignored by CEOs Twitter is not the only social network to have a virtually infinitesimal percentage of top CEOs with presences on its pages. Google+ has done a miserable job of attracting Fortune 500 CEOs with just five! That’s just one percent with a presence on Google+ compared to 99 percent who are shunning the Googleplex’s social network outright. Even more damning is a CEO Information Consumption Report finding that fewer than 15 percent of all CEOs found that Google+ was in any way valuable in their work. This statistic is very surprising given that Google+ is the home of Google Hangouts which has been widely acknowledged to be a considerable productivity tool… everywhere but in the C-Suite it seems. It is difficult to determine the precise reasons for this widespread shunning of social media by CEOs. It could be lack of time, unwillingness to expose themselves to flaming, or outright fear. Whatever the reason, it certainly displays a massive hole in the universality of social media.


Read More
1 2 3 4 63