Another week has passed and a large amount of helpful articles landed in my email inbox. I thought I would diligently finish that entire ridiculous pile in my office while on vacation. Clearly, I was deluded. I only succeeded in walking around it and feeling pangs of guilt. Here is a selection across a range of topics of the ones I did conquer.
As someone who is a little nervous about commenting on others' blog posts, this was a great list of suggestions. I would assume it is best to use my own name versus that of my company's and that actually reading the post is required. But I had no idea I should have at least three sentences in my comments. I'm stuck on 140 characters and advise parents to limit their nagging to this length since I've learned that kids turn off after about 120 anyway.
Building on the previous article, this one is about one of those "duh" features. It makes you wonder why we didn't have this ability before. Well, you actually could post as yourself but you had to go to the admin section to select the option. Now you just have to click on the little arrow head in the upper right corner. Several people pointed this out to Hubspot in the comments on this post.
Regardless of the debate as to whether this feature is "new" or just "improved," let me warn you now. I can guarantee that I'm going to get overwhelmed with ten deadlines at once and post something as the company which will be better issued under "personal." I'm just saying.
Speaking of having too much to do, was this really necessary, Twitter? Now that LinkedIn users can't automatically sync their tweets to publish on LinkedIn, I'm basically going to post on LinkedIn so my messages go out to my Twitter followers. The social media platform that makes my life easier, rather than changing things constantly, is the one that I'm betting on to win in the long run. Is it wrong to wonder whether anybody actually asks users what they want?
This was a good refresher on design for email messages and I receive my share of ugly, poorly written email messages. Ironically, many of the worst I get are from Affinity Express competitors in one specific segment. The simple fact that I'm receiving the marketing messages of these companies is bad enough but then they embellish with multiple fonts, centered text (!) and barely understandable copy.
In contrast, I get regular emails from Overstock.com and like them. The frequency feels right to me, the subject lines display fully and, although there are several images, they are properly optimized and the overall design is clean and organized. The same is true for Barnes & Noble because the subject lines pique my interest, tie in with holidays for gift ideas and promote the coupons I want.
At Affinity Express, we try to keep our email messages consistent, including the date each month they are sent, the type of content and the layout. There is a comfort level that is established because we consistently deliver what is expected.
We've debated about this in Marketing and with the Website Team at Affinity Express. From a personal standpoint, I completely agree that you need to reduce the number of required fields. I don't want to give you a ton of info until you prove that I'm going to get value in exchange. In fact, I just begrudgingly filled out an online form to compare home security companies and got five phone calls inside of three minutes. All of them repeated back the details of where I live along with a few other facts and it was creepy.
From the professional perspective, I understand the value of getting more detail so you can qualify and customized your response. What we try to do in Marketing is compromise. If you make the attempt and fill in a couple of fields, we'll write to you and ask for additional details with concrete reasons why we need them so you can make an informed decision and continue to engage. It takes the conversation from a brief form to two people and builds trust gradually, as the article suggestions in lesson #2.
This was a good reminder to stay focused on why your company exists so you can set website goals, develop your SEO strategy, connect with new customers, nurture loyalty and retention, attract and acquire talent, build industry credibility and demonstrate the values of the business. We're going through this process right now as Affinity Express refines our positioning and messaging.
When I was asked by the team what are the next steps, I explained we need to answer some key questions about who we are speaking to, how we describe what we do and which differentiators we want to stress. It seems very simple the way Outspoken Media frames it out. Of course, it really involves making some brutal choices and living with them. However, the alternative of being all things to all people and trying to prove it is overwhelming and ineffective in most cases.
How cool of HubSpot to share some of their worst marketing mistakes! I'm just not that evolved. Nevertheless, Unmana would tell you that I have been guilty of publishing a blog post on the wrong day. Tinna might say that I'm dangerous around distribution lists. Not that I'm admitting to anything, but I enjoyed reading about blog, email, sales, website, webinar, social media and other problems that people have been committed because the article didn't include me. Plus, it reminds us all that this kind of stuff happens.
If you worry about it, you won't strive hard and dream big with your marketing. I'm not saying you shouldn't test, plan for issues and check your work thoroughly. But I think you should spend more time on creativity and meeting goals than on covering your back.
If you have sources for consistently great marketing advice and insight, please share them. Even when articles are essentially refresher courses on things I already know, I enjoy the fresh perspective of talented marketers and get energized by their ideas!