Exciting things are happening for us in Marketing at Affinity Express these days. This week, we have been welcoming a new team member: Marketing Manager Kriti Adlakha. It reminds me that every time the team changes, there is an opportunity to rethink roles, schedules, tactics and more.
This was my mindset when scrolling through the latest collection of articles and blog posts.
With a team of three people, it may not seem like a big deal to prepare extensively and have formal processes for a weekly meeting. But this article gave me a chance to think about what I can do to improve our sessions.
I always have a list of topics and distribute project lists for the week so we can discuss them. And we talk about our respective projects, challenges and accomplishments.
However, I'm going to start jotting down a brief agenda so the team can see it in advance. Plus, we haven't been discussing metrics every week and that should certainly be part of our conversation. Despite being in the middle of a very busy time of year, there's no reason why we can't make improvements to the way we function as a team.
When it feels like you are being hit by a wall of requests, it can be hard to tackle the tasks that have to be done consistently and at regular intervals. I'm fortunate to work with great people that prevent me from missing things (okay, I admit that sometimes the pace is so fast and furious, even they can't help!). This Hubspot post inspired us to immediately start drafting a schedule for our tweets, Facebook posts, LinkedIn updates and so on. I especially like the Content Repository because it facilitates publishing a balance of content, rather than always sending links to blog posts.
The advice in this article is pretty straightforward and was quite customized for Robert Middleton's business, but it serves as a good reminder to map out the goals, target market, desired results and resources for your projects. You can't be effective without have an objective and measuring against it. You're going to hear this suggestion again in a few lines.
We find this practice of creating one-page plans invaluable, especially when there are multiple team members involved across departments and countries at Affinity Express. It's also a great way to update your supervisor. Recently, when I was asked a question by Ken, I provided him with the write-up of my client satisfaction measurement program. In one quick email reply, I was able to give him a complete view and address all his questions.
We are constantly looking for ways to add visual content to our print materials, presentations and social media, so I enjoyed this set of ideas that is mapped out by the medium. I think we do a solid job of having relevant images on our blog, especially when we talk about ads for different business categories and holidays. We also share on Facebook photos of employee events, recognition ceremonies and community outreach efforts.
Where we could stand to improve is on Pinterest and YouTube. Fortunately, we just shot a couple of days of video that will allow clients, potential clients and potential employees to see our facilities, programs and team at work designing various products like websites and rich media ads.
I almost sprained my wrist when I clicked so fast on the link to this article! We don't think our company is boring at all but there are times when I find myself describing it at a cocktail party and see people's eyes glaze over. Apparently, working for a B2B, services company is not as cool as working for Google, Facebook or an apparel manufacturer (employee discounts!).
That's why I was so nervous about starting with social media and having to publishing content. I asked Unmana at the time, "What could we possibly post that anyone would want to read?" Thankfully, she is pretty persistent and it wasn't long before we were on our way.
We did not have the benefit of this article at the time but we generally followed its advice. For one, we tried to provide tips and advice on various subjects, such as essential marketing activities, and those have been our most popular posts. We also get specific on holidays, product types, marketing tactics and other subjects versus trying to cover everything at one time and appeal to everyone. And we write like we talk--I just ramble less.
The Hubspot post also suggests using humor, finding a relatable angle, making content visually digestible and telling your story visually. It's easier said than done but we definitely see higher views and more sharing when we adhere to these tips.
I don't know what it says about me, but I like reading the mistakes other people make. In this post, a few errors resonated more with me.
2) Traveling on the same path as before: I agree that we have to keep optimizing for the marketing environment today. What you did five years ago or even last year will not deliver the same results now.
3) Failing to continually monitor marketing programs: fortunately, we've made strides here but it has to be a constant focus. It either requires the use of tools or a commitment of time. But I think you can manage it by focusing on the important metrics.
4) Ignoring frequency: I agree that finding the right timing is critical. We've found monthly e-newsletter complemented by one or two satisfaction surveys per year and occasional special announcements work for our audience. But a retailer would probably go out of business communicating with prospects and customers only once per month!
7) Being unprepared: this goes back to The Right Way to Implement a Marketing Plan.
How are you going to choose the best tactics and measure effectively if you are not clear on what you want to accomplish?
My last (and favorite) article is this one because it is a guest post by Unmana Datta. You've heard a similar point twice before in this post but it bears repeating: to make content marketing effective, you need to figure out your marketing goals first and how content can help achieve them. This becomes your content marketing strategy. As part of the strategy, you should include the purpose, audience, kind of content, form of content, vehicles and methods of generating content to be complete.
It sounds elementary but I can tell you from experience that pulling it together is not--and I had the benefit of working with the author! One thing I would add is that the content marketing strategy is always changing and evolving. You can't document it and come back to dust it off in a year.
I hope you enjoyed the articles that I'm passing along this week. Feel free to share some of your favorites with me!