Friends and colleagues,
I reckon if you had the chance you’d beat me like a rented mule’s red-haired step-mule.
Why? Because like me, you’re either a marketer or you’re directly involved in marketing and selling and you and I, more than other humans, are increasingly resistant to, yes, wait for it, marketing and selling. When these apparently black arts are practiced on us, many of us either don’t respond or resist passive-aggressively. I suppose that this makes sense. Chefs, especially the good ones, are often harshly critical of other chefs’ creations. But I’m writing you today, friends (and you too, colleagues), to suggest we change our ways. What we do has been complicated enough by “enabling”(ha!) technologies, overbearing procurement folks and sometimes ridiculous resource constraints (anyone here not doing what two or three people used to do?…). So next time you see an ad you like, a site you admire, a clever letter or an idea you appreciate, tip your cap to its creator, someone just like you trying to use creativity, common sense and grit to navigate an ever more complicated world.
Ok, before I serve up some tips and ideas from our surly band of archers, let me apologize to mule owners and gingers (as my son calls red-haired folk) who should be embraced, not beaten. On to the feast!
Tips and Topics
- A Call to Action About Calls To Action. This one, good people, is based on lots of testing. Your CTAs, those hot-links, buttons and/or icons that lead your audience to a next step, should either be shrouded in mystery, teasing a next step (e.g., “Click Here to Make All Your Wildest Wishes Come True”) or prescriptively, 5th grade clear (“Click Here to Get a PDF of the Briefing Now”). And if you must offer two options (p.s., don’t do this, but I know some of you do and will) make the choice binary (i.e., do this and this will happen OR do this and this specific thing will happen).
- Quality vs. quantity in digital videos and online demos. Like inserting additional fields in an online form, every 10 seconds added to a commercial video will increase abandon rates in almost direct proportion. So a 20 second increase in run-time will mean ~20% more starters will not finish your masterpiece. Those who get to the closing credits (and calls to action) will be more qualified, but there will be less of them. The point: be thoughtful about quality vs. length trade-offs. And be a more ruthless producer when you need to be.
- Slice and dice is nice. Instead of developing a long-form, Spielbergian solution video, consider 15-20 second scenes or chapters that make a short and sweet point. Then offer up these hot pockets in a menu. This is a smart way to exploit ever-decreasing attention spans and search engine algorithms that reward hyper-relevance. Want to learn more or see some examples? Send me a note and some faint praise.
- Net Productive Score for AdTech. This is a stupid-simple way to assess the effectiveness of the software solutions in which we’ve all invested so heavily in the last few years. Note the time a discrete process like executing an email nurture stream took before marketing automation. Subtract that number from the sum of installation time plus training and ongoing management. This will yield your NPS. If it’s a negative number, poke yourself in the eye. Kidding! But you do need to take a hard look at whether the promised “automation” is, in fact, delivering the promised efficiency, measurement and ROI.
- Try the Five Second Test. Nope, this has nothing to do with dropped food. Get 10 colleagues to look at your site like they would a retail storefront. Give them five seconds to scan the home page and form an impression. Then ask them to provide a list of their top three take-aways, covering content, design and usability. If you don’t see clear and recurring impressions, you likely need to revisit your branding and user experience.
- White space wipe-out. Yes folks, you can overdo the white space and Apple adulation. In an effort to make websites responsive, easy to use and in-bound friendly, some firms have stripped out too much content and substance. Use the Five Second Test to figure out if you’ve taken too much beef out of the burger.
- Meet my new friend, RankBrain. “What the heck is that, Bower,” you ask. In short, this is Google’s machine-learning artificial intelligence algorithm and is now Google’s third most important ranking factor. In short, it allows Google to better match inexact search words and string with the right content and/or result. What can you do to make friends with this robot which learns on the fly? Make sure your content aligns perfectly with what you do and deliver; then rinse and repeat monthly if you want to get a top three search result (since being on the first page is no longer the guarantor of success it used to be). All of this giving you a headache? Call us for some advice and aspirin.
- Never add an 8th tip. It’s like wearing white after Labor Day or facial tattoos; just don’t. Right?
Six new clients in tech, financial services and specialty chemicals. We didn’t get better looking so we must be getting smarter.
We’ve added a New Account Director, Digital Designer and Content Curator (ok, she’s just a really good writer, but the title sounds high falutin’) to our team. Like all of our archers, they have over 12 years of client-side and agency experience and can hit a target while blindfolded. More on these good folks soon.
You Know What You Did
Read the whole thing, that is ;-). And I appreciate that.
Thanks again for patiently indulging me. Have a great day!
P.S.: If, for whatever reason, you’d rather not receive these occasional notes, please let me know.
P.S. #2: Want to know why I don’t mass customize these notes through an email service provider like Constant Contact, MailChimp, Responsys or a CRM system? Ask me.