Conversational Commerce #convcomm Rules in 2016

Conversational Commerce

Let’s start by defining what conversational commerce is.  Conversational commerce, #convcomm, involves users interacting with businesses through media and chat apps like Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Talk.  It is a term coined by Chris Messina the man behind Uber and he has publicly announced that 2016 will be the year where conversational commerce will come of age.

So how does it work?  Conversational commerce combines commerce (an interchange of goods or services) and customer service.  No more browsing and searching but be able to get your order done during a conversation.  “Smart cards”  are used and inserted into the conversation to help you complete the order and the payment process.

The idea behind #convcomm is that most users now spend a large amount of their time sending messages via chat apps and on social media.  In 2015, the number of  users on messaging apps had surpassed those of social media networks. Why not integrate businesses into these apps?  Uber and Lyft have now integrated with Facebook Messenger and SnapChat is expected to be the next app allowing businesses to unite with the messaging platform.  This allows users to save time by no longer needing to switch apps, search services and enter payment details over and over again.  Millennials are attached to their devices and conversational commerce brings the shopping experience where they’re already spending most of their time: messaging and social media apps.

What does this mean if you own a business?  Get ready to have conversations with your customers.  #Convcomm allows an opportunity for businesses to provide convenience and build relationships with their customers!

Email Marketing vs. Direct Mail Marketing

What is the best way to reach customers?  Email or direct mail?  This is a constant discussion we have with new prospects and existing clients alike.  In our opinion, email is a far more effective way to gather leads and lock in sales.  Here are some reasons why email marketing is a great option for your business.

1) Cost and Time Effective – Email is cheap and in most cases free with options like Chimp Mail.  If you want to reach a large number of people, this is a fast and cost effective option.  Not only are you able to reach your audience quickly, but they can also reply within minutes; compared to days or weeks with traditional snail mail.

2) Email is a great way to get quick insight from your clients.  People love to share their opinion and in the marketing world email is a great way to ask your audience what they want and get quick answers!

3) Email is trackable.  Unlike snail mail, with email you can analyze information such as open rate, clicked links and conversation details.  This can be extremely helpful as you grow your business in order to see what is really working to engage your audience.

As with everything, there can be some down side to email.  Gathering good lists can be hard and the environment can be overwhelming with spam flow.  Emails also need to be relatively short which can limit creativity.  When starting off don’t be afraid to use both email and direct mail at the same time to see what works best for your business.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering what is best:  Is your communication time-sensitive? Are you working with a budget? How much information do your prospects require? Do you already have a good mail list for one method or both? Have you asked your current customers to join your email list? Are your customers online?

If you are considering a direct mail campaign, or doing email marketing, we would be more than happy to go over the pros/cons (relative to your business) with you in person.

Does Grammar Still Matter in the Digital Marketing Age?

Simply put, YES!

I am not naive to the fact that much of our written communication these days takes the form of emojis, abbreviated words and sentences, LOLs and hashtags.  Actually, we communicate through written text more today than ever before thanks to technology. We spend the vast majority of our day-to-day lives emailing, texting, blogging and on social media.

So why do grammar and punctuation still matter? Poorly written materials riddled with bad spelling and punctuation can make the author come across as careless and lazy, which can be off putting to current and potential new clients. It undermines your credibility and professionalism.

Not only does it make you appear less professional but it also impacts your brand. When you write content, it is a direct reflection of you and your company/brand. Once you put something out there in the digital sphere, it’s there forever. Grammar and punctuation mistakes may make people question the accuracy of the content and, therefore, your work.

Proper grammar and punctuation help with the clarity of your message–the better the grammar, the clearer the message. Therefore, it will be more likely that the message’s intent and meaning will be better understood by your target audience.

I’ll admit, with a background in journalism, I might be a little more sensitive to grammatical mistakes than the average bear.  With that said, if I’m reading something and stumble upon a spelling or grammar error, I immediately render that material non-credible. It makes me cringe and I want to fix it.  These days, proofreading seems to be highly underrated but it is the easiest, fastest and most effective way to avoid mistakes.  Reread your work or have someone with a fresh pair of eyes take a look at it for you.  It will only take a few minutes and will save you the embarrassment of producing sloppy work.

At least for now, being scrupulous in your writing reflects well on you as a professional and as an individual.  And it may help set you apart from the competition.

If you’re not sold, take grandma’s word for it–punctuation (and grammar) saves lives!

– Amber Gust, Digital Marketing Consultant, Social Boom

Squatty Potty: Get A Crap Ton Of Hits On Social Media!

Are your social media campaigns trending in the right direction?  Can you get 10 million views in two months??  Squatty Potty did!!

Hats off to the creative geniuses behind the marketing of Squatty Potty!  I mean really, while you may never want to eat ice cream ever again, it’s a small price to pay for healthy and consistent bowel movements, right?  Sometimes the campaigns that take off are borderline brilliant and disgusting all at the same time.  Since launching this viral sensation it took only two months to get 10 million views, fast forward to three months later and it’s at almost 20 million views and has become one of Amazon’s #1 Best Sellers in the Potty training category.  Ain’t that some shi*!?

It’s a challenge to market something that makes people feel awkward or uncomfortable so how do you remedy the awkwardness?  By adding more awkwardness!  The company approached it’s audience in a comical way and eased the tension on a topic that’s not so copacetic and BOOM, success!

To quote Squatty Potty Marketers:  “The modern day toilet is convenient, but has one major fault; it requires us to sit. While sitting to do our business may be considered “civilized”, studies show the natural squat position improves our ability to eliminate.

Hey, it’s basic anatomy, who are we to disagree?

So again, kudos to the creative geniuses at Squatty Potty for making undeniably one of the most brilliant social media marketing campaigns of all time.

Social Media For Small Business – Three Phases To Consider

Social Media For Small Business

One of the most frequent questions that we get from potential clients is, “How do you get your current clients so many likes, followers and engagements on their social channels?  We put content out there all the time and no one ever reads it.”  Well, there is no secret sauce, however when thinking about a social media strategy for your small business there are three phases that all businesses should consider.  And here’s the kicker, most people never get to phase two, let alone phase three.

Phase 1: The Content Strategy

So you have your Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels created…now what?  Well, first things first, you need CONTENT!  Content is still king when it comes to social media and SEO.  Without good compelling content there can be no online conversations.  When developing your content strategy always consider these questions: What’s the point?  Will my audience care?  Is this something they will/would talk about?  Once you have come up with your topics, now you have to think about frequency.  Do you really want to post on Facebook as often as you would tweet?  Do you think your audience would go insane if you posted six videos a day?  In other words, use common sense to figure out what you should post and how often these messages should go out.  We suggest creating a monthly content calendar that visually lays out when your content will be going out on what channels and what you will be talking about.

Pro Tip:  Be CONSISTENT!  Don’t take a week off from social media…if you’re going to do it, DO IT!  Being consistent also means creating a sense of expectation within your audience.  Do you do a monthly contest, or release a weekly video?  Something as simple as #TestimonialTuesdays or #FunnyFridays, if done consistently, can lead to higher levels of engagement from your audience.  We bet people will start to talk about your consistent messages offline as well….you’ll see!

Phase 2: Social Media Advertising

Once you have a grasp on your content, the next phase to consider is the advertising phase.  The big social media companies need to make money, right?  Because of this we have seen a major shift, especially on Facebook, to the “pay to play” mentality.  Did you know that when your business makes a post on Facebook that only about 3-5% of the people that “LIKE” your page will actually see that content in their newsfeeds?  Simply put, Facebook now wants businesses to “boost” their posts (with money) in order for their message to be more widespread.  Make sure you have allocated a budget for “boosting” your content posts so that you can reach a larger portion of your audience, and beyond.

Do you sell a product or do you offer discounts off of the services you provide?  If so, you might want to consider creating offers that people can redeem right from their timelines, newsfeeds and boards.  The best part about social media is that consumers offer up so much information about who they are and what they are into that the targeting possibilities are endless.  We work with a company that sells “Back To The Future” memorabilia and you can bet your bottom dollar that we targeted those ads towards anyone who “LIKES” that classic motion picture on Facebook.  In the wedding business?  Why not target all of these people everyday that change their relationship status from “single” or “in a relationship” to “engaged”.

Phase 3: Social Interaction/Engagement

So now your pages are flooding with awesome content and you are gaining new customers/clients hand over fist because of your social media ads…so now you’re done right? WRONG! It amazes me how many times I hear “No” when I ask businesses if they actually talk to their audience via their social media channels.  Honestly, 90% of businesses don’t even monitor their messages or comments when it comes to their social properties.  So now you know why you never get a response when you message a business on Facebook, because no one is looking!  I am going to say this loud one time, THE WHOLE POINT OF SOCIAL MEDIA IS TO BE SOCIAL!!!!!!!

The number one way to grow your Likes and Followers on any social media channel is to talk to people.  If I am running a DJ company that wants to book more corporate events it would make sense that I start interacting with more businesses in my local area right?  People love it when you listen to their social cues and take action on them.  You know you get warm fuzzies when someone comments on or shares a post you made on Facebook, don’t lie!  Well so do other businesses and so it is time that we all make an effort to actually talk to each other instead of constantly shoving a bunch of content in each other’s faces…you will be fascinated by the outcome.  The last thing I will say about this is that people are having hundreds of conversations every day about topics that pertain to your business, so you need to enter into those conversations.  Use tools like Instagram and Twitter hashtag (#) searches to find these threads and join in!

So now you’re overwhelmed right?  Don’t worry if you feel like you will never have time to get all of this done…that’s why we are here!  Feel free to contact us and we would be more than willing to help you out in any capacity.