Translate Your Offline Success to the Online World

Translate Your Offline Success to the Online World

“I regularly hear members rave about our services, but engagement in our social communities doesn’t reflect this enthusiasm.”

“We offer online registration for all of our events, but the majority of people still prefer to call or come in to register.”

If you are a brick and mortar business, translating a successful offline experience to the online world can be a challenging task. The key to success lies in understanding the essence of your brand–what your target audience loves about your brand, product or service–and extrapolating that to an online environment.  Uncovering what motivates and delights your customers will help you evolve a digital strategy that will yield results.

Here are a few steps to get started:

1. Conduct research: Listen to your audience to understand the true value of what you are delivering and use the insights you uncover as the guiding strategy for building your online space. Talk to a wide group of people in a number of different settings and conduct ethnographic research. Try to step into your audience’s shoes to understand their motivations, thoughts and feelings. Focus not only on what people are saying, but why they are saying it and how they feel about it.

Tip: Asking open-ended questions allows people to steer the conversation and elaborate on their personal experience. Above all, listen closely and it will lead you to valuable insights.

2. Analyze feedback: Segment your interview responses and research observations into what your customers find frustrating and what they find delighting, especially as it is unique to your organization.

Tip: Be sensitive to where your audience is on the technology adoption curve. Is your audience on par with general trends or is there something unique about the group? For example, you may find that while your audience may be tech savvy and comfortable on mobile devices, they prefer to use technology only for staying in touch with family and not for the type of service you provide.

3. Develop a strategy: Determine your goals with respect to what you want your audience to do and match them with the digital tools to make that happen. Pairing the right tools with the behaviors you desire will help create the type of community you want. For example, if you want people to share your events and get their social circle involved, implement click and text to share functionality. If you want members to register for events online, create a clear call-to-action.

Tip: Once you have developed your strategy on a tactical level, identify the right KPIs to measure user actions against goals and collect data. Regularly monitor user paths, measure success and consider refinements.

Listening to your audience is the only way to really understand what motivates their hearts, minds and actions.  Being able to deliver the same brand experience they love in the offline world by leveraging online tools to streamline processes, encourage the discovery of new and wonderful aspects of your business, and personalizing their overall experience, will help you translate your offline success to the online world.

Read more on obtaining valuable customer insights.

Website Makeover: The Before and After

“Going into the website redesign, we did not have a clear vision of what we needed, but Mambo was able to guide us through the process of creating the optimal solution for our audience within the confines of our budget.”Rob Warmack, VP Market Development, Compli

When planning a website redesign, it’s important to evaluate the target audience, the desired user experience, and the strategic goals and objectives of the website. Our client, Compli, a compliance software company, approached Mambo Media to update the current look and feel of their website, and implement features that could capture, nurture and convert sales leads.

Take a look at the before and after transformation of the main sections of Compli’s website!

Website redesign

Website redesign Website redesign

With the continuous shifts in technology and design, a website’s life span is typically 3-5 years. In order to stay optimized for search your content must be timely and frequently updated, and to stay ahead of competition, design and navigation should be prioritized on the user and your ultimate business goals. So, how do you know your website it ready for a revamp? Here are a few quick hints that you’re in need of a change:

  • Your website is not mobile friendly
  • Content is outdated or limited
  • Your web pages are slow to load
  • Your important content consists only of Flash
  • You have high bounce rates on key pages
  • Users are confused when trying to find what they need
  • Your website doesn’t have call to actions
  • Your social icons aren’t highlighted
  • There are too many different colors and fonts
  • Your design is cluttered
  • You’re not really sure what the purpose of your website is

Let Mambo Media modernize your website and give you a tool to take your business to the next level!

Click here to read more about modern web design.

Increase Social Advertisement Efficiency with A/B Testing!

 

A/B Testing for Social Media

Today’s social media profile users are inundated with posts, tweets, and messages, content and of course ads. So how do you break through the clutter? How do you capture enough attention to get users to click on your content, your ad and finally how do you get them to convert or take a desired action?

Simple, you optimize everything! Although best practice will help you create a better post, tweet or ad, it won’t allow you to completely optimize it for your audience. The only way to truly optimize is to create and implement an A/B testing strategy. For those that are less familiar with the concept, an A/B test allows you to run two ads concurrently where only one element is different. Although it’s tempting to test multiple variables at one time, these types of test, multi-variant tests, are actually more difficult to understand and optimize as it could be one or a number of variables that compel the user to convert.

So how do you set up an A/B test?

First consider what you could test.

Here are just a few of the options to consider (but remember to choose only one!)

  • Type of advertisement
  • Headline
  • Copy
  • Graphic
  • Placement of elements in the advertisement
  • Call-to-Action

Second, create the first advertisement using best practice information (how would you create the ad if you weren’t going to do an A/B test?). Then consider what one element you will change, and what that small change would be.

An example would be to test a call-to-action. First create a hypothesis: example – changing the color of the call-to-action will draw more attention and drive a better click through rate. As you’ll note, we did not say change the button entirely. Again the point is to change only one thing, if you were to change the color and the text you wouldn’t know which piece drives more conversions over time. But if you test just the one element, the color of a call-to-action, then over time you’ll be able to note that your audience responds better to that specific variable and can incorporate that winning element in your next campaign.

Over time and with multiple A/B tests you’ll be able to optimize the various elements of your advertisements to drive higher conversions rates and return on investment (ROI). If you have any questions please feel free to comment or contact us to see how we can help you optimize your social media strategies. Happy testing!

Click here to read about 6 Keys to Effective Community Management

Mambo Wedding Bells

Do you hear the wedding bells?

Our Digital Media Specialist, Amanda, got engaged during her vacation in central Oregon last weekend. Amanda started at Mambo through our Digital Marketing Internship Program in 2013 and was hired after her WSU graduation this January. Her specialties include inbound marketing, email and software implementation.

Heading into her vacation, Amanda had no idea her boyfriend of four years planned to propose. While floating down the river they approached a bridge where their families were waiting holding signs that read, “Will you marry me?” Stunned and surprised Amanda leapt out of her inner tube, falling back into the river to find Brad down on one knee.

A Mambo wedding is in the works and we couldn’t be more thrilled!

 

Ready, Set, Action: How to Plan For and Create a Video Library

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and presents a powerful, personable way to connect with your audience. With 50% of visitors using it to watch business related videos and 75% of users visiting the marketers’ website after viewing a video, it is the prime platform to share valuable content related to your brand. So how does one harness the power of this search engine? By creating a video library!

Here are 5 questions to consider before embarking on this expensive and time consuming venture.

1. What do I want to accomplish?
Articulate what you want to achieve through the video library. Do you have upcoming campaigns that would benefit from video assets? Are you trying to flush out content gaps on your website? Are you releasing a new product that would benefit from a video tutorial? Asking these questions first will help you create a framework for the process and better help you achieve your business objectives.

2. Who am I trying to reach?
Did you know that 90% of marketing respondents use video content and prefer it to whitepapers, case studies, free trials and eBooks? Consider your audience and what needs or pain points you are trying to address. Identify and segment your audience for the overall library and for each video to help craft and deliver your message. Define the primary objective, key messaging, and success metrics for each video. At this time it is also helpful to consider style: for example, will it be more effective for your audience to hear a scripted message or a conversational interview? If you are unsure of what style to consider, take a look at how your competitors or similar organizations have approached the issue. Look for what speaks to you, and be sure of what you want before starting any shooting.

3. What do I want to say?
Identify a theme that relates back to your overall project goals. In a robust library each video offers unique insights and perspective to address a variety of audience needs. For example, a college creating videos for prospective freshman might include testimonials from current students, interviews with faculty, and highlight campus wide events to showcase their engaging and unique freshman experience.

4. How can I be efficient?
Creating a video library is an expensive and involved process. Identifying and consolidating efficiencies across videos, setting clear expectations, and being prepared for the unexpected will help limit cost.

  • Set expectations: Be mindful and up-front about what your budget constraints are for both shooting and editing the library. Allocate your resources toward what is most valuable and relevant for your goals. For example, if music is not the most important but is still a consideration there are plenty of websites that give lots of options at a cheap cost. When defining expectations for the editing process consider how many stakeholders will be involved, the number of reviews that will be acceptable, and set limits accordingly.
  • Create a formula: Set parameters for style, tone and music across a group of videos to cut down on post processing decisions and edits.
  • Build a shot plan: Identify all the shots you need and consider shots you may already have (from a previous campaign or library). Is there anything you can re-use? For example, if video 1 and 5 need B-Roll shots of people walking then you only need to capture that scene once.  Some detailed questions to ask include: Do the shots need to be indoor or outdoor? What does the set- up involve? What does the weather need to be like? Do we need to include people? Cars?
  • Prepare: On the day of a shoot prepare by mapping out locations, checking for weather changes, anticipating and allowing extra time for last minute challenges. If your video has a lot of moving parts, give yourself enough time to get the material that you need. For example, you may only need 10 seconds of people walking down the street but it may take 30 minutes to get a good shot. If you are interviewing people build in extra time make sure you stay on schedule. Request interviewees to come 15 minutes early so they can get oriented, and prepped. Allow time for nervousness, rambling, and finding that perfect sound bite. Be mindful of who you are working with and adjust expectations accordingly.
  • Edit with discipline: The most popular videos on YouTube are less than 2 minutes in length, so be aware of the most critical information to include. If you are forced to decide between adding length or cutting content, you should probably cut content.

5. How should I share my library?
The answer to this question varies on what type of content you are sharing and what you hope to accomplish. If you want to share valuable product information like specifications, tips and tricks, and how-to tutorials then it would be beneficial to create a library where all of your audience segments can find the information most useful to them. However, if you are planning on using your videos in a campaign, you may want to plan a slower and more calculated release so your audience feels like they are getting a first glance at new content.

Video content provides a powerful way to connect with and pass on valuable information to your audience on a platform that most emphasizes a person-to-person connection. While creative a video library can be an involved process, being prepared and asking the right questions can help you minimize stress, delays, and help you create more impactful content.

To learn more about the importance of visual social content click here.

Blink and They’re Gone: Everything You Need to Know about Effective Homepage Design

The typical visitor only spends 3-5 seconds on a site before deciding whether or not to take action or move on! A homepage is your company’s first impression in the digital space and is responsible for clearly communicating your message and value proposition to all users. So what can you do to make the most of your short impression window? Take the time to design a homepage that will make the best possible impression and continue to offer value to all of your users.

The 7 most critical elements of a great homepage

Load time: A homepage that loads slowly creates dissatisfaction, leads to frustration, affects your search rankings and reduces conversions. Within four seconds 25% of visitors are likely to abandon a site, and 80% of those visitors will not visit again. A page that is slow to respond (more than 1 second) reduces conversions by about 7%. Would you really want to lose 7% of your online sales revenue because of a slow website? To speed up load time carefully consider your site structure, graphic content size and ensure that your caching system is optimized.

Organization/Navigation: Navigation should be clear, simple and efficient. Tailor the structure of your site to anticipate and accommodate your target audience. Make it easy for your users to find what they are looking for, and eliminate any hassle associated with lead nurture or completing their path to purchase. Interestingly, visitors spend 80% of their time looking at information above the fold, so create a hierarchy and prioritize accordingly.

Content: At a quick glance, users should be able to understand what your company is all about, what you offer, how you are unique from your competitors, and where to navigate for further information. While detailed information may be most appropriate for secondary pages, homepage content should be clear, concise and easy to scan. Headlines are particularly important as they help people find what they are looking for. In fact, the majority of users scan headlines before deciding where to click, only 20% actually read the first paragraph. Homepage content presents a valuable opportunity to connect with your user personas. Implementing a conversational tone, avoiding jargon and adopting an inclusive style (‘we’ instead of ‘you’) are all effective ways to accomplish this.

Calls to Action: CTAs are critical to your lead generation and conversion efforts. They should stand out, be easy to find, clearly written with action-oriented words, and specific to your offering. Calls to action direct your users and help answer their most burning question: “What do I need?”

Visual design: Visuals are a great tool for explaining complex ideas, setting the style for your page, communicating your brand’s culture, and creating a unique experience for your visitor. However, when used incorrectly visuals can slow your site, distract visitors from your goals, and create confusion. When using visuals on your homepage remember that clarity trumps complexity.

Credibility: At the most basic level your homepage should take users where it promises to. Broken links, non-existent content and missing pages reduce a visitor’s trust. Beyond that, the homepage should help visitors decide why they should choose you over other options. Including customer reviews, testimonials, privacy policies, trust seals, etc. are a great way to do that.

Responsive Design: It’s no secret that more and more people are browsing sites on mobile devices. Regardless of industry, mobile visitors are here to stay. 33% of mobile research starts on a branded website and mobile browsing is particularly high in the e-commerce sector with 4 of 5 consumers using smartphones to shop.

Test, test, and test: Testing will provide you with critical feedback on whether or not strategies you implemented are working the way you want them to. After putting in so much time and effort it is tempting to treat your homepage like a finished product, but periodically testing your site, vetting through the data in Google Analytics and implementing the corresponding findings will help ensure that your homepage stays in fighting shape. By mastering these essential elements your homepage will stand out not only because it meets your users’ needs, but because it allows visitors to transcend the minutiae of hunting for information and be delighted by the experience of finding it.

For great examples of homepage designs from different industries check out this article by Hubspot.

Learn more about mobile design and website design.

How to Use SEO to Optimize Your Website

Have you ever wondered how search engines such as Google or Bing are able to return results that are so close, if not exactly what you were looking for? This is all made possible by Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO can improve the visibility of a website on free search engines (Google or Bing). Search engines will display results that they consider to be most relevant to a user’s search query. There are many components that contribute to increasing a website’s SEO to improve that website’s search engine ranking. A high ranking will make it easier for people to find your website on  search engines. Here are a few SEO tactics to consider:

  • Research keywords to find what terms people are using to search for your website and those of your competitors. This will help you identify your industry’s most impactful keywords.
  • Conduct a competitive analysis to search your competitors’ websites to discover new keywords.
  • Add “long tail” keywords or tags. With the advancement of search engines the user is also getting wiser. No longer do people only search for one keyword, but instead three to four.
  • Ensure basic keywords are present in title tags, meta-description tags and headline tags. They should be unique to every page so content is not repeated. Photos and videos should have tags as well.
  • Be sure that your content is not duplicated on your website. This has a negative impact on SEO ranking because it confuses search engines.

Understanding SEO is central to having a thorough digital marketing strategy. Finding and implementing ways, such as the ones listed above, to optimize a company’s SEO is beneficial not only for clients, but also digital marketers. Remember that SEO tactics are constantly evolving as search engines change their algorithms. Understanding these changes is key to maintaining a successful and reputable online presence, as well as a thriving business.

Read here for tips on free tools to enhance your content and SEO strategy, or click here for a recent blog on using Google+ for SEO gain.

Branding Yourself for Success

In today’s competitive digital marketing industry it is important to set yourself apart from others, especially when striving for that promotion you want or seeking your dream job. When résumés become redundant, employers look for something that goes beyond words on a page. This is where creating and maintaining a personal brand becomes crucial for success.

 When seeking a job in the digital marketing industry, your personal brand is very important, as it can show employers that you understand and are active on various social media channels. It is also important to show that you are able to build and maintain your brand before you are hired and assigned to aid companies do the same. Building your personal brand isn’t easy. It is a big time commitment.

The first step in creating your personal brand is by conducting a self-SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis. This will help you identify and understand more about your internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats. By treating yourself as a competitive business, the SWOT analysis will help you succeed and reach goals and opportunities that you set for yourself.

Similar to product branding, it is key to identify yourself as the brand, in order to be effective. Here are six simple steps to follow when creating or building your own personal brand:

  1. Set goals and objectives – When setting goals and objectives, be specific about what you want to achieve. Do you want to strive for that account manager position you’ve had your eye on? Or perhaps become the VP of Digital Marketing?
  2. Background – Do some research on what previous people in your position did to be successful. What can you learn from these people? Were they successful or did they encounter issues along the way?
  3. Setting the tone – How do you want people to view your brand? What industry would you like them to associate it with? What type of professionals do you want to catch the attention of?
  4. Current situation – How do people perceive you now? Why do you think this is? Are there any obstacles you have to overcome? What potential issues could arise? What could you do to improve?
  5. Game plan – Set a timeline for yourself. How are you going to implement your ideas? How are you going to maintain the changes you’ve made for yourself? It is important to keep in mind that you’re not only adjusting or changing your online presence – these can be tangible or intangible changes.
  6. Maintaining and managing your brand – This is not the final step, because you will be continuously carrying out this stage. Revisit your initial goals. Did you accomplish what you set out to achieve? This can be as simple as making sure how you portray yourself online and on your résumé is accurate to your personality and abilities.

For digital marketing, the crucial platforms to improve your online presence are ones that potential employers can easily find you on, such as LinkedIn and Twitter. LinkedIn is one of the most powerful social media tools when building your personal brand in the digital world. It allows you to network online and build a professional community that may be beneficial to you, as well as allow you to help others. Make sure to constantly reach out to others and connect with them, as well as update your profile frequently and make sure it is 100% completed.

Twitter is also a great tool in building your personal brand because it allows you to follow industries or companies of interest. This social media tool also allows you to engage with other users, which can be instrumental in getting noticed. Tweeting stories or articles in your field of interest also adds to your personal brand, as they show colleagues or potential employers what intrigues you and can also show your level of knowledge on the topic.

Read Mambo’s previous posts about branding in today’s market and Millennial business etiquette.

From Data to Design: How to Create an Infographic in 5 Easy Steps

Last month in our blog ‘Showing is Better Than Telling: How to Use an Infographic for Engagement’  we talked about the powerful way infographics add context and story to data, and how their irresistible shareability make them ideal for digital marketing. Today we are going to delve into the process of translating raw data into clear and relevant visuals.

There are three key ingredients that must be balanced in any great infographics recipe: visuals, content and information. Finding a compelling way to organize and show information can be a very confusing and overwhelming task. Here we have simplified it into 5 easy steps to help your creative process!

5 Step Process

1. Research: Your research parameters will determine the richness of the story presented in the infographic, therefore it is important to get a well-rounded view of your topic. Ask probative questions and try to understand the why and how behind the information. Make sure to identify relevant, reputable sources and collect as much raw data as possible.

2. Sort: Once the collection phase is complete it is time to begin sorting the information. Naturally patterns and groupings will begin to emerge and you can begin to create a hierarchy. At this stage it is critical to transform the data into digestible and compelling insights so you can begin crafting a narrative. For example, instead of identifying the amount of product you sold last year, show the relationships between your different consumer groups and their purchasing trends. Each section should have a tight, digestible piece of information that either builds upon or is related to the information around it.

3. Sketch: It’s time to start telling the story! Pull out a sketchbook and try different ways of organizing the information. Skeletons and flowcharts can help you begin to identify relationships and flows. Consider what format best suits your information type (see previous post), and try different color schemes. Remember to focus on the story first, and think about fancy graphics and text later. It is better to be clear and simple than overwhelm the user with loud graphics or wonky text.

Key elements to define at the design stage include:

Theme graphic: A central eye-catching graphic that serves as a visual ‘topic statement’.  This should answer the question: what is this infographic about?

Hook: This is the focal point of the graphic and visualizes the main takeaway. It is the visual equivalent of the ‘a-ha’ moment.

Reference graphic:  Simple icons that cut down on words and help to guide the story. For example: social buttons, arrows, symbols etc.

4. Test: Great design is an iterative process. Having different people look at your work will ensure that your ideas are being communicated clearly and effectively. Since mobile internet usage is projected to overtake desktop internet usage this year, be sure to assess your infographic on many different devices.

5. Share! Include calls to action, relevant links, and sharing options.

Additional Visual Tips

  • Choose 2-3 web safe colors that are either on brand or thematic. Picking the right color combination can be tough, so using a color wheel tool like Color Scheme Designer can help with identifying analogous and complementary color groups.
  • Limit the use of dark and bright accent colors to highlight the most imporant visual information
  • Since most social sites and web pages use white backgrounds, avoid this in order to stand out.

For more Mambo posts on infographics click here or here

Social ROI and Dating – What Do They Have in Common?

We have all been in a relationship that ended and later wondered: what happened? What could have I done better? This is also the case with many relationships between brands and consumers in social media. An organization may start the dating process with their audience and unbeknownst to them, something goes wrong. They do not know why, and more importantly they do not know how they can do better next time.

A chilling statistic: A recent study by Altimeter Group found that 70% of businesses think that social media could meet business objectives but only 43% had a solid strategy on how this could be accomplished. Sounds like broken relationships and heartaches waiting to happen!

Regrettably, the first experience that many companies have with Social Media is “Negative Social Media ROI.” Consumers have become used to receiving bite sized on-demand information about everything, including your brand. Sometimes this can work against an organization as fast, incomplete information is shared in conversations around social media that can mislead customers or, worse, even offend them.

So what is the first rule in finding a healthy relationship and a “Positive Social Media ROI?” Be thoughtful, pay attention and treat others with respect. This is how the love story goes:

The Introduction: Laura meets Jeff – possible customer meets the brand. This can happen in a conversation with one of their friends or it could be a sponsored ad that reached them and sparked their curiosity. With so much information available, interest can come from many different places.

The Flirting Phase: Laura thinks Jeff is cute and Jeff finds Laura interesting – customers are interested in your brand but in no way committed to being brand advocates. At this point we measure Followers & Likes. We should measure any indication that they are interested.

Dating: Laura and Jeff start having long conversations and walks on the beach – you are establishing a relationship with your customers and notice repeat visits. At this point we are looking at engagement and consumption of content: are they interested in what you have to say? Are they sharing your content with their friends? We now have potential qualified leads, they’ve given their contact information by downloading white papers, subscribing to your newsletter, etc. We are now more than just friends.

Serious Dating and Possible Engagement: Jeff and Laura know they want to be exclusive – your leads just became qualified leads – they visit your site, they look at prices. Somebody is about to pop the question.

Will You Marry Me?: Purchase is realized and revenue is generated.

This is the journey that many customers will take with your brand, but not all interactions will end up in marriage. Some consumers lose interest in your brand along the way. How do you avoid this?

Choose the right platforms for your target audience

• Track, analyze and optimize the data. Why are people dropping off? Is the content interesting? Is the message appropriate? Is the timing correct? Conversions are the key number to look at – the percentage of people that went from one step to reaching your ultimate business goals.

• Assign the right cost. Social Media ads are a direct cost to your business. However, even if your channels are not utilizing ads or boosted posts, there is time involved in correctly managing all of these channels, account for that cost.

Leads are generated through increased interest. It is up to the brand to convert these leads and adapt the strategy so that, in the end, leads become customers and revenue is generated. Social media is excellent for increasing awareness, generating buzz and getting the word out, but most importantly when tracked and analyzed correctly, social media can generate real measurable ROI just the same way a good dating experience may become a successful marriage.

For more information on listening for customer insights click here.

TEAM MAMBO