All posts by Charles

Psychology Tricks That Can Positively Influence Your Ideal Customer

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Writing copy to boost conversions is not something that comes easily without practice.

There are a number of things to consider when undergoing the task of writing copy. And the things outlined in this week’s post are NOT necessarily things you may have considered before…

Let’s talk about psychology-based copywriting tips. Tips that make your words latch onto your reader’s subconscious, which solidify the connection between you as you become the best provider of the solution to their problem… and thus the only logical choice.

First of all, your copy needs to be coherent. That’s a given. However, to make sure your words and syntax tally up to keep the reader interested and your connection strong, you need to include things I like to call ‘Coherence Flags’.

coherence

  1. Coherence Flags

These are ‘connections’ within the copy. They connect ideas together for the reader, which prevents them from getting overwhelmed or simply bored when reading your copy.

Here’s an example from Nick Kolenda’s Psychology & Marketing article:

Your skin’s natural oils keep it silky and supple. As you age, it becomes less elastic and the production of oil slows down. Aging can cause dull, dehydrated skin.”

“Your skin’s natural oils keep it silky and supple. But as you age, your skin becomes less elastic and the production of oil slows down. That is why aging can cause dull, dehydrated skin.”

Read those aloud and you’ll catch my drift. The second phrasing is much more intriguing and interesting than the first. Coherence Flags are casual reminders within a sentence or paragraph that keep the reader on track, and (if you’re encouraging them to buy your product or service), more likely to choose you as the solution to their problem.

2. False Truth

The false (or illusory) truth concept keeps our brain from becoming overwhelmed with day-to-day decision-making by providing a smooth, easy alternative. Simply put- repetition matters.

humans-love-repetition

The more you reiterate the same concept within your copy, the more accurate it becomes in the mind of the reader, thus causing them to invest their belief.

This isn’t just about truth and lies… this is also a direct link to the know, like and trust elements of our relationships, or connections with our customers. Repetition also solidifies TRUST.

The next time you write a piece of copy, repeat the phrases you want your readers to BELIEVE and invest their time (and money…) in. Keep doing what you can to strengthen the connection between your words and your reader’s psyche.

  1. Positive Energy

This first tactic can be used by ANYONE if they want people to think about them in a positive manner. Even dentists use this as a calming mechanism when conversing with their patients (particularly the nervous Joes).

Your customer’s name.

Kolenda states that as human beings we have “implicit egotism, a natural tendency to be self-centered”, and so when we are addressed with our own name, we become naturally drawn to the source and thus more likely to pay attention.

Using your customer’s name when addressing them directly in your copywriting efforts will trigger positive energy, which engulfs your entire pitch and is proven to enhance the message you’re sending out.

One quick way to incorporate your customer’s name is in email subject lines. Say you’re sending an invite to your next Webinar, and the event takes place the following day. You could have the subject line as “Join me tomorrow, “~Contact.FirstName~?” When people look through their inbox, they are more likely to open an email that contains their name in the subject line.

positivethinking

Another way to evoke positive energy is to offer freedom.

Sure, you’ve already got your OFFER, which is what you’re trying to sell using these psychological tips in your copy. But you can make something I like to call a ‘ghost’ offer; FREEDOM.

When your customers have freedom to choose, they feel less pressure, and are thus more reasonable when it comes to making buying decisions.

Typical ‘freedom’ phrases include:

It’s entirely up to you…

It’s your call!

The decision is yours…

Does [OFFER] meet your needs? You decide.

Can [OFFER] do this for you, too? That’s up to you…

People like to be completely in control of where they send their money. By appealing to them on a personal level AND giving them choices, you’re onto a winner.

  1. Rhetorical Questioning

We learn about rhetorical questions at a young age, but I cannot stress how important they are when you’re trying to strengthen the connection with your customer. They work. All the time.

They’re devious little phrases that jump out from the shadows acting all innocent in their endeavours, when in actual fact they’re accelerating the persuasive, trusting nature of your copy by miles.

They generate an immediate response from the reader by causing them to question themselves.

This isn’t a bad thing; human beings love questions. It’s weird.

Questions provide us with a narcissistic opportunity to clarify MORE about ourselves.

In your copy, rhetorical questions like ‘do you ever feel unappreciated at work?’ get us thinking, and we are more likely to read on to find out what the copy suggests as a solution (if the answer is yes, of course). Rhetorical questions can always be less specific, such as ‘do you see what I mean?’ (the reader then thinks ‘do I?’ and peruses the content AGAIN to make sure they do).

thinking_edit

In his Innovation Insights article, Josh Little says; Beyond being fun, quizzes are helping people simplify a complex world, understand their place in that world and convey their personal narrative.

The bottom line is, questions increase engagement.

  1. Texture

If you harness the power of textural adjectives, you give your copy more than just ‘body’. You give it physical ‘touch’. Want your words to grate your reader like sandpaper? Throw in a ‘coarse’ or ‘rough’.

In Kayleigh Moore’s Entrepreneur article, she explains the fMRI data collected from experiments shows that activity jumps in the somatosensory cortex when textural metaphors are used—but is quiet when literal meanings are used in their place.

This where you can consider the ‘surprise’ element of your copy. Surprising your readers with a textural adjective will trigger a better response than a bland colloquialism that they would probably be expecting anyway.

There are countless psychological techniques that you can apply to your copywriting. As long as you harness the above correctly and avoid overcomplicating your prose, you’ll definitely start seeing a difference in the response your copy generates.

 

Source: Dan Kennedy

If You Missed It: Google Webinar on Monetizing the Customer Journey Now On Demand

Milestone and Google co-hosted a webinar titled Get the Most Bang for Your Buck out of the Customer Journey on Wednesday, May 17. The recorded webinar is now available on-demand for those that may not have had the opportunity to attend.

“Digital marketers are busy, we realize that, and the webinar was a huge success, filled with highly informative content and key takeaways,” said Milestone Vice President of Marketing, Walter Paliska. “We wanted to ensure anyone who was not able to attend has an opportunity to see the webinar at their own pace,” continued Mr. Paliska.

The Milestone/Google webinar focused on three key areas of the customer journey and how it relates to your business:

Micro-moments in the customer journey
The Google and Milestone teams discussed the customer journey and the micro-moments that are associated with hospitality consumers. They also shared critical data on consumer behavior as it related to travel, how consumers choose their hotel and their use of technology.

Strategic takeaways related to the moments
Milestone shared strategic insights at each of the micro-moments to help hoteliers put the micromoments
data within the context of marketing strategy and gave examples of some of the
techniques hoteliers could use to leverage the consumer customer journey.

Real-world examples
The webinar also provided the audience with an opportunity to learn how Milestone clients have benefited from strategies and technologies presented and how they were able to boost conversions, ROI and direct revenue by optimizing their spend in the customer journey.

Watch the webinar on-demand now
Milestone would like to invite those who could not attend to watch the complimentary webinar on demand here


Source: Paid Search

Don’t Stop After One Email… Follow The Rules Of Engagement!

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In the best interests of your business, your marketing follow-up strategy needs to tick a number of boxes. The real money is in the follow-up. As a business renegade you need to focus on more than just your product and its sales… how you reach out AFTERWARDS is also crucial to success.

Bob Stone once said, “A follow-up to the same list within 30 to 45 days will pull 40% to 50% of the first mailing”. HOWEVER… sometimes, the follow-up can outstrip your initial sales efforts!

Here’s four pointers I think are important to consider when implementing your follow-up process.

  1. Relationships

Building long-lasting relationships is key to any business in our over-competitive marketing world. Simply having ordinary testimonials and case studies makes this difficult, because they are both quite impersonal.

You could send your customers social proof that increases the value of what you’re selling, such as video testimonials. Teach your customers about your business THROUGH success stories, and you’ll guarantee they’ll start coming back to you for more.

Calls work, too. When people can hear your voice, they are automatically drawn to you. Videos are more personal because people get to put a name to a face AND a voice.

video-testimonials

We always remember the ‘know’, ‘like’ and ‘trust’ elements of building customer relationships.

Following up with people on a personal level adds to each of these three elements, which boosts the value of your products and YOU as a business owner.

By considering this point, you can extend your customer relationships past the initial monetary exchange for the product. Who knows- further down the line you may hold a special offer, and the people who you spent time following up with could be the first to click ‘buy’.

Brainstorming Brainstorm Business People Design Planning

  1. Direct Mail

If you’re sending offline follow-up, take our founder Dan Kennedy’s advice and DON’T re-fashion it this way:

It never makes sense to me to denigrate your message by putting it into a “junk mail” format”.

A traditional envelope will do the trick. Humble, handwritten envelopes work, as do quirky wax seals and ribbon, and of course you want to make sure your direct mail stands out from the rest of the pile on the doormat. Size-wise, 9”x12” tend to work best, and also 6”x9”.

A white envelope is hard to beat. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to beat it, because if your envelope doesn’t get opened, your package doesn’t get read…“—Malcolm Decker

A spam letter opened with the contents on display

Think about it- how many times have you personally ignored an envelope addressed to you? Envelopes outperform other mail a staggering 80% of the time. Even if your recipient picks up their pile of mail and your envelope falls out, you want to ensure it isn’t left on the floor, or immediately discarded.

You don’t necessarily have to be offline for your whole campaign, either. A customer may have bought from you online, but sending an offline follow-up could solidify your relationship with them on a further scale.

And vice versa; your sales letter may have gone out in the mail, but your follow-up could be an automated email sequence.

The possibilities are endless.

  1. Q&A Option

No matter how thorough and concise you are in your sales efforts, there will always be questions customers have that you can’t cover initially.

Why not follow-up with a ‘Q&A’ process? If you have a customer care team, this can work perfectly to your advantage because your customers will feel able to reach out and find out more, they’ll receive personal treatment and thus will be more likely to remain a loyal customer.

For example… your customer buys your product. Wait a couple of days, and then send out an automated email that ‘checks in’ to see how they’re getting on.

Make it clear that if they have any further questions, they must feel free to contact your customer care team.

q-and-a-event-professional

  1. Most Importantly…

Nurture your growing fan base, or leverage an affiliate/membership system.

If you’re following up with people and building all these solid relationships, why not create a place for them to interact?

At GKIC we have a Membership program AND an Affiliate program. Our Membership spans over Gold, Diamond and Platinum tiers, for savvy marketers who want to get the very best out of themselves AND the GKIC learning experience.

Our Affiliate program gives marketers a chance to boost their income and success rates by selling GKIC products, which lets them profit from our founders’ high-profile reputations, ongoing support and perks such as weekly mailings and competitions to help them stay on top of their game.

gkic-logo

So there you have it, food for thoughts during your next campaign setup. DON’T hold back on the follow-up, as you can guarantee it will outstrip your original sales pitch at some point!

Source: Dan Kennedy

Milestone Launches Customer Communication Initiative

Milestone continues its tradition of excellence in education this week. Kicking off our customer communication initiative was global marketing expert Bill Hunt, his reputation in the SEO industry is unmatched and he has been a long-time partner to Milestone, working closely with our product teams and our customer success organization. He led the team in an extensive two-day discussion focused on effective communication for non-linear themes such as omnichannel strategies. At Milestone, we recognize that many of the strategies we recommend may seem confusing and we know that explaining what we mean well, concisely and effectively is key. Bill worked with our team this week on creating that compelling story that explains the benefits of omni-channel strategies, while removing the complexities.

Bill has also been working with our customer success teams in identifying key opportunities in digital marketing strategies that align with our clients’ corporate goals and objectives and how to continue to effectively utilize the confluence of organic and paid search strategies by identifying opportunities between organic and paid search strategies. Key parts of the sessions focused on the role of OTAs in the digital marketing mix, and on how to map strategies to our customer needs as the market continues to evolve.

Ongoing training from some of the best in the industry is one of the key reasons that Milestone continues to be the leader in digital marketing software and services for hospitality, retail and finance, our customer success teams continue to evolve and stay ahead of the technology and marketing curves, to put themselves in an ideal position to serve our customers in the best possible way, which of course, in the long-run, is why we are in business..

About Bill Hunt

Bill is the President of Back Azimuth Consulting, which focuses on helping companies understand the Voice of their Customer via their cloud-based keyword data mining and management platform, which aggregates keyword data into a single web-based application enabling marketers to quickly identify actionable insights into the interests and needs of their target market while helping to eliminate inefficiencies and missed opportunities. Clients include many global brands such as HP, Cisco and the entire portfolio of Pernod-Ricard.

Bill is considered the top thought leader on Global and Enterprise Search Engine Marketing and is an internationally recognized search marketing speaker having spoken at conferences in over 30 countries. Press, industry analysts and corporate leaders frequently seek Bill’s advice to effectively leverage Enterprise and Global Search Marketing and Social Media strategy.

Bill Hunt with Milestone – Chicago Customer Success Team

 

Milestone – Santa Clara Customer Success Team


Source: Paid Search

Google Launches Local Events Search, Milestone is Right There with Them

Yesterday Google announced a new feature as part of their mobile search results capabilities. Mobile users can now find local events happening near them by simply searching for them on Google. This capability is a continuing effort to make mobile devices more beneficial to users as mobile usage by consumers continues to soar.

The new local events feature relies on Google identifying sources of local events data from websites that have events calendars enabled, and that are properly tagged with the relevant schemas. Milestone customers are already benefitting from this new feature if they have Milestone’s Event Calendar feature enabled on their website and populated with local events.

“Staying ahead of the trends has always been a huge priority for Milestone,” said Walter Paliska, VP of Marketing for Milestone. “We were there when schemas became important, we were there when Google AMP was launched, and we are right there now with local events.”

Milestone customers who have purchased and deployed the Events Calendar don’t need to “do” anything to have their properties included in search results. In fact, in preliminary testing conducted at Milestone, our clients are often appearing on page one of local events searches being conducted on mobile phones, simply through the event data that is already posted on their websites. As consumers continue to expand their usage of mobile devices, having access to events and things to do in their area is critical to a successful experience. Location-based businesses like hospitality companies, banks, financial institutions and retailers can take advantage of these opportunities to not only solve real-world problems for their consumers, but also to create exceptional experiences for their customers.

Screenshot of search results for Milestone client The Abbey Resort in Fontana, WI.

Milestone customers who don’t have the Events Calendar feature on their website can add this capability easily by contacting Milestone at 1-408-492-9055 or by email at [email protected] Location-based businesses that are not Milestone customers are also welcome to inquire about moving their properties to Milestone to benefit from advanced technologies like Local Events Listings as well as the myriad of other technological advancements that have made Milestone a premier provider of digital presence solutions for location-based businesses.


Source: Paid Search

New Tutorial: Advanced Electric FX! 100% AE

In this 3-in-1 Tutorial we get the high-voltage action! This massive 56 min tutorial has so many tips and tricks you are sure to learn something new!

Techniques:

  • Direction Lightning Movement
  • Dynamic Reflections with realistic falloff
  • Sub Surface Illuminated Clouds
  • Interactive Lightning bolts
  • Nice Soft Glow recipe
  • No extra Plug-ins needed! 100% After Effects!

Project files and footage coming up! After I gets some sleep!

Source: Video Copilot

Electricity Tutorial Teaser!

Solving some interesting problems with Lightning and Electricity! Watch for the tutorial on Tuesday!

Had a great time at NAB, Adobe has recorded my presentation, will be posting that soon! Thanks to everyone who stopped by, can’t wait to show you all the stuff we’ve been working on!

 

Going over to Present at the Adobe Booth! If you are at NAB, please drop by at 2PM!

A post shared by Video Copilot (@andrewkramer) on Apr 24, 2017 at 12:03pm PDT

Source: Video Copilot

Milestone Wins Hermes Creative Awards for Exceptional Web Design

Milestone, a leading provider of digital marketing software and services for hospitality, retail and finance, won two platinum, two gold and one honorable mention for client websites at the recently announced Hermes Creative Awards.

The Hermes Creative Awards are an international competition for creative professionals and agencies. The Hermes Creative Awards are administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals and recognize the highest standards of excellence in traditional and emerging media and honors individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievement.

Milestone’s visually compelling custom website designs are created by an award-winning team with extensive website design and digital marketing experience. Built with Milestone CMS, a next generation cloud-based content management system architected for high performance, consumer-facing web sites. This platform has been built around three core principles: speed, mobile first capabilities and compatibility with modern search technologies like voice search and machine learning. Milestone websites are fully responsive, with user-friendly navigation and are designed to drive conversions and generate higher ROI.

The following website designs were chosen for recognition:

Platinum Award: The Chase Park Plaza (http://www.chaseparkplaza.com/) – an historic, luxury boutique hotel located in downtown St. Louis

Platinum Award: Grand Solmar Land’s End (http://www.grandsolmarresort.com/) – a luxury Cabo San Lucas resort at the ocean’s edge

Gold Award: Seaport Boston (http://www.seaportboston.com/) – a Boston waterfront hotel at the heart of the seaport district

Gold Award: Acme Hotel Company (http://www.acmehotelcompany.com/) – downtown Chicago’s trendiest lifestyle boutique hotel alternative

Honorable Mention: Randy Watkins Golf Group (http://www.randywatkinsgolf.com/) – owner and operator of three Mississippi golf courses

“It is wonderful to have the privilege of working with some of the most talented people in the country in my 20+ years of leading Milestone,” said Benu Aggarwal, Founder and President of Milestone. “We are blessed to have committed clients who trust us to utilize the latest technologies and strategies to produce amazing work and I am honored that industry leaders recognize our talent and capabilities.”

To learn more about Milestone’s award-winning website designs and digital marketing strategies, attend the annual digital marketing conference – Engage – in Chicago, July 17-18. For more information about this conference, please visit: http://www.milestoneinternet.com/2017-digital-marketing-conference.aspx.

For more information about Milestone’s digital marketing software and services, please visit: http://www.milestoneinternet.com/.


Source: Paid Search

Sales Letter Secrets To Living Happily Ever After

entryimage-salesletter

Crafting sales letters is something we are all largely familiar with. I’m sure you’ve buried your nose in plenty of materials guiding you through the standard ‘how-to’ steps that form the basic shell of your next sales piece.

(You can also refer to last week’s post, where I included reference to Dan Kennedy’s ‘The Ultimate Sales Letter’…)

Now for this week’s post. Which, I can tell you now, will NOT give you steps like headline, problem, solution, bullets etc. What I’m going to explore is the nucleus of the sales letter form, the technical stitching and underlying layers that add substance to what you already recognize as the steps to writing a sales letter… and how to tailor it to an EXACT audience.

Quite simply, your sales letter must be readable. If it doesn’t make sense, you won’t sell anything.

You need to consider a number of different factors when it comes to your sales letter’s readability:

*Sentence length: what’s going to read better? Reams of long sentences with too many clauses and badly-formed syntax, or short, easily-digestible sentences that get straight to the point?

*Correlation: how well do your promises correlate to what your customer avatar desires/needs?

*Paragraph length: note: lengthy paragraphs aren’t visually appealing to people who want to read through your letter and still have time to eat their dinner.

*Vocabulary choices: do your words paint a compelling and irresistible picture in your reader’s mind? Do your words pack a punch? Can readers still understand what you’re saying?

When you sit there and think about your audience, do NOT (I repeat- DO NOT) assume they’ll understand your letter at the same level you do when you write and edit it.

Remember- not everyone in the world is a competent reader… while you may have majored in English at university, others may have found their niche elsewhere, such as math. Some people will read your letter and struggle with some of your phrasing.

This where you need to find equilibrium between your words and their effect. Use power words in your marketing efforts, but make sure your writing isn’t over-complicated.

Words matter. So many people I speak to who studied English at college say the same thing; there’s always a better word. For example, why label your lead magnet as merely a ‘workbook’ when you could probably sell more if you called it an ‘expert guide’?

Think about your verbs. If your offer includes a set of DVDs that help people learn more about starting their own bakery business, don’t say ‘learn’. Say ‘discover’, so when people read it they think less about ‘learning’ as they did at high school and more about ‘discovering’ something new and awesome that can make them lots of money.

Now, reiteration is something that constantly crops up when it comes to selling. Reiterating the offer, reiterating the unbeatable price if taken advantage of today, reiteration of why this product will solve all their problems.

When writing a sales letter, reiteration can prove to be successful when harnessed and leveraged in the right way. Again, I urge you to find dynamic equilibrium. Repeat, but not to the point where your reader gets sick of your words and promptly discards your letter into the trash.

You could make your claim in your headline. That’s the first instance taken care of. Then, you can reiterate in the following examples:

*In the bullet points (re-phrased)

*In the testimonials

*In the offer

*In the guarantee

*In the title for the order form

*In the P.S

 

Finally, I bring your attention to a major factor that influences the writing of a sales letter for a specific audience. Dual Readership.

You’ll find half of your recipients will fall under the ANALYTICAL category, where they take the time to read through long copy, make logical decisions based on statistics and facts, spend time musing over the testimonials and only take action when they’ve been provided with an avalanche of information.

The other half are IMPULSIVE; people who skim read, look out for the large bolded headlines, highlighted words and phrases, photographs, celebrity social proof and are stirred by emotional pulls.

Got an important promise embedded in a short paragraph? Underline it. Maybe highlight it too. Every heading and subheading can benefit from being emboldened. Italicize other words and phrases that you feel serve a bigger purpose in your selling endeavours.

In order to appeal to both readership paths, you must again search for and nail the appropriate balance. Your sales letter should offer enough information to satisfy the analytical readers, but not so much that the impulsive readers give up.

I recently sent out a piece of sales copy to a list of people, who we at GKIC have invited to attend our upcoming bootcamp this month. How did I lay it out? Completely handwritten, with titles written in a thicker pen. In fact, my opening headline was ‘I Don’t See Your Name On The GKIC Bootcamp List???’

 

Image uploaded from iOS (3)

 

Every so often I underlined words and phrases, such as ‘HUGE mistake’ and ‘This really is for everyone’. I even added appropriate strikethroughs when explaining how much money people have made from our bootcamp strategies. It’s these little touches that both the analytical and the impulsive notice.

As my P.S, I used the reiteration tactic; ‘you’re probably wondering why I sent this as a handwritten letter? In a plain envelope? I did it because it’s one of the most successful formats that has now been used in over 100 different business categories… at the bootcamp, I’ll tell you more about it.’ A successful way to drop the subject of my entire letter into the close!

I’m going to leave you with two things.

Firstly, a quote. Sean Platt discloses in his article ‘5 Reasons Why All Freelancers Should Learn To Write A Sales Letter’; “Sales letters are roads paved with words which lead buyers to solutions, sellers to profit, and writers closer to their happily ever afters”.

You, dear friend, are both the seller AND the writer. Get your sales letter right and you’ll profit AND live happily ever after.

Secondly… an exclusive announcement.

At GKIC we’ve been working really hard to make our mark across another content channel; Podcasts.

Podcasts provide an excellent opportunity for busy business enthusiasts to tune in and listen to your strategies, whether it’s on the subway or in a cab, getting ready in the morning or relaxing last thing at night.

Introducing our very own podcast:“The Small Business Marketing Hour: Hosted by GKIC

gkic-podcast

 

We don’t want to give too much away… so why not check it out for yourself?

Available now on:

*iTunes

*Sticher

*TuneIn

*Google Play

*Soon to be available on I Heart Radio (May 21)

Tune in and give us a listen.

gkic.com/podcast

Don’t forget to subscribe…

 

Source: Dan Kennedy

CH&LA Southern California Speaking Event – Top Ten Trends for Digital Marketing in 2017 and Beyond

Event: Southern California Hotel & Lodging Conference

Where: Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center, 601 W McKinley Ave | Pomona California, 91768

When: Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 12:00am – 12:00pm

CH&LA and AAHOA have partnered to bring the largest one-day conference and trade show in Northern California to the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center this year. Each year over 450 hoteliers attend this special event to get educated on a variety of industry topics and to attend the trade show to see and buy the latest new products and services.

Click Here for More Info

About the Speakers:

Tammie Carlisle is a 16 year hospitality industry veteran who brings an extensive background in hospitality sales and marketing to Milestone where she is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with hospitality clients and industry associations in the Western United States. Tammie has also spoken at several CH&LA and CABBI events and conferences in previous years. Tammie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of California Santa Cruz.

Craig Carbonniere, Senior Business Development Manager for Milestone, is a 12 year hospitality industry veteran. He brings an extensive hospitality management background to Milestone and is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with hospitality clients and industry associations in Southern California. Prior to becoming a supplier, Craig managed various hospitality disciplines for Grand Pacific Resorts, Interstate Hotels & Resorts, and The Walt Disney Company. Craig also serves as Vice President of Communications for his local HSMAI chapter and is known as a trusted advisor for developing hotel ecommerce strategy.


Source: Paid Search

CH&LA Northern California Speaking Event – Top Ten Trends for Digital Marketing in 2017 and Beyond

Event: Northern California Hotel & Lodging Conference

Where: South San Francisco Conference Center, 255 Airport Blvd | South San Francisco CA, 94080

When: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 12:00am – 12:00pm

CH&LA and AAHOA have partnered to bring the largest one-day conference and trade show in Northern California to the South San Francisco Conference Center this year. Each year over 450 hoteliers attend this special event to get educated on a variety of industry topics and to attend the trade show to see and buy the latest new products and services.

Click Here for More Info

About the Speaker: Tammie Carlisle

Tammie is a 16 year hospitality industry veteran who brings an extensive background in hospitality sales and marketing to Milestone where she is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with hospitality clients and industry associations in the Western United States. Tammie has also spoken at several CH&LA and CABBI events and conferences in previous years. Tammie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of California Santa Cruz.


Source: Paid Search

ADA Conformity: It’s More Than Just Lawsuits

You may have heard about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but do you know how it applies to your digital presence?

What is the ADA?

The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. As part of the ADA, the law mandated that websites should abide by a minimum set of best practices to ensure that users with impairments would have equal access to the world-wide web. The challenge with the ADA conformity clause is that Congress did not establish any guidelines regarding what qualified as an ADA conforming website. Over the years, as the legal system has dealt with lawsuits related to ADA conformity and website access, courts have leveraged guidelines established by the world-wide web consortium (W3C), as guidelines by which to interpret the ADA conformity of specific sites. The W3C guidelines, known as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are organized in three different levels, level A, AA and AAA. The court system has largely held that websites must meet level A and AA guidelines to be considered “conforming.”

Why care about ADA?

The default answer, of course, is legal protection. Over the past few years a series of well publicized law suits have been brought against website owners, particularly small to mid-sized businesses, resulting in awards that range from as little as a few thousand dollars to many tens of thousands of dollars. While protecting your business from ADA lawsuits is a very viable reason to ensure your website is ADA conforming, there is a much larger issue at play. In fact, by not providing ADA access to your website, you are simply alienating the nearly 20%* of US

consumers who have some form of disability. Having ADA conformity on a business website is more than good legal advice, it’s smart business advice.

How ADA Impacts your site

Having established that ADA conformity is a good business proposition, what exactly do you need to consider before making your site ADA conforming? ADA conformity for websites is largely based on four core areas:

Visual How does the website work when visually impaired visitors arrive? Is it screen-reader friendly? Are there elements of the site that are only accessible with a mouse and do not have keyboard access?

Auditory Auditory conformity is largely focused on the interaction of audio and the user. Specifically, do any videos included on the website contain closed captioning?

Tactile Can users access your website without relying on a mouse? Is keyboard navigation of all items on your site, including carousels, possible?

Cognitive Cognitive conformity deals with issues around font size, color, contrast and accessibility for users who may have learning or interpretive impairments.

The ADA Opportunity

The fact that nearly 20% of Americans have some form of a disability should be of significance for any business. The challenge of ADA conformity for your website starts with protecting yourself from lawsuits. In fact, since 2015, in the hospitality industry alone, more than 240 lawsuits have been filed, many receiving awards between $10,000 to $75,000 per lawsuit.** When you consider the cost of updating your site, the benefits of becoming ADA conforming are obvious. There is, however, a second, more important consideration. ADA conformity is more than just about protecting yourself from suits. In fact, a website that is not ADA conforming creates a barrier to the 20% of Americans who have disabilities; becoming ADA conforming is not just safe, it’s good business.

Keys to conformity

There are three key considerations to ensuring that your website is ADA conforming: Technology, process, and design.

On the technology front, the most important question is about your Content Management System (CMS). Is your CMS capable of creating ADA conforming websites? Do you have alert-systems in place in the CMS that will flag when ADA conformity issues are introduced in your site? For example, when installing 3rd party applications website owners should make sure to understand the impact of these additions. ADA conformity is not a “do it and forget it” approach; modern websites are constantly evolving, changing, and being updated. It’s critical to have a CMS that is able to not only create ADA conforming content, but is also able to identify ADA problems in your website.

With the constant evolution of websites, having an ADA-friendly development process is also critical. If your website development is done in-house, you need to ensure that planning and testing for ADA conformity is a core part of your website design and development process. If you work with an agency or a third-party vendor it’s important that your vendor have a well thought out and documented process for creating ADA conforming content and checking for problems.

Finally, ADA conforming design must consider a whole set of subtleties and nuances that might escape the untrained eye. Once again, it’s essential to ensure that your in-house or agency designers understand ADA conformity issues and have had experience dealing with ADA conforming design.

Examples of Issues with ADA

To understand the complexities of ADA conformity, consider a couple of quick examples of some of the subtle changes that must be made to a traditional website to achieve ADA conformity:

  • Skip to content ADA conforming websites must provide a means for a user to quickly skip non-screen-reader friendly content like hero images and jump to the text part of your website.
  • Manual carousel control Website carousels may be popular and fashionable, but they can create problems for users who have disabilities. ADA conforming carousels must be manually controlled and avoid excessive use of animations.
  • Full keyboard control How much of your website can be controlled and used with just a keyboard? Having full access to all content without having to rely on a mouse is a critical part of ADA conformity
  • Screen reader friendliness Is your website friendly to people with visual disabilities? Is your content screen-reader friendly?
  • Field label problems Finally, consider something as simple and, seemingly, straight-forward as a form on your website. While placing field labels within the field may provide a “unique” look, it often makes the form unreadable for screen readers.

Getting certified

You can self-certify for ADA conformity. In addition, there are several third-party organizations that will provide ADA conformity audits to provide you with a full report, either confirming that your website conforms to ADA guidelines as of a specific date, or providing you with an audit of the changes necessary to become ADA conforming. There is no such thing as a “guarantee” that having an ADA-conforming website will provide 100% protection from lawsuits. It does, however, significantly lower your risk.

Summary

The issue of ADA conformity for websites is not new, and is not likely to go away any time soon. Any consumer-facing business, but especially location-based businesses like hospitality, retail, or financial-services businesses, should make ADA conformity a core part of their business strategy and of their website development process. Not having ADA conformity as a central goal of your website strategy, is simply asking for trouble, and sends the wrong signal to your client-base.

* https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/miscellaneous/cb12-134.html

** https://www.wsj.com/articles/companies-face-lawsuits-over-website-accessibility-for-blind-users-1478005201


Source: Paid Search

Writing Headlines That Close In For The Kill… And Get It

entryimage-headlines

 

Please raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimized by a headline.

By victimized, I mean it’s been waiting sneakily in your line of vision with baited breath, and as you gaze in its direction, BAM! it pops out, all 72pt and bolded, and even though you may only read a random word from its imposing sequence, your moving gaze can’t help but stop.

There’s an urgency within you, a burning desire to carry on reading.

And why is this?

Saying something of genuine importance and interest to the recipient usually succeeds. You say it with a headline”- Dan Kennedy, The Ultimate Sales Letter.

 

UltimateSalesLetter

 

I’m not talking about the ‘how-tos’ or other generic headlines that don’t do the rest of their piece’s content justice, or in other cases are residing quietly at the bottom of the barrel.

No, I’m talking about headlines that have BODY behind them. Headlines that are so darn powerful, bound in flesh and pumped with blood that they evoke response from their recipients.

I’ll start with LENGTH. Long as opposed to short. At GKIC, we’re a fan of both. Take for instance, this long headline that was used to fill a seminar:

In Two Breathtakingly Intense Days, I Will Present Breakthrough Income, Wealth, Marketing And Success Strategies And Honest-To-God “Secrets” Exclusively For Professional Speakers Superior To Anything You’ve Ever Seen, Heard Or Even Imagined, With Their Value To You Assured By The Most Daring Guarantee Ever Offered By Any Seminar”

… but even a two-worder ‘Stocks Suck’ reiterates the fact that idea trumps form.

But length doesn’t just apply to number of words. It also alludes to TIME.

What your headline says and how it says it are absolutely critical. You compare it to the door-to-door salesperson wedging a foot in the door, buying just enough time to deliver one or two sentences that will melt resistance, create interest, and elevate his or status from annoying pest to welcome guest; you’ve got just about the same length of time, the same opportunity.

entryimage-headlines2

So, once you’ve come up with an idea for your headline (whether it consists of less than five syllables or more words than the Miami Dolphins’ NFL game on Christmas Day 1971 had minutes), you need to make sure your BENEFIT is super-clear… so that when given the time, your headline doesn’t go unread.

Think about dog sleds in Ottawa. Usually they lead with the strongest canine at the front, right? Apply this rule to your next headline; telegraph your BEST BENEFIT, the one that really sells your product/service, the one that is guaranteed to get the best reaction, and whack that in there among all those power words and all that punctuation.

For example…

You’re a toothpaste manufacturer. There’s lots of benefits of your new toothpaste that you could list, like plaque-blasting stats and gum health. BUT, what do people generally want? They want white teeth and nice-smelling breath. Insert the whitening stats and you’re onto a winner.

As I read more of Dan’s ‘The Ultimate Sales Letter’, I came across another piece of valuable content: ‘How To Flag A Reader And Let Him Know This Is For You.

One of the simplest ways to strengthen a headline is attachment of a Flag. The Flag is brief, as brief as a single word, stuck on the front of the headline, to reach out and grab the attention of certain specific prospects, by telegraphing that the message is specifically for them.

Here’s some headlines PRE Flag…

  • Corns Gone in 5 Days or Money Back
  • Guaranteed Weight Loss Up To 15 Pounds First 15 Days- With No Exercise
  • 28 Days to Healthier Gums

 

And what they read like once the Flag has been attached…

  • Waiters and Waitresses on Your Feet for Hours: Corns Gone In 5 Days or Money Back
  • Disappointed Dieters: Guaranteed Weight Loss Up to 15 Pounds First 15 Days- with No Exercise
  • Seniors: 28 Days to Healthier Gums

 

Or, to improve them even more, you can add a ‘Problem Flag’…

  • Foot Pain? Corns Gone in 5 Days or Money Back
  • Embarrassing Belly Bulge? Guaranteed Weight Loss Up to 15 Pounds First 15 Days- with No Exercise
  • Blood on Your Toothbrush? 28 Days to Healthier Gums

 

As you can see, there are specific elements to headlines that, when considered and implemented properly, can have a profound effect on THEIR effect. We all know the rule about problems- make sure you identify your prospect’s problem, agitate it until they’re almost begging for relief, and then offer them the solution.

Casual excited entrepreneur reading a letter with good news in a desktop at workplace

John Carlton reiterates my point in the 7th Step of his Simple Writing System:

‘Hooks’

And cue his famous one-legged golfer headline:

Want to slash strokes from your game almost overnight?

Amazing Secret Discovered By One-Legged Golfer Adds 50 Yards To Your Drives, Eliminates Hooks and Slices… And Can Slash Up To 10 Strokes From Your Game Almost Overnight!

John’s steps to getting that all-important hook (which, when placed in your headline, makes your sales copy so much more successful) include gossip, opinions, rumours, common wisdom, myths, legends and competition. All of these are relatable between YOU and your prospect.

If you’ve Flagged your headline, you could add in a few impressive statistics that are relative to those prospects. It all depends on who you’re targeting and how much research you’re willing to put in.

People generally will try and NOT read your headline if they can help it.

Make sure they CAN’T help it!

Source: Dan Kennedy

Where are the Tutorials! + NAB 2017!

Yo Andrew! Where are all the Tutorials!?! A reasonable question actually.

I don’t have a simple answer but maybe I can share a bit of my process with you.

This year I’ve been working on a bunch of amazing content for Video Copilot! My goal was to dig deep into default plug-ins and try to find things that were NEW and interesting!

The cycle begins!

ACTUAL PROCESS From the last couple of weeks:

As you can see, every deviation would evolve into something new. This basically goes on until I feel like I’ve come across something that is new that is innovative and also LOOKS COOL! And while each step of this process would make a formidable tutorial, there is always something that will make it better.

The problem is that everything can be a little bit better. And perhaps this mindset is a bit of a curse for a guy that makes tutorials!!!

The truth is that I care a lot about making Tutorials. Genuinely. I don’t want to create another lightning tutorial, I want to create one that adds something new and challenges my skills as well.

There is a certain satisfaction from trying to use 100% built-in After Effects Plug-ins. And that is what I have been trying to do recently.

But I also get that it’s frustrating to hear “Coming soon” so I’ve been trying not to talk about things until they are done. The madness is not lost on me! But because of my tutorials “process” several weeks go by and THEN I really want to deliver a great tutorial. And now that it’s taking so long I want to make it even better! It’s a viscous cycle! Which makes bouncing back and fourth between projects very hard because if you have ever opened an old project after a while… there’s going to be some notes!

Needless to say, Tutorials are not dead, in fact this process has lead to some incredible techniques and content that I can’t wait to share! I just need to knock them out!

If you are interested, I recently talked a bit about this and other things with my friend Ash on the Collective Podcast!



BTW, If you are at NAB this week, please drop by the Adobe booth!

 

Electro-Shock! With sound! 100% AE! #no3rdparty #aftereffects

A post shared by Video Copilot (@andrewkramer) on Apr 21, 2017 at 1:23pm PDT

Source: Video Copilot

Get the Most Bang for Your Buck Out of the Customer Journey [Webinar]

Register for the complimentary Google and Milestone joint webinar on optimizing marketing spend in the customer journey.
This webinar will focus on three key areas of how the customer journey affects businesses today:

  • Understanding the customer journey
  • Consumer behavior in each stage of the journey
  • Measuring the customer journey to optimize spend

See how you can measure the direct impact of your marketing programs across the various stages of the customer journey and how to optimize your marketing spend to yield the best results.

Webinar Registration


Source: Paid Search

Drive Higher ROI from Your Website while Competing with OTA’s.

New Milestone CMS feature returns $21 FOR EVERY $1 YOU INVEST IN the Revenue Recovery Module

A hotel operates in an environment that is getting increasingly competitive. At the same time, OTA fees keep rising year-over-year. In such an environment, website conversion rate is always a key indicator to any hospitality business. On average, one third of visitors will begin a reservation but only 5% will complete the booking. In a study done by Sales Cycle*, 81% of people abandoned their travel bookings online. With the average hotel’s conversation rate around 2-3%, increasing conversion rates means directly driving the top line.


While these statistics may seem troublesome, the good news is that there is a compelling strategy that is available to help the situation. Over 30% of customers are willing to book the same day and over 50% within the same week. That’s an opportunity ripe for the taking. Milestone now offers a new feature as part of its award-winning content management system (CMS) designed to directly help business professionals like you take charge and drive higher returns from your existing website.

THE REVENUE RECOVERY MODULE

Our Revenue Recovery Module is one of the most effective ways of directly enhancing your bottom line and driving online bookings for your hotel. It is the only type of marketing communication that remains private while delivering a personal connection to your potential hotel guest. Most importantly, it has an opt-in process that turns it into absolute permission marketing.

1. Reservation Retargeting Email Campaign: Encourages the visitor to complete their original booking.

  • Emails are auto scheduled the moment a user abandons a reservation without converting.
  • Milestone will set up your email account, design your emails and develop your automated email campaigns.
  • Email campaigns are integrated with your booking engine.

Email captured during the booking process which will be used to send retargeting email campaigns to drive back conversions.

 

2. Reservation Reminder: The user can request an email reminder to book later

  • Milestone will develop for you an automated email campaign that are auto scheduled at the request of the user.

Email Auto reminder request

 

3. Reservation Abandonment Promotions: Marketing Promotion messaging displayed when users on your website display “exit intent.”

  • Milestone will develop for you automated site abandonment promotional messaging that will be programmed into your existing Milestone Marketing website.
  • Marketing promotion messages are triggered based on agreed upon settings and visitor interactions determined by client.

Marketing promotion banner

 

STILL WONDERING IF IT DRIVES CONVERSIONS?

We tested these new features on our live customer websites over a period of 2 months to gauge the effectiveness of the campaigns and their ability to drive revenue and bookings and found that hotels could drive a relatively high conversion rate of ~6-8% and a ROI as high as $21: $1.

*Your results may vary **70% would NOT have returned on their own & is completely new business.

Your website is your key branding and eCommerce asset and it’s never too late to take ownership of your eCommerce strategy. At Milestone, we help over 2000 customers drive higher conversions and revenue. To learn more about the Revenue Recovery Module features and pricing, please contact us at [email protected], 408-492-9055 or www.milestoneinternet.com.

*https://blog.salecycle.com/stats/booking-abandonment-why-people-abandon-their-booking/

 

About Milestone CMS:
Milestone CMS is a next generation cloud-based content management system architected for high performance, consumer-facing web sites. This platform allows hotels, retailers and financial services organizations to rapidly deploy and manage websites, location pages and micro-sites with great ease and at a fraction of the cost of existing systems. Milestone CMS has been built around three core principles: speed, mobile first capabilities and compatibility with modern search technologies like voice search and machine learning. Milestone CMS allows companies to build websites that consistently score over 80 on Google’s speed tests for both desktop and mobile, and that are powered by innovative technologies like Google AMP.

Contributed by Gaurav Varma, Product Marketing Manager


Source: Paid Search

HSMAI Oregon Speaking Event: Top 10 Digital Marketing Trends in 2017

Title: Informing Members of HSMAI Oregon Chapter about the top 10 digital marketing trends in 2017.

Event: HSMAI Oregon Chapter Sales and Marketing Meeting

Where: Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel, 8235 NE Airport Way, Portland, OR 97220

When: April 20, 2017, 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Search marketing continues to change and evolve. Learn how to grow revenues using different digital marketing strategies – search, local, mobile, social media and more. In this fast-paced session, Tammie Carlisle, AVP of Sales and Customer Service at Milestone, Inc. will cover ten of the top travel trends in 2017. Voice search and artificial intelligence are just two of the topics that will be covered in this session. You will walk away with practical tips and ideas you can apply at your hotel to stay ahead of the curve.

LINK: http://hsmaioregon.com/meetinginfo.php?id=19&ts=1490989628

About the Speaker: Tammie Carlisle

Tammie is a 16 year hospitality industry veteran who brings an extensive background in hospitality sales and marketing to “Milestone Internet Marketing” where she is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with hospitality clients and industry associations in the Western United States. Tammie has also spoken at several CH&LA and CABBI events and conferences in previous years. Tammie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of California Santa Cruz.

 


Source: Paid Search

The 10 Rules of Direct Response Marketing

entryimage-10rules
If you’re in the Direct Response Marketing game, and you’re not already asking yourself, “what can I do to increase revenue FAST?” every minute of the day, then I urge you to continue reading.

Freelance direct response copywriter Dean Rieck says: “Response is one of the five keys of successful direct marketing. And if you have that, the other four don’t matter.

Simply put, Direct Response Marketing is designed to provoke an IMMEDIATE response from the customer, through clear CTAs (calls to action) and other techniques, in order to generate reactions and feedback while encouraging decision-making.

That’s all well and good, and to be honest it’s pretty self-explanatory, right?

Which is why we at GKIC make it our aim to arm marketers with every single tool they need to market efficiently, because although this process sounds simple enough, the ins and outs can actually be quite challenging.

Generating a direct response from consumers isn’t as easy as it sounds. Sure, lots of people are taken in by mediocre advertising, but if you REALLY want to make the big bucks then you need to master the following 10 rules (outlined by our founder Dan Kennedy in his book, ‘No B.S. Direct Marketing- The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Direct Marketing For Non-Direct Marketing Businesses’).

nobsdmbook

Think of these as the 10 Commandments! (in order to succeed thou shalt implement them wisely and then thou shalt get results…)

1. There Will Always Be An Offer or Offer(s)

NOTHING, I mean nothing, goes out your door without offers.

To generate a response from your consumers, you need an irresistible offer that is going to urge them into taking action IMMEDIATELY. What will you offer them? Is it going to be of value to them? How will it improve their current situation? Ask yourself these questions, and NEVER end a ‘conversation’ with your audience without making the offer.

Dan states that you’ll find a lot of businesses get by with ‘implied offers’. They’ll give all their details but won’t ACTUALLY say what it is they’ll do for you.

But what REALLY generates a response is direct marketing that tells the consumer how your product can enhance their life, solve their problems, make their day better etc, and the steps they need to take in order to reap the benefits.

THIS is how you make money.

2. There Will Be Reason To Respond Right Now

If you’re unfamiliar with direct-response copywriter John Carlton, I recommend you get familiar right now. A friend of Dan’s, John advises imagining your prospective customer as a gigantic sloth, unlikely to move, with its phone out of reach.

You need to think about this sloth when constructing your offer. Is a plain, mediocre offer going to cause that sloth to move, reach out for its phone and take action? Probably not.

Your offer should generate a direct response. That’s the whole point. I reiterate my point about providing value to your prospects- if you can truly convince them that investing in your product/service will answer their prayers and satisfy their current desires, then you’re onto a winner.

3. Clear Instructions

I’d like to turn your attention to Dan’s two sub-rules:

* Confused consumers do nothing

* Most people can follow directions

Anything you put together in your next strategy, whether it’s a flier, an advert, a sales letter etc, make sure the pathway to taking action is clear for the consumer…. “with high sidewalls (to prevent the prospect from wandering off)”.

If you’re currently sending things out WITHOUT clear instructions, STOP. Make some changes.

4. There Will Be Tracking And Measurement

3d rendering of an success concept

Dan says; “you need real, hard facts and data to make good, intelligent marketing decisions.

Do you want to make unintelligent marketing decisions?

Didn’t think so…

When making marketing decisions, it doesn’t matter what you and your colleagues think/feel etc. It matters what your AUDIENCE thinks and feels.

Tracking means accurately collecting all the information you need to determine what advertising is working and what isn’t, which offer is pulling and which isn’t, what marketing has traction and what doesn’t”.

Ultimately, you’ll be able to know what your ROI is for each dollar. As long as you get systems in place to capture all the data you need, and make the time to get a thorough analysis underway, then what seems as a confusing drag will start to become profitable and easier the more you do it… especially if your employees have a tendency to become lazy with or confused by the whole concept.

From now on, ye shall spend no dollar without tracking ROI”.

5. Branding As By-Product

If you’re the CEO of a giant company that is recognized worldwide, then by all means invest in brand identity. If you’re an entrepreneur investing your own capital, then take Dan’s advice- “focus on response and sales”.

Sure, you may actually build your brand without knowing along the way, which is awesome. But don’t spend time doing it on purpose. Dan states that there are many types of direct response ads that are designed to motivate qualified leads to step forward and take action, that succeed WITHOUT branding. All they need is a clear CTA and BAM, sorted.

6. There Will Be Follow-Up

There are fortunes in the follow-up. Most marketers make the mistake of only following up with a lead on ONE occasion.

But to be a SMART marketer, you need to build out a way to continue this follow-up with your prospects.

Imagine somebody refers you to one of their closest friends. Or a business fellow, perhaps. What are you going to do? Simply say ‘thanks’ and move on?

NO NO NO!

You speak with the person who made the referral, and you ask them for their closest friend or business fellow’s details, so you can approach them personally. Start up a sequence that involves a letter or email, with something free and valuable that is going to kickstart this new relationship.

No response? Send another letter or email. Keep at it!

7. There Will Be Strong Copy

I love this quote from Dan: “you can’t send a shy, timid Casper Milktoast guy out into the street to knock on a door of a home or walk into a business and beg in nearly a whisper for a few minutes of the prospect’s time. So you can’t do that with ad, flier, letter or postcard either. Send Arnold Schwarzenegger instead.

In a nutshell, your copy must be compelling enough to get your prospects to take immediate action. Your vocabulary choices should aggravate your prospect’s problems so much so that they can almost FEEL the pain, and then soothe them immediately with whatever it is you’re offering, and how it can solve their issue.

Think about your audience. Speak to them like they’re human beings (which they are…) in a conversational tone that hooks them in with power words, packs a punch and sticks in their mind.

(NOTE: for further information on kick-ass sales copy, I urge you to read another of Dan’s books “The Ultimate Sales Letter.”)

8. In General, It Will Look Like Mail-Order Advertising

Dan says that David Ogilvy once admitted: “only direct-response guys really knew what they are doing” and that HIS guys were guessing. Who would you copy?

The ‘G’ in GKIC, Bill Glazer, is a ‘master’ at using mail-order style advertising. Our two founders suggest making a swipe file of mail-order newspapers and magazine advertisements that show clear calls to action. Next time you construct an offer, flip through the file for inspiration.

9. Results Rule, Period.

From this moment forth, you are (if not already) completely, wholly, ultimately results-driven.

Nobody EXCEPT your customers is going to put money into your business and personal bank account. NOBODY ELSE. All that matters, is what your customers think. If you make sales, then your strategy has worked. If it doesn’t make sales, scrap it.

10. You Will Be A Tough-Minded Disciplinarian And Keep Your Business On A Strict DIRECT Marketing Diet For At Least Six Months

Last but not least…

Think of this as a regular diet.

Cut the crap.

Purge the junk.

Stick to a new regime guaranteed to get results.

If your new business diet consists of nothing but the previous nine rules, I promise you that your direct response marketing efforts will pull through. Don’t let anything toxic slip through the net.

As Dan says, “anything that doesn’t conform to the prior nine rules, do not let it in at all. Just say no. And bar the door.

Source: Dan Kennedy

Social Media Strategy: How Much to Spend and Where

While social media has become a mainstream marketing channel, there are many variables that hoteliers are not taking advantage of to increase their revenue. Unlike other mainstream marketing avenues, social media is not static, as platforms continuously find ways to increase engagement with both users and advertisers. As social platforms have realized their massive marketing opportunities within their user base, they have increasingly capitalized on their clearly defined users by providing advertisers access to them. Today, the popularity of social channels has created a “pay-to-play” model that leaves many business owners and managers perplexed as to which channels to focus on, and the right budget to allocate in order to maximize return on investment (ROI).

Organic Social Reach is Dead

Social platforms bring the promise of an enormous engaged base, with 78% of all Americans having a social profile. This extreme density of users leads to an oversaturation of content. Social media platforms use algorithms to provide consumers with a better experience by de-cluttering the massive amount of content, highlighting topics and information that is deemed most “relevant” to each user. Facebook began prioritizing popular posts in 2009, and has continued to tweak what users see based on preferences and engagement. In 2015, marketers were faced with a daunting challenge. Facebook announced that business posts would be displayed less often in user news feeds compared to friends’ posts. Today, only 2-3% of posts created by businesses are shown to their fans, a trend that is guaranteed to remain as Facebook has warned the organic reach of posts will eventually decline to 0%. Marketers can no longer rely on creating engaging, relevant posts that will be automatically fed into followers’ timelines, but must rely instead on paid campaigns. As Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media channels expand on these practices, the need for well planned, well executed and well targeted paid social campaigns will become increasingly necessary.

Reach Your (Social) Customers

Consumers thrive on social media platforms, and tools are available to allow marketers to not only reach, but also to engage with these users in highly targeted ways. The biggest marketing mistake is to think your customers are not using social channels. Facebook alone has over 1.7 billion users. Marketers need to understand which channels are used by their target audience and how their audience interacts with each channel. For instance, a consumer could get dinner inspiration from Facebook on a daily basis, while using Instagram more sporadically to plan future travel. Pew Research Center has insightful research that allows marketers to better understand social platforms and their users. Once you have a solid sense of channels that are right for your business, it is time to identify advertising options to meet your goal. Is your goal to increase traffic to your website? To increase your page followers? Gain video views? Or perhaps you wish to increase engagement within your current followers? Having clear goals will allow you to carefully select advertising options to include in your strategy and assist in budgeting. The following advertising options are traditional for social media marketing and can fit into most social strategies:

  • Facebook Boosted Post – Allows you to get additional reach and engagement on a post. This ad type also includes a page like button, so if people like the content, they have the option to like your page. If you have a special or offer to share, this is a great option for it. Be sure to include a link for more information in your post.
  • Facebook Carousel Ad -This allows up to 10 images to be rotated in the advertised post and drives users to specific sites, pages, or apps. This can be done with a single image as well.
  • Twitter Promoted Post – This is like Facebook’s Boosted Post and it also has a follow button for anyone who wants to follow the business handle moving forward. One key thing to remember is to avoid using a hashtag on any promoted posts. If users click the hashtag, they may not be engaging with your tweet but you will be paying for that click. Instead, focus on the content that matters for you and include links to drive traffic to your site.

The options above are in no way a comprehensive list of social media advertising vehicles. We recommend reviewing social advertising options quarterly, as they are continuously changing, and budget to test the latest methods for reach and engagement. Since there are always new ways to reach your users, flexibility is crucial.

Target Practice

Targeting your preferred consumer has a direct impact on your budget. Advertisers are drawn to social channels due to their targeting capabilities. Businesses can target social users based on location, age, gender, interests, connections and more. Businesses new to social advertising should start broad, relying on the platform’s advertising system to see who responds well to published advertisements- the results may be surprising. The broad targeting can give a deep understanding of the type of users that engage with specific messaging, giving you an opportunity to later target those demographics uniquely. Travel, for example, tends to be a universal interest, so targeting only people that expressly state interests associated with travel will not lead to better results, just more marketing spend. The reason for this, obviously, is that the narrower your target, the larger the cost per action charged by the social channel. Rather than testing for narrow interest ranges, we recommend testing different ad options with varied audiences to achieve the best mix of advertisement and audience demographics. When measuring results, it is also critical to ensure your audience size and your result samples are large enough to make proper decisions. High click-through rates are pointless if the volume is insignificant.

Budgeting for Social

Your social campaigns should target current followers, they should aim to acquire new followers, and should also be used to test out new audiences and advertising methods. A huge benefit of social media advertising is that it is relatively low cost in comparison to traditional channels, making it an ideal platform for testing and measuring engagement. When developing a social media advertising budget, a good rule of thumb is to use 10% of your paid media budget (PPC) on social media. Drilling down further, divide your social advertising budget based on the channels that contain your target customers. Milestone recommends spending 80% of your budget on Facebook, which includes Instagram, a Facebook owned subsidiary. Instagram ads are developed through Facebook’s ad platform, ensuring maximum visibility. The remaining 20% of your budget should be spent on Twitter advertising. Focus your social budget on paid options that will bring reach and engagement. Most of these options still offer a “like/follower” option on the post. A little spend can go a long way. Milestone tested almost 100 of their clients with a $10 Facebook promoted post with excellent results:

  • 1,278% average increase in engagement
  • 456% average increase in reach

Average social media budgets vary by industry and audience size, however, it is common to allocate $1 per new Facebook fan. Salesforce released research regarding social media advertising costs, and the research shows the average cost per click is $0.65 in the United States. Some industries see an average cost per click as low as $0.16.

Targeting impacts your budget greatly; businesses pay more to target a smaller market versus a larger market. For instance, a locally advertised “weekend getaway” that targets audiences within 2 hours of a destination would have a much higher cost than a national campaign for a week-long stay. The reason for this is simply one of demand. Narrower campaigns like the first example require the advertising platform to discard a significant portion of their “inventory” to satisfy your demand. A broad national campaign, on the other hand can be more fully automated and can leverage a broad audience to display the advertisement. Tracking your ROI for individual campaigns becomes very important once you start testing out targeting and new social strategies.

If the social advertising options seem a bit overwhelming, businesses can opt to choose a daily maximum budget or a lifetime budget for social advertising. Choosing maximum budgets will ensure budgets remain constrained and do not grow out of control. Budgets can be set as low as $1 a day, but, of course, lower budgets must also be accompanied by adjusted expectations on results. Businesses fluent in social advertising often put a minimum spend behind each social post, knowing that without a spend the effort to create the post would be fruitless to a small organic reach. When businesses have more valuable content, such as videos, specials, or events, more spend would be suggested to reach more users.

Final Thoughts

There are many paid social advertising options available within the various platforms to begin or elevate your paid social strategy. Brands have seen such success with social media advertising that they have moved their paid marketing budget completely to social channels. Our recommendation is not to transfer your entire marketing budget to social advertising, but to consistently use paid social to increase your reach and engagement, and allow the flexibility to test out the latest targeting methods. The granular targeting capabilities of social platforms ensures paid social will remain a strong advertising channel and necessary for businesses. With the decrease of organic reach of social posts, businesses need to focus as much time on creating their content strategy as they do to promote their content.

Contributed by Nisha Thakkar, Director of Client Services at Milestone Internet Marketing

Nisha Thakkar is a Director of Client Services at Milestone Internet Marketing. She manages a team of seven SEO/Social Media Strategists that focus on the hospitality industry. She also leads the social media practice for the organization. She also manages social media training, paid social, the content marketing team, research, development of new ideas and all strategic social media activities for the client base. Ms. Thakkar works with her team to support SEO strategies and activities for Milestone Internet Marketing clients – including website updates, email blasts, listings management, analysis, reporting, etc. Ms. Thakkar has led a social media webinar for Milestone in 2016 (which is available on the Milestone blog). Ms. Thakkar can be contacted at 408-492-9055 or [email protected]


Source: Paid Search