Mailchimp for Agencies – unique banner ad approach

Mailchimp is famous for its ‘ker-azy’ approach to marketing (well it is in our house anyway). But I’ve just seen something from them which puzzled me.

See below an example of a strange skyscraper display ad for Mailchimp which takes a leaderboard image and rotates it 90 degrees to make a skyscraper.

Mailchimp malarkiness – or an example of lazy web design in action?

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My Mailchimp maverick idea was then scotched somewhat when I clicked on the banner and was taken to a dedicated landing page (below).

Mailchimp home

Okay, coffee cups. Agencies drink coffee. And desks within agencies are usually looking a little funky by the end of a hectic day. But what am I expected to do with the cups on this page? Rolling over them or clicking them does nothing.

I’m a little surprised by this unusually non-amusing and less than intuitive user experience. What’s the idea behind this Mailchimp?

Werner Vogels, Vice President & Chief Technology Officer at Amazon.com

Great article in the Guardian about the future of cloud computing trends for 2014.

In true Guardian style, here’s a digested, digested read of the article:

Cloud will enable your content to follow you wherever you go and cloud based analytics enhances the offline world in the form of sensors monitoring stuff going on in the home. Cloud allows everyone to become a media company so a football club can offer content outside of the two hour fun on the pitch.

Faster and faster, cloud moves data processing to real-time

Perhaps the most interesting area is big data and how it helps real-time recommendations like ‘other people in your network are reading X’ but also that Channel 4 is using second-screen data (ie twitter trends etc) to augment TV watching and that Netflix processes over 40bn events *a day* using real-time analytics.

Source: Guardian

RSPB Digital Marketing & Remarketing for ‘Giving Nature A Home’

Not quite content marketing but just had to say hats off to RSPB and their digital marketing team of late.

Why? Remarketing.

For whatever reason, I visited a RSPB website which offered a free bird spotting kit for children (think I learned about it via a ‘free stuff’ type website / email alert). Ever since then, it feels like I’m being stalked by nature. I go on a blog, I see an offer for a free guide on ‘Giving nature a home’. I visit a cloud based calendar tool and I see a banner about saving nature while I shop at the RSPB e-commerce store. All part of the Google Display Network no doubt.

The RSPB’s remarketing could have been really annoying, but thanks to some varied offers in banner ads (and some great nature photography – the Gannet is my favourite so far), I’m now seeking them out and looking at what other animals I’ll soon be able to spot.

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Great stuff.

I’m assuming the new strategy has something to do with the RPSB’s new Fundraising and Communications Director, Beth Thoren.

***UPDATE***

Just seen this new ad – an RSPB lottery / raffle?!

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Inbound Marketing Infographic – Salesforce

Marketing departments up and down the nation are slowly realising the potential of inbound marketing vs outbound marketing. Put simply, tactics which improve your chances of being found by your customers are just as important – if not more so – than simply broadcasting your sales message to prospects. Well, that’s the idea anyway. Of course, it’s important to pursue a strategy which observes the importance of both inbound and outbound.

Anyway, if you’re in need of a good infographic which explains this balance and which tools to use, then you’re in luck: those helpful chaps at Smart Insights have flagged up a nice infographic by Salesforce pardot.

Inbound marketing infographic - Salesforce

Source: Smart Insights

Killer B2B landing page examples

Finding it really difficult to get a good list of search landing page examples for B2B? Me too. I’ll post more examples when I find them (or someone helpfully posts them in my comments below) but here’s a good starter for 10 case study from the Conversion Rate Experts called ‘Secrets of the Million Dollar Landing Page’.

Okay, so the claim is a little controversial, but it’s nonetheless a good walk-through of the landing page / conversion rate optimisation process.

Best B2B landing page

Source: Conversion Rate Experts – seomoz case study

Why has Google revamped Adwords for Mobile and Tablets?

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Lots has been made of the recent revamp of Google’s Adwords network to improve targeting smartphone and tablet users.

The majority of coverage has focused on the need to simplify the process of targeting mobile users in the face of increasing mobile web traffic (the number of daily Google searches from mobile devices will surpass searches from PCs and laptops by next year – according to a Guardian report). With this increase, businesses are only going to want to target more mobile users and so it goes that they’ll need a simplified Adwords tool to do just that.

But it’s also worth considering another reason why a search engine like Google might change its model this way: the increasing threat of cheaper mobile ads.

To date, businesses run mobile only ad campaigns because they have huge reach but for much cheaper cost per click fees than campaigns targeting desktop users.

Massive mobile web growth means that businesses are only going to divert more of their ad budgets from desktop to mobile ads, which means cheaper ads for all, but much less revenues for a search engine like Google.

So, in the face of dropping ad revenues, how should a search engine react? Perhaps move to a new model where the two types of platforms are less distinct and charge one price for both mobile and desktop ad campaigns?

Bing / Yahoo now has a huge opportunity. Can we expect to see marketing campaigns from them that draw attention to the ability to still run mobile only / cheaper ad campaigns on their platforms?

Will we see a massive migration of brands that live and die by specifically targeting mobile users to Bing / Yahoo?

How often does Google crawl my blog?

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I recently amended an old blog post from 2008 called on how to create a content matrix.

Noticing that my blog was still appearing for ‘content matrix’ I thought I’d tart it up with Google+ author tag, for that added element of engagement in Google SERPs.

I updated this a week or so ago – but still no author thumbnail in SERPs. What gives? Okay, the page was last crawled on 21st Jan but come on Googlebot!

How often does your blog get crawled / indexed by Google? If the answer is ‘very often’, perhaps my Google+ profile is being ignored…?

Let’s see.

How to create a B2B Content Marketing Strategy and Plan

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Content marketing. Don’t you just love it? No? Then read on.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve got lots to say on this topic. Mainly:

  1. How marketers need to *add* content marketing to their current efforts, not use it as a replacement of their current marketing channels in the face of budget cuts. Get real – content is *expensive*. Take a look at the go-to content marketing case studies often cited on the web. Notice a recurring theme? The majority are by huge brands with ¬£multi-million content and distribution budgets. Granted, they all claim to have saved millions since calling what they do content marketing, but hey, these guys were spending *a lot* to begin with. Also, try replacing the phrase ‘content marketing’ in their case studies with the word ‘SEO’. Notice anything?
  2. How we all mistakenly assume content marketing is something new when in fact we’ve all been doing it for a while – we just know it as something else eg SEO or PR

I say all this as someone who’s worked in both publishing and digital marketing since 1997. Content marketing is great. It means we all work. It means people are excited by online content, which is no bad thing. But please just be aware of the full picture before jumping in and betting the house on it.

Anyway, more on this later.

Broadly, there are four key elements you need to think about when it comes to content marketing:

  • Planning: audience needs and questions, buying cycle, answers to those buyers needs and questions
  • Content: production, format, sourcing and approval process, resourcing in terms of staff, support (internal staff / external agency help), related costs etc
  • Distribution: channels, paid, owned, earned, channel discovery and distribution process, resourcing and support (internal staff / external agency help), related costs etc
  • Measurement: as with most digital marketing channels, we need to measure lots of metrics and discover what they’re telling us

There are 000′s of ebooks, whitepapers and Slideshare decks on this topic and they all tackle the topic using variants of the four elements above. It’s essentially digital marketing (and all the paid media low cost tactics that go with that – if you’re smart) with a whole heap of content production thrown on top.

More on this soon…