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Published by Nat Miller, July 10th, 2014
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Email marketing is a common strategy used in today's digital marketplace. An increasing number of customers are online and regularly checking email, which makes email campaigns highly economical and effective. The function of email marketing within the marketing landscape has not changed substantially over the years, but what has changed are industry best practices in email automation, segmentation and management.
 

Targeted Lists

In years past, email marketing meant finding the largest list of email addresses possible and sending the same message and offer to everyone on that list. This practice was inefficient and often resulted in a large number of recipients deleting the emails prior to reading them, because the information did not directly apply to them. Blanket email campaigns do little more than alienate your potential customers and cause you, the sender, to be labeled as “spam.” Dividing your email lists into similar customer segments, then targeting content toward each segment, greatly increases open and interaction rates.
 

Personalization

Just like you, today's customers are bombarded with advertisements daily, making them more likely to open emails that not only talk to their specific needs, but also are more personalized. Therefore, beyond determining which of your customer segments gets which message, each of these messages needs to be crafted so that your customers feel that you are talking directly to them, understand their needs and want to help them. These kinds of emails generate more click throughs to your website and can lead to increased sales.
 

Cross-Channel Promotion

Consumers' increased usage of digital and mobile communication has modified their expectations for email marketing. Simple messages, even with an accompanying graphic, are not enough to move them to action. Consumers, 72% of them according to a 2012 Social Media Today article, want to not only be reached through multiple channels, but also want to join in campaign conversations on the channel of their choice. To meet this need, reinforce your message and acquire leads, your email campaign messaging must provide links back to your website, social networks and more.
 
In addition, the results from a study by Regalix, a global innovation company, released in March 2014 found that most marketers want email management systems that not only allow automation of email campaigns, but also manage cross-channel campaigns and deliver personalized experiences based on the customers individualized needs. By promoting products or services across channels with correctly targeted content and personalization, you can effectively capitalize on the overlap in potential customer categories and increase sales with minimal effort.
 

What this Means for You

OffWhite works with you to develop email marketing campaigns specifically targeted to each user group. Through ongoing market research, we are able to develop effective content that not only informs your customers, but drives them to action. We have also developed the Ed.it™2 digital marketing platform that allows users to completely manage every aspect of an email campaign, including list management, link tracking, cross-channel promotion and analytics reporting. You can maximize the results of every email campaign by coupling Ed.it™2 with targeted content that speaks to the pain points of your customers.
 
To learn more about our email tools and our strategies, contact Jane Cirigliano at 800.606.1610.
 
 
 
Published by Bill White , June 19th, 2014
 
You remember the “flux capacitor” from the Michael J. Fox movie “Back to the Future.” This device ran on orange peels and egg shells, and was the key to propelling Marty McFly and the Professor through time. The flux capacitor is a good example of lexicon – words, phrases, talking points – that every company develops when technology emerges from R&D. It’s the language you speak, the abbreviations and acronyms that form a shorthand among you and your team.
 
Don’t expect everyone to understand it. For most, especially those in your sales channel and your customers, it’s a foreign language. For new employees, it’s a barrier to understanding, a thicket to navigate that begs for context and some hands-on training.
 
The words and phrases you use to advance the benefits of your products and services, your “flux capacitor,” demand attention early and often. At OffWhite, we urge our clients to formalize this lexicon, beginning with a simple glossary and expanding to a management-approved manual, or at least an online reference, that leads us through the business like an old-fashioned vocabulary lesson.
 
Doing so benefits your company in three ways:
 
1) Productivity
The concept of healthcare, life science and technology services and products is difficult enough to explain on its own. The production, distribution, sale and maintenance of your products, however, becomes the real obstacle if everyone in your company isn’t using the same vocabulary to describe your products and the processes that surround them.
 
Variations in speech might seem minor on the surface, but the reality is they decrease your business’ productivity. Time after time, these variations cause confusion amongst employees across and within departments in your company. They call for explanation and corrective action, wasting valuable time and resources. Having a formalized lexicon streamlines your company’s communication. This, in turn, reduces confusion and increases productivity.
 
2) Credibility
Consistent language across a company’s print, digital and spoken communication establishes and maintains credibility. Like professional attire, a standardized company language signals to your audience that you care about the details and are an authority on the subject. Like uniforms, this consistency allows your audience to recognize, and your employees to identify with, your message even though it comes from various communication channels and individuals.
 
3) Search Rankings
Before making decisions about your company lexicon, you should consider your customers. How do they refer to your products and services? These words form the basis of their online queries. The more your digital content aligns with these keywords, the higher your company appears in search rankings, and is more likely to be found by your consumers.
 
Language is essential to communication. Communication makes or breaks your business. This is why it's crucial to reflect on and maintain your company’s language.
 
Is your company lexicon acting as more of a barrier than a bridge? Contact us today and we’ll help you establish your language and streamline your communication.
 
 
 
Published by Nat Miller, June 5th, 2014
Web Content is King
 
“Are websites obsolete?”
 
This is the question posed in a recent business marketing LinkedIn group discussion. Many experts weighed in on each side of this subject, touting everything from site traffic data and social media reach to customer surveys and testimonials as reasons in favor of or against using websites to market companies online. While no one presented information in the forum that was conclusive, one point remains clear: feelings about websites are currently mixed, but content remains the catalyst that drives online traffic. This trend is true now and will continue far into the future.
 

Social media has its place

Social media is great when you use it to complement your website, but take care not to get caught up in all the hype. Lately, so much focus has been placed on social media content that populating the corresponding company website has seemed secondary. A social media presence is designed to perpetuate a company’s brand, position them as a leader in the industry, and allow interaction with their customers or potential customers. A strong social media presence is necessary, but there needs to be a place to redirect that social traffic to capture contact information and provide an in-depth view of products and services as well.

 

What does your website say about you?

Websites often are the first impression that potential customers have of your brand. Recently, some companies have chosen to redesign to a minimalist platform that encourages the visitor to call or email for more information, providing very little useful content on their actual website. This is a short-sighted venture as providing too little information can be as dangerous as providing too much.
 

Information is vital to interaction

Is your website robust, providing detailed information on products and services? If not, you’re missing an opportunity to effectively engage visitors by providing answers to common questions, which can aid in making purchase decisions. Additionally, when researching information on your company or product, many internet users still turn to search engines that direct them to your website before visiting social media.
 
OffWhite works with you to develop digital marketing plans that integrate many different media types, including websites, social media, email campaigns and newsletters. Each facet of these plans always hinges on the content used to populate the campaigns. Your customers remain hungry for information, and we want to help you provide it to them.
 
To learn how, contact Jane Cirigliano at 800.606.1610.
 
 
 
Published by Nat Miller, May 15th, 2014
Facebook Ammo
 
Optimizing for Today's Marketplace
Social media has become more than a place to post photos of friends or catch up with long-distance family members. Social networks now lead you to where real business is being done. Today's online marketplace is fast paced and constantly changing, with best practices centered on analytics reporting and measurable traffic results. Content marketing and content optimization allow companies from all sectors, including the biotechnology and life sciences, to compete worldwide for online visitors. While much has been written on optimizing content for Google search results on individual company webpages and websites, the same theories and principles hold true for social media content.
 
Facebook Optimization
Social media networks have come a long way in the development of tools for businesses, with Facebook making one of the most notable investments in analytics tracking and reporting. Whereas Facebook business pages used to be little more than glorified personal accounts, today they are dedicated marketing tools complete with a robust backend reporting system. Businesses are now able to monitor much more than Likes. Understanding how total visitors, reach, impressions, and interaction data all correspond is a daunting task. However, just as business content managers have learned to optimize for Google search results, social media managers should learn to optimize Facebook content as well.
 
At OffWhite, we spend alot of time reviewing social media information, best practices, and analytics data to ensure our clients are using the appropriate strategies to reach their target markets. Through our review, we have identified three main items that most companies do not do well in terms of optimizing their Facebook presence.
  1. Not using photos: “A picture is worth a thousand words” is a common phrase that still rings true for online content, especially social content. Facebook allows you to easily upload photos, tag “friends”, leave comments, and post to your wall, all of which can help to increase the reach of your posts.
  2. Inactivity: Being active on social media is the single best method of attracting additional buzz and interactions. Posting relevant information and status updates 3-5 times a week is an appropriate level for a business. Posting much more than that can seem bothersome and may cause you to lose hard-earned “Likes”.
  3. Using an unprofessional tone: Facebook is a social network and therefore is a forum where businesses can interact on a more personal level with their customers. This is not a license to post as freely as if you were an individual. All content postings should be professional in nature, well written, and pertinent to your audience. Encourage interaction and position your company as an authority in the industry, offering to answer questions or providing best practice suggestions.
By focusing on fixing these three issues, businesses can drive more visitors to their websites and increase the ROI on their existing social media program.
 
Today's social media networks are becoming powerful marketing tools with integrated reporting capabilities and broad professional reach. Businesses in a variety of industries can benefit from creating an additional touch point with their customers on any of the major social networks.
 
Is your social media program working for you? To learn more about how OffWhite can build a program that works for you, contact Bill White at 800-606-1610.
 
 
 
Published by Jane Cirigliano, May 8th, 2014
With all of the big data available to companies, all too often we see people looking at too many numbers and not focusing in on the right metrics. Businesses should only collect data that will help them make decisions that will generate qualified leads and drive sales efforts. However, most of the data readily available through off-the-shelf software is what we refer to as Vanity Metrics.
 
Vanity Metrics
Vanity Metrics
Vanity Metrics make you feel good if they go up - they are easy to manipulate, but don't help you make decisions. Website "hits" are a great example of Vanity Metrics. A hit is recorded anytime a graphic is loaded (multiple hits per page if you have an image-heavy website), a page is loaded, a video is played, a javascript file is called, etc. They are easy to track, but they don't really tell you much about your website's performance or your customers' behavior. Vanity Metrics don't tell you a story about where you were successful and how you can continue and improve upon that success. Furthermore, you can fall into a trap of working to improve the wrong metrics that are not contributing to the quality of a user's experience, increasing sales or driving ROI.
 
Actionable Metrics
Actionable Metrics tell you what you should do to increase your website's effectiveness. They show you what is working, and areas that you need to improve. Perhaps you saw a spike in traffic or online sales toward the end of the month. Actionable Metrics help you track exactly what caused those extra visitors and ecommerce conversions. Actionable Metrics are more time-consuming to collect than vanity metrics because you may look at several metrics to determine a cause-and-effect scenario that will drive traffic through your website along a path that you have chosen to optimize sales.
 
Examples of Actionable Metrics include:
  1. A/B Testing
    Setting up a split test allows you to confirm what you believe about your customers' behavior. When launching a new product on your website, show 50% of your visitors one image and message, and the other 50% a different message. Track your sales to see which message performs better, and adopt it for all visitors.
  2. Determine ROI
    Simply knowing your top traffic sources is interesting, but knowing which traffic sources are resulting in the most sales gives you ROI and helps you decide where to spend your time and advertising budget.
  3. Segment Data
    Remember that your website visitors are people. Segment your metrics so that you can track user behavior based on whether they are new or returning customers, their market segment, product interest and more.
  4. Funnel Analysis
    If you haven't already, determine the stages of your sales funnel. As customers move from one stage of your funnel to the next, the percentage of those conversion rates should remain steady or grow. If your conversion rates are dropping at a particular stage, you need to take action.
 
Are you collecting the right data? To learn more about collecting Actionable Metrics for your business, contact Bill White at 800-606-1610.
 
 
 
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Offenberger & White, Inc. (OffWhite) is an integrated marketing solutions company based in Marietta, Ohio, USA.
 
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