Author Archives | Caitlynn Cush

Instagram at it again – Blatantly copies yet another Snapchat function

“I think it would frankly be silly of us if we were to say ‘Oh, see that good idea over there that’s actually fulfilling a need people have to share more moments of their life? Because one person did that we can’t even go near that idea.”

That’s Instagram’s VP of Product Kevin Weil’s explanation concerning the recent cloning of Snapchat – again.  Rather than showing guilt, remorse, or even reluctance about copying what has obviously worked for Snapchat, he sees it as an obvious conclusion.  

“If we are being honest with ourselves, this is the way the tech industry works and frankly it’s how all industries work.  Good ideas start in one place, and they spread across the entire industry.  Kudos to Snapchat for being the first to Stories, but it’s a format it’s going to be adopted widely across a lot of different platforms.” 

Weil offers the analogy that “Pixar was the first to do computer animated films but I think we’re all better because of folks like Dreamworks that are also bringing great films.”

The bigger question here isn’t why Instagram copied Snapchat stories, or even if it’s the right move for Instagram’s business but is it honorable?

 “I don’t think there’s an honor to it. I guess that’s not a word that I’d ascribe to it.” – Kevin Weil

The tech industry boasts how much they pride themselves on innovation, but is that really just shrouded by rapid repetition?

What are your thoughts on the whole matter of social media apps blatantly copying of their competitors? We would love to hear all about it in the comments below.

 

 

Posted in Social Media Marketing1 Comment

10 Stupid Simple Ways To Grow Your Email Marketing List

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.  Marketing Sherpas research has shown that your email subscriber list is most likely going to degrade by about 22.5% every year.  For various reasons:

  • Subscribers’ email addresses change as they move from one company to another
  • Unqualified leads opt out of your email communications
  • People abandon their old Yahoo address they really never use except for “spam” sites
  • Your email content no longer applies to their needs/desires

Now for the good news…There are tons of easy ways to continue to grow or build your email marketing list back up.  As a marketer it is your job to infuse fresh contacts into your email campaigns that you can keep your numbers growing.  This is done with a little bit of ingenuity and time, not by purchasing or renting a list, as we discussed a few weeks back.

Below is a list of 10 ways to ramp up your email database for free:

Grow it with new content

1) Create a new lead-gen offer such as a free ebook or whitepaper which would be available for download after they provide you with their email.  This is a pretty standard lead-gen move.  Create a landing page with an opt-in form and a teaser about the free item. The page then normally leads the subscriber down an offer flow or deeper into your blog.  

2)Create a free online tool or app.  Again just like the ebook or whitepaper the visitor would supply you with their email address in order to obtain access to the download.  Make sure to make the tool and/or app worthy of their email address offering. 

Grow it with Networking, Traditional Marketing and Advertising

3)  Collect email addresses at tradeshows or other offline events.  There are a ton of industry events everywhere, of course some are much larger than other but even the smallest of crowds could help you grow your database.  Find networking events in your area on sites suchs as MeetUp.com and make sure you are armed with business cards with a link leading them to your lead-gen page.  Of course always remember to send these contacts a welcome email confirming their opt-in to your list.  

4) Host your own offline events.  Not finding any networking events in your area? Host your own using sites like MeetUp.com or other social media platforms.  Send a blast out on Twitter or create a boosted Facebook post.  

5) Host an online webinar or podcast. Collect email addresses at registration.  Remember to make the webinar or podcast valuable not a timewaster.  

6) Add a QR code to your traditional printed marketing campaigns.  People can easily scan them to opt-in to your list.  Plus they just look “new agey.”

Grow it with the help of a partner

7) Host a co-marketing campaign or offer with a partner.  Ask for the help of a partner (should be a known entity – again not a purchased or rented list) to co-promote the lead capture to both his and your own list.  After the launch the list becomes a shared resource.  

8)  Have affiliates run your offer on their website.  You will either have to reciprocate with an equal amount of traffic to your site or set up a pay per subscriber scenario.  

Grow it with Social Media

8)  Add a simple sign up page to your Facebook page.  Yeah, that sounds silly but many people simply overlook this.  There are many different app options to add and set up an email sign-up form to your Facebook page alone. Most email list servers have a custom Facebook app that syncs with your list from Facebook.

Some suggested email sign-up apps are:

9)  Preview or give teasers of premium content via your social channels.  Just as with your lead-gen page, you can give a glimpse of your free ebook or whitepaper and ask for their email information in exchange for the entire download.   Tweet, post, or share excerpts from the ebook/whitepaper to drive interest and traffic to your lead-gen page.  Make sure you include a visual component in each post.

10) Leverage your YouTube channel.  Add call to action and URLs in to all your posted videos that will encourage visitors to subscribe to your list.  

All of the above examples are ways that you can ramp up your email list today.  Many of them are not even too difficult to put into action.  The objective being to stay on top of your list building so that it never truly dies out.  Keep cycling out the dead weight (look for an upcoming article on list segregation), nurturing the veterans, while still growing the fresh subscribers.  

What other ways do you use to grow your list? We would love to hear your ideas!

Posted in Affiliate Marketing, Email Marketing1 Comment

21 New Rules of Content Marketing [Infographic]

When I sit down to draft a new post or article, my initial focus is always crafting something that is both original and engaging that readers will want to both read and share with their friends and colleagues because they either find it interesting, informative, or funny.

We have visited the topic of content marketing many times before, however it seems there are still plenty of things left to discuss in order for all of us to reach the people that we hope in our mind’s eye to reach. The questions are many and will most likely never all be answered, but is that such a bad thing?  This just means there is always room for growth, improvement and refinement.

Kayak Online Marketing has put together a handy infographic spelling out the 21 new rules of content marketing.  This should get us headed in the right direction and on a clear path towards even more answers.

Posted in Content Creation0 Comments

More fuel for Wall Street’s latest Tech Rally

Apple and Facebook are the last of the top five U.S. tech companies by market value to release their quarterly results which should happen later this week.  They are to follow reports already released from the other tech giants Alphabet, Microsoft and Amazon.com which came out last week.

Those reports impressed analysts so much that it has fueled a confidence frenzy all over Wall Street.

“If we look at the lion’s share of the numbers, they’re performing above expectations,” said Daniel Morgan, a portfolio manager at Synovus Trust, which owns shares of Apple worth about $41 million and shares of Facebook worth $68 million.

“It gives validity to my position, which is that tech is, by far, the most exciting sector,” Morgan said.  – Fortune.com

Shares for both Facebook and Apple hit record highs on Tuesday, thus adding to the already high 16% push of the S&P 500 technology index this year alone.  And with President Donald Trump’s plans calling for steep corporate tax cuts and easing of tax restrictions on profits that are earned abroad, Apple along with other technology companies would be able to return more cash to shareholders.

“Technology company earnings are expected to have grown 17.7% in the latest three months, the strongest quarterly expansion since 2014, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.” – Fortune.com

Apple is expected to report a 4.8% revenue increase when it reports Tuesday and Facebook a 45.6% increase in revenue in it’s reports Wednesday.

Technology is a big business and certainly the wave of our future.

 

Posted in Industry News0 Comments

How much marketing automation technology is too much?

In this high tech push-of-a-button day and age, it’s easy to get pulled into the hype of all the latest and greatest of automation technologies. However, even with all of that automation technology right at your fingertips it won’t make us better marketers if we aren’t actually using it.

So how much technology do we really need to be a successful marketer?

Scott Brinker recently took a peek into the world of automation systems, specific to the marketing genre, and his findings are astounding to say the least.

Source: Chiefmartec.com – From 2016 to 2017, 5X more marketing automation vendors were added than removed

 

Brinker provided us with a preview of this ever growing landscape by showing the marketing automation category going back to one of his first studies in 2011 all the way to the current year, 2017.  At a quick glance at the images above it’s easy to see that not only has the technology sprouted but it’s almost exploded with growth over the last six years.

The snapshot for 2017 shows 212 vendors, 66 of them are brand new this year.  With that many vendors available to a marketer, how in the world does one even begin to narrow down which one or ones is the right fit for them?

The simple answer is of course research.

When looking for an automation solution, a good place to start is always with a good old Google search.  Once you have skimmed the surface, then it’s time to dive deeper.  Check on blogs you trust, such as this one, or other non-affiliated lists that spell out each vendor’s pros and cons.  Talk to colleagues that might already be using a solution that fits your needs.

Don’t get overwhelmed. That is sometimes easier said than done, since looking at any marketing automation platform’s pricing page you will most likely quickly be swamped with features galore, plans, and pricing.

Take a deep breath and dig in with a specific set of tools that you need set in stone in the back of  your mind’s eye.

The bigger question  – how much is too much?

In a recent study conducted by GetResponse, they polled over 255 email marketers in B2B and B2C regarding the effectiveness of their current marketing automation tools.  Only 13.1% said they were highly effective. Meaning that the majority fell in the Good or Intermediate ranges (14.4 and 18.5 respectively).

Source: GetResponse.com Email and Marketing Automation Excellence 2017

That’s a whole lot of automation technology that just isn’t cutting it for the marketing crowd as a whole.

Interesting takeaway from this report could be that marketers are spending a huge chunk of their overall advertising budget on automation technology tools, but they just aren’t getting the return they were hoping for. 

Are we being replaced by robots?

Back in August of 2016, AJ Agrawal, writing for Entrepreneur.com, was particularly cautious of this very same subject. He warned against using marketing automation tools to support a lazy side chair approach to marketing. Automation tools are designed to increase productivity and the effort that it would take to do the same tasks manually, not replace it.

Which brings us to the posed question: How much is too much?

First, make a list of tasks that you would like to replace with an automation tool.  Keeping in mind that these tools that you are seeking should enhance your efforts, not take away the human aspect of your marketing plan. 

It seems simplistic, but getting a handle on a clear path of what you need now – not 10 years from now – is the key to making the right marketing automation choice.  Just because the vendor offers a “Lambo” version, doesn’t meant that you need to blow your budget on it.  If everything that your company needs falls in the low or even mid-tier plans, then by all means stick with either one of those.

What do you think?

How much automation is too much for you? Do you have any specific set of tools that you feel that your company couldn’t live without?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Posted in Affiliate Marketing, Content Creation, Conversion Optimization, CPA Marketing, ecommerce, Email Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Productivity, Social Media Marketing0 Comments

What Can Marketers Take Away from the United Fiasco

It was all the buzz heard around the world: A 69-year old doctor that was literally dragged out of his seat on an overbooked United flight. And of course as is now the norm, passengers were quick to record the whole debacle on their cell phones, just like any good citizen reporter would do.

Within mere hours, United was slammed head first into a public relations nightmare. The images being shared around almost every social media outlet known to man, was only fuel for the negative backlash the company would endure.

This begs the question, what can you as a marketer learn from United’s crisis?  Especially if you are marketing your own products / services.

Forecast risk – think ahead of all the possible pit falls that you and your brand might need to overcome before they even happen.  I’m not suggesting a dooms day scenario, but it wouldn’t hurt to at least have a plan in place for such off the wall instances.

Designate a team or go-to person – This should be someone (or a team) that is an expert in communication.  Someone that is up for the task of being the face and voice of your brand should things go off kilter.

Train your team – Make sure everyone that has anything to do with your brand knows that even though customers might not always be right, that they should still be treated with the utmost respect.

Be prepared – Just like forecasting risk and making a plan, your brand should be prepared for the backlash from both the highs and lows.

 

Posted in Affiliate Marketing, CPA Marketing, Home Business, Social Media Marketing0 Comments

The Ultimate Digital Marketing Roadmap [Infographic]

You have an idea, a concept, maybe even a somewhat clear plan.

First step (well one of the first), mobile optimized website. Next – advertising, SEO, Social Media, and so on.

There is arguably so much to accomplish before you can flip that entrepreneur switch.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was something like a checklist or even a map to help you navigate all the bits and pieces?

Lucky for you, TwoLegit has put together this handy dandy roadmap to your digital marketing success.

 

Posted in Affiliate Marketing, Blogging, ecommerce, Home Business, Media Buying, Mobile Marketing, Productivity, Search Engine Optimization-SEO, Social Media Marketing0 Comments

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