Reducing Manpower: 13 Marketing Processes You Can Automate Or Outsource Today

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Are you seeking a way to reduce internal manpower without cutting back on your marketing efforts?

If so, it may be time to look into automation and outsourcing.

It can be difficult to automate and/or outsource marketing processes, as “having a hand in the action” allows you to feel more in control.

Even if you decide to move in this direction, it doesn’t mean you will completely remove yourself from the marketing side of your business. It simply means that you’re getting help where you need it the most.

Here are 13 marketing processes you can automate or outsource today:

1. Email Marketing

Did you know that approximately 205 billion email messages are sent every day?

Not all of these contain a marketing message, but many of them do. If you’re spending too much time on email marketing, such as by tracking results and sending follow-ups, you can…

The Rise of the UX Goldrush

UX design is one of the most in-demand disciplines but hasn’t always been the hot topic it is today. The term was created in the 90’s when psychologist Don Norman joined Apple. Norman wanted a term that covered all aspects of a person’s interaction with a device: physical, technical, and psychological. Soon, other industry leaders like IBM and Facebook put design-thinking front and center; and as studies began to suggest that design-driven companies could out-perform their competitors, executives across industries jumped on board.

Now UX is considered a key to successful product strategy. But how does it apply when you’re creating something the world has never seen before? Emerging technology is challenging the young conventions of user experience, and designers everywhere are excited to take on that challenge and define what’s next.

The result? A goldrush.

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Illustration by Propoint designer John A.

The Consumer Is Now The User

Consumer technology is becoming a status symbol, and with AI and the Internet of Things, that technology is only becoming more complex. Smart devices can include everything from connected home appliances to wearables, and UX designers are responsible for making them intuitive…

3 crucial ASO techniques to stand out (VB Live)

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To boost organic downloads by at least 20 percent — and we’ve seen triple that rate — you need your ASO game. For highlights of the latest VB Insight mega-report on ASO, key best practices, and can’t-miss insights, register now for this interactive VB Live event!

ASO, short for app store optimization, and the best thing ever for long-term value, means making sure your mobile app ranks as high as possible in app store search results. That’s a great outcome in any scenario, but in today’s app store environment, it’s literally do-or-dead app. Why?

“Oh, man, because there’s close to a billion apps just in iTunes alone?” says Trey Stout, CTO and Co-founder of ScribbleChat and Handwriting.io, and a self-taught nerd from back in the day when the Apple II was cutting edge.

Supply and demand in the app store

So Stout has seen some things, from the dawn of app proliferation until nowadays, when the prospects for a new app can be grim. Less than fifty percent of smartphone users actually installed apps in the last year, Stout says.

There’s not only a massive oversupply problem, but demand for new and exciting specialized apps is actually shrinking as the big platforms start to load up on features and take back ground they’ve lost. Within Facebook Messenger alone, you can take pictures and pretty them up, schedule events with your friends, buy concert tickets, find movie showtimes, and so on and so on.

“A lot of things that used to be single-purpose apps have just sort of been consumed by these ever-expanding social platforms,” Stout explains, “So the demand has shifted away, I think, from just cruising the store looking for cool stuff, to where it’s basically just noise. And so I think because you’ve got this oversupply and a shrinking advantage, it becomes more important than ever to stand out in the crowd.”

Leave the gimmicks behind

That means you need a solid ASO strategy that doesn’t rely on tricks and schemes like keyword stuffing, but instead is fueled by an solid understanding of the context apps are being sold in, and what customers are actually interested in and need.

Apple especially is coming down hard on the gimmicky ASO techniques. For instance, shrinking the title character limit all the way down to 30 words, as well as explicitly banning terms or descriptions that are not actually the name of the app,…

9 Strategies for Using Customer Testimonials in Your Content

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We look for and act on (even if subconsciously) social proof in all areas our life – including how we behave and the purchasing decisions we make online.

It doesn’t matter if that social proof comes from friends or strangers. What matters is that we’re seeing evidence from our peers – in this context, other consumers – that the decision we’re about to make is the right one.

As OptinMonster, co-founded by Syed Balkhi, writes:

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior.

In fact, according to Nielsen research, “92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer, and 70% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know.”

These recommendations can come in many forms. Word-of-mouth and third-party reviews come to mind, as well as what I’m focusing on in this article – testimonials.

Testimonials are a type of review and social proof. They serve the same purpose (guiding potential customers and helping overcome objections), but they’re different in one big way: Testimonials are sought and selected by you. This means you have full control over which testimonials are used, as well as where and how they are displayed.

We’ll look at ways to leverage testimonials in your content and other marketing materials; but first, let’s talk about how to get them and present them for maximum impact.

Getting and crafting testimonials

The only way to get testimonials is to ask for them – but how?

Randomly contacting customers to request a testimonial can work only to an extent. For best results, implement a system that allows you to request and receive testimonials at scale.

Follow up with recent customers

Your product or service will be fresh in the minds of your recent customers so this is a great time to ask them what they think of their experience.

Bear in mind that recent customers are only going to be able to comment on their experience with you up to this point. This isn’t a bad thing. Securing testimonials from customers at all stages of their relationship can help you address and overcome a wider range of objections.

Use drip campaigns to automatically send emails to recent customers after a set time to secure their testimonial.

Follow up again later

Expand those same drip campaigns to send emails to two groups of customers:

  • Customers who didn’t respond to your initial email – Perhaps they hadn’t yet formed a solid opinion of your product or service and will be more receptive to a request for a testimonial later down the line.
  • Customers who replied to your initial email with a testimonial – You know they’re receptive to your requests, so why not ask them for another testimonial now that they’re better acquainted with your product or service?

Approach your best customers individually

You know your best customers are going to give you a great testimonial. Better yet, the simple act of reaching out to them personally will strengthen their relationship with you and your brand. It’s a huge win-win all around.

Ask the right questions

Don’t just ask for “a testimonial.” Ask product- or service-specific questions that guide your customers toward writing testimonials that aren’t just complimentary but informative and inspirational as well.

Ideally, aim to extract examples of how your product or service has benefited them. You can do this by asking questions like:

  • How much money did our product save you?
  • How much time does our product save you each day/week/month?
  • What’s the biggest benefit you’ve seen as a result of using our product?

Design great testimonials

We know that a great testimonial should include specific product or service details, but what does this really mean?

It means that vague statements like “great product” or “love it” don’t cut it. Instead, your testimonials should describe what is so great about your product or service and how it benefited your customers.

Remember, too, that you don’t have to use testimonials in the exact format you receive them. Edit spelling or grammatical errors and feel free to paraphrase if it helps focus your message and maximize impact. Just be sure to send any significant changes back to the customer for approval before publishing the testimonial.

Include these elements in a testimonial

Alongside the testimonial itself, include a name, date, and photograph of the customer who provided it. If possible, include a link to the customer’s website. This information all serves to help legitimize the testimonial. After all, which of these would you trust more?

These?

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Or these?

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Now that you know how to collect testimonials and how to present them for maximum impact, let’s look at nine ways to…

Rented media: When paid and owned media combine

Owned media and paid media are merging — enter “rented” media.

What was once taken for granted as free access and unfettered distribution to brands’ audiences is now increasingly being charged for. For all the discussion of martech and ad tech colliding, what’s been overlooked is that these technologies are simply following the media they power. Social, email, and now even web presence channels are increasingly not pure free media, but the media equivalent of freemium heading to premium only.

Case #1: Social

When Facebook and Twitter first exploded onto the digital media scene, brands couldn’t get enough of it. These platforms encouraged brands to build out their pages, acquire followers and invest in regular publishing on social. The tech companies promised brands a way to engage with their audiences and told investors not to fret monetizing because the key was building a vibrant community first.

After significant investment by the brands, and huge growth by the platforms, we now live in a world…

SEM growth hack #4: Grow ROI with cross-channel optimization

This article addresses the importance of optimizing your SEM (search engine marketing), SEO (search engine optimization) and PLA (product listing ads) channels together to gain monster ROI growth in the search channel.

Optimization of search advertising often occurs in a vacuum where SEM, SEO and PLA efforts are optimized separately. By optimizing these channels together, you can save money on unneeded ad spend while boosting your page visibility in the right places to generate more sales or leads — pushing you into monster growth territory!

Why cross-channel optimization matters

Search engine results pages (SERPs) feature different sections where different types of results appear. These sections include, but are not limited to, organic listings, text ads, product listing ads, local results, image results, news results and more. In implementing a holistic, cross-channel strategy, which takes into account site visibility across these different sections, we can direct our search marketing efforts to the channel where they will have the biggest impact on a keyword-by-keyword basis.

There are measurable benefits to optimizing SEM, SEO and PLA channels together:

  1. Weak SEO. If you are weak in organic rank, you can quickly gain top-of-page visibility by boosting paid efforts in either SEM or PLA (as relevant for the keyword at hand).
  2. Save money on SEM. If you are strong in organic rank, you could save some money on SEM by lowering to position 3 or 4.
  3. Drive efforts based on SERP layout rather than channel. Manage the media channel that commands the top spot in the SERP (search engine results page) layout for each keyword. For example,…

This Buzzy Pop Singer’s New Video Has a Notable Costar: Hyatt’s Confidante Hotel

Partnership was ‘a natural fit,’ says the client

It’s no secret, girlfriend: That dude is worthless. So, weak moment or not, why would you even consider going back to him? This situation calls for a BFF squad, a musical pep talk (with synchronized choreography!), a dip into a crystalline Miami Beach pool, and a flock of flamingos. In that order.

And in the case of British pop-star-on-the-rise Dua Lipa, it means a budding partnership with Hyatt Hotels for the pastel-swathed fempowered music video below, which has racked up nearly 13 million views in its first few days.

Lipa’s video for her single “New Rules” shows off not only her model good looks and songwriting chops but Hyatt’s boutique hotel, The Confidante. While branding is subtle, the rooms, mid-century modern decor and spectacular oceanfront pool get as much face time as Lipa and her gal pals.

The match made sense for the venue because “its inspiration and its name came from the notion of being a trusted friend,” said Sandra Micek, Hyatt’s svp of global brands.

The hotel chain, which has set up a group called Unbound Collection for its…

How an Obscure 1971 Allstate Commercial Became the Best Wedding Present Ever

In 1971, Guisto Patinella, a science teacher in Kankakee, Illinois, was rear-ended by another car while giving a couple of students a ride to school. He was so satisfied with Allstate’s response to his insurance claim that he ended up starring in a commercial for the company.

Now, some 46 years later, the marketer has dug up that old ad, at the request of the family, as a surprise to play at the wedding of Patinella’s son, David.

Patinella’s daughter, Gina Witt, cooked up the idea while brainstorming gifts for her brother’s nuptials. The two siblings had never seen the commercial, only heard about it from their father, who died in…

Mayim Bialik and SodaStream Study the Primitive ‘Homoschlepiens’ and Their Bottled Water

A cautionary tale from the year 2136

Picture a world where plastic bottles no longer exist. It’s a world where everyone wants to preserve the environment and laughs at the silly wasting of plastic when water and other delicious beverages can be found through other means–like a SodaStream machine.

A new campaign from the brand imagines a time when plastic bottles are relics from the past, relegated to display cases and museums. In the case of this SodaStream ad, “The Homoschlepiens,” plastic bottles are sent to the Museum of Unnatural History, where inquisitive school children can go and learn all about the doomed generation that lugged them around to quench their thirst.

The campaign stars two faces you might recognize–Big Bang Theory actress Mayim Bialik, and Kristian Nairn (Hodor from Game of Thrones). Bialik plays a field researcher in the year 2136….

New York Mets and New England Patriots Back Esports League

Game play in 'Overwatch,' for which a new league will create teams based in certain cities. Esports leagues have until now been borderless, unlike traditional sports.
Game play in ‘Overwatch,’ for which a new league will create teams based in certain cities. Esports leagues have until now been borderless, unlike traditional sports.

Love him or hate him, Robert Kraft has taken the New England Patriots to new heights. Now a major video game marketer is hoping that the CEO of the Super Bowl-winning franchise can lend his magic touch to esports as the burgeoning industry lurches toward the mainstream.

Kraft will own one of seven founding franchises for Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League. The league, which is expected to begin play later this year, eventually hopes to lure 28 teams to compete globally in the team-based shooting game, which Activision-Blizzard says has more than 30 million individual players worldwide.

While other esports leagues are borderless, the Overwatch League will be filled with city-based teams. Organizers hope the setup, which more closely mirrors traditional sports leagues, will make the league more appealing to sponsors and advertisers.

“We think that this is the model that has been missing from esports,” said Pete Vlastelica, a former Fox Sports exec who leads Activision-Blizzard-owned Major League Gaming. MLG operates MLG.tv, an online broadcast network for professional gaming. “It’s a model that we’ve all seen work very well in traditional sports, both in terms of creating fans as well as unlocking value in the form a of ticket sales and venue opportunities and local sponsorships.”

'Overwatch' World Cup Competitors.
‘Overwatch’ World Cup Competitors. Credit: Activision Blizzard, Inc.

The founding franchise owners, which Activision Blizzard announced today, also include Jeff Wilpon, chief operating officer of the New York Mets and a partner of Sterling Equities. Other…