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Gobble ‘til you Wobble

November 26th, 2013
by Haley

Happy Thanksgiving from SiteLab!

How does a Turkey drink her wine?
In a gobble-let

What do you get after eating way too much turkey and dressing?
Dessert, of course!

What SiteLabbers are thankful for this Thanksgiving:

 

Some of Social Media Specialist, Kari Embree’s most memorable moments:

Reconnecting with Social Fresh organizers I met last year as a volunteer, and making new connections who I look forward to getting to know both personally & professionally.

Getting super fresh w/ speaker CC Chapman

Being completely energized by the excitement & brain power of the SocialFresh speakers and attendees. I met everyone from absolute social media beginners to experts at high-profile companies, with everyone being super cool and non-attitude-y, and everyone sharing and spreading knowledge.

Having “mobile, mobile, mobile” backed up by EVERYONE (makes me want to refresh my web development background…)!

Being reminded that if you aren’t measuring and analyzing your social media data, you’re missing a huge opportunity to improve and optimize.

Getting to try on the San Francisco Giants World Champs ring

 

Some of Sales Executive, Robert Barber’s most memorable moments: 

Robert getting into character for Social Fresh

Social Fresh West 2013 was an amazing event where I was able to meet thought leaders, entrepreneurs, bloggers and social marketing gurus.

I learned so much that it’s hard to pick just one tip that really stood out. One thing that I have taken to heart and have spread the word to my friends is to use “Quotes, Quips and Questions” when you need extra content. Also, using Over or other image editing software, you can create beautiful content with little effort. It’s time to bust out that old journal!

 

Some of Director of Business Development, Anthony McCabe’s most memorable moments:

SiteLabbers at Social Fresh- Anthony, Haley, Robert and Kari

Everything should be designed and laid out for Mobile devices first.  In the past, we as an industry designed for the desktop and then adapted the website to the mobile platform.  We now need to switch gears and think mobile first.  Desktops are becoming a thing of the past.

Employees should be number 1 and customers should be number 2.  If you have happy employees, then you will have happy customers.

This was the best conference I have ever been to.  Our industry is buzzing with excitement and innovation.  It was great being around that for two solid days.  It was hard not to walk out of there with a smile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BONUS! My team, the “Crazy8′s,” won the Social Fresh War. Now, my tweets are fresher than ever!

 

Overall the SiteLab team was thrilled to be part of such a wonderful learning and sharing experience.

On a scale of charcoal filtered vodka to Grey Goose, Social Fresh is definitely Grey Goose.

 

 

Top 3 takeaways from Social Fresh

September 3rd, 2013
by Haley

So much social knowledge in so little time.  I was fortunate enough to represent SiteLab, a sponsor of this year’s Social Fresh West 2013 conference.

This was my first year attending Social Fresh and I was simply blown away by the talent and the knowledge I was exposed to in a matter of two days. What was so great about the conference was that there was no fluff, no hour and half presentations with mindless information. The presentations were to the point but in depth with overall strategy and key tips. I believe this was made possible because the conference was so focused on feeding high value information to a focused set of social media professionals. With only 400 people in attendance, it created an intimate environment where networking and learning from attendees was not only do-able, but encouraged.

There is no way I could sum up everything I learned in one blog post, because every single presentation was stimulating, but I do want to share the top three takeaways that stuck out in my mind.

Top three takeaways

1.   Mobile IS your Social Media Strategy! 

“Mobile is the 1st screen.”  – Tim Hayden, TTH Consulting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why? 60% of Americans 12+ are carrying a smart phone in their pocket and 70+ % of social media consumption is happening on smartphones and tablets. It’s safe to assume all of your customers have smart phones, make sure you are reaching them there ALL of the time.

Visual storytelling and listening should be some of the very first steps in your social media strategy, to ensure that not only all of your content and images are mobile friendly but that your links are too. How annoying is it when you’re on your smart phone and the link you click can’t be found? Everything must be fully responsive for mobile FIRST, then ensure it’s desktop and TV responsive.

Hayden’s finishing line was a prediction that left a big impression on me, “The mobile commerce revolution is going to be like putting the collaborative economy on steroids.”

Check out the rest of Tim Hayden’s slides here.

 

2. Keep the relationship growing

“Keep the relationships growing AFTER influencer marketing.” -C.C. Chapman

C.C. Champman, quite the influencer himself, spoke on the dos and the don’ts of influencer marketing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the first things C.C. mentioned was that influencer marketing is a two way relationship. Be professional but be personal, create those relationships that support the brand but continue to leave a lasting impression on youand the brand. Take the time to actually personalize an email and not just send out an auto response to 500 bloggers, treat them like the influencer they are. DON’T mail merge, use all caps definitely, and don’t be fake. A tip from C.C.: Keep it short and get to the point, influencers don’t want a ten paragraph long, sobby, heart drenching press release pitch. Also, the very first email you send should provide them with all of the assets they need to make this relationship and campaign as seamless as possible, e.g. images, videos, links, press releases, PDF documents and sometimes even Dropbox access.

Also, it’s crucial to keep in constant communications with these influencers! Whether it be emails checking up on them, video chat, phone calls, Retweets during and AFTER the influencer marketing campaign; you need to stay in touch. After all, effective social media is social, so communicate! Who knows what that relationship could turn into? The leads you receive could create the possibility for collaboration on future campaigns.

Check out the rest of C.C. Champman’s slides here.

 

3. Provide a Reason to care AND a reason to share

“Leadership is a pool, vision is singular, use it.” – Adrian Parker 

Adrian Parker, global head of social, mobile and emerging media at Intuit, spoke on how to “put a ring on it, moving beyond social engagement.” He related social engagement to the relationship with his wife, and his presentation had my mind blown one minute and laughing out loud the next.  Funny and to the point, Adrian made it clear that ROI is what we gain divided by what we gave, with extra attention on the what we gave! He stated that when trust is high, speed of business is high, therefore ROI goes up.

To fully understand why you must provide a reason to care and a reason to share you must know about the “Leap of Faith Hypothesis”.

The Leap of Faith Hypothesis is the notion that if we create a simple social solution for recognizing and rewarding professionals for sharing their stories with us, they will eagerly participate and amplify our voice. Once you have taken this leap of faith, figure out where your conversation is, evaluate it and then ask yourself, is this something I, as a consumer, would want to hear about?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out the rest of Adrian Parker’s slides here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out all of the Social Fresh West presentation slides here.

So, so fresh!

 

 

 

Last Friday, three of us SiteLabbers attended Interactive Day San Diego 2013, a conference highlighting the latest trends and best practices in marketing. There were quite a few well-known presenters from agencies and companies on the cutting-edge, including Danny Gray from Google, Wade Forst from Razorfish, and my personal fave, Rand Fishkin from Moz.

After a full-day of sessions about topics ranging from search marketing to social media to mobile and content development, I could see some real trends emerge. Here are my insights into what’s now and what’s next according to the presentations and conversions I had at Interactive Day.

Insight #1 – The Consumer is overwhelmed

Presenters from the agency side talked about the overwhelmed consumer and how we have to come up with ways to attract them to our client’s content over a competitor’s. Those on the brand side of things emphasized the importance of producing good content meaning content that the customer actually told the brand they want, the brand listened and produced it.

My favorite presentations was by Rand Fishkin called “The Nudge is mightier than the sword: What’s in store for SEO, Social Media & Content Marketing”. In it, he talked about how the consumer is overwhelmed with choices and there are several ways that we as marketers can “nudge” them towards the optimal choice for us and them.

One of the “nudge principles” that Rand and Dan Zarella of Hubspot both talked about is the fact that “Fewer choices lead to more actions”. The example they both used was the gratuitous display of sharing widgets on many websites, with well-known social media blogs like Social Media Examiner and Mashable being among the worst offenders.

Source: Rand Fishkin, MOZ presentation (Download: bit.ly/mightynudge)

Rand found that instead of offering as many choices as an Greek diner menu, offering one choice, like the OK Cupid blog does with Facebook, results in the most action (more likes).

Source: Rand Fishkin, MOZ presentation (Download: bit.ly/mightynudge)

Similarly, Dan Zarella found that the more links a brand posts, the less attention each one will get (and therefore lead to less action – a click). He told us to “Stop crowding out our own content. Let it breathe”. To do this, Dan had suggestions such as spacing out tweets and posts throughout the day; also, don’t be afraid to post during the weekend when you have the most captive audience and the least amount of noise from other brands.

Audience motivation is so important for increasing your chances that your content will be seen. As Dan said “the more value you feel you get by interacting with me, the more you’ll want to interact” — true for interactions online and off. Some ways that a brand can create value include scarcity (“I’m the first one to tweet this – cool!”), novelty (“I’ve never heard of such a thing – cool!”), and social proof (“My smart best friend likes this brand, so I do too”).  And sometimes, just by asking your audience to do you a solid by including a social call-to-action (“please retweet”) is motivation enough.

Insight #2 – Mobile. Is. It.

Anyone who mentioned mobile at Interactive Day, mentioned how it’s a must. It’s a non-negotiable. You have to consider mobile in any website, campaign, or initiative you take on.

During the morning keynote, John Durham of Catalyst S+F explained the importance of mobile very simply. It’s part of the user experience. The way we, as consumers, use your product or service through mobile is the way we use your product or service in your lives. John also called a mobile device a “life device”. He asked the audience “What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Look at your mobile phone”.

In a panel called “Sharing Economy”, Brandon Lachance of Carl’s Jr. was asked what he thought about platforms touting “mobile first”. His reply is that Carl’s Jr. won’t even consider a platform or option unless they put mobile first.

To demonstrate how we consumers put mobile first, Qualcomm’s Liya Sharif told the “Content in Context: Breaking Through The Noise In an Age of Digital Marketing” session audience about the “Born Mobile” campaign Qualcomm launched last year. In a rather disturbing, yet compelling YouTube video showing a “baby’s first text”, Liya showed how large-scale thematic campaigns using less highly produced videos like this one can be highly effective in breaking through the noise.

Insight #3 – You only need one digital marketing strategy.

Though each session followed a track, the marketing silos weren’t as clearly defined as they had been in previous years. Instead of the “social media”, “search”, “paid media” tracks of yesteryear, we went to sessions on “digital research”, “digital content” and “lead generation”.

Then Jonathan Renteria of Saatchi & Saatchi LA finally said it: “There are not many different marketing strategies (for SEO, social media), there is one digital marketing strategy.”

So, what are some ways we can build a comprehensive digital marketing strategy as brands with multiple agencies or as agencies with multiple brands? The speakers all had suggestions.

Brandon Lachance of Carl’s Jr. emphasized brand voice. He told us brand voice needs to be dialed in to make decisions and move quickly in social media. Also, a company like Carl’s Jr. has at least three different agencies – a PR agency, an agency of record, and a media buying agency. Brandon said all three agencies “play nicely” and work together to come up with campaign ideas, always going back to the brand voice and marketing goals to make decisions.

John Durham’s entire presentation was about media, not social media, paid media, or earned media, but media. He started his presentation by answering “What does media mean today?”: It’s all about the ME in MEdia. Media IS content that is going to reach ME, the consumer. And all media is digital at the core. John also said “screen size is the most important thing”. If you look at a typical 21-year old college student, they have an average of 6.9 gadgets – how are you going to reach them? Look to your digital marketing strategy.

The consumer must be at the heart of your digital marketing strategy, John says. The consumer experience is more important as ever. As marketers, we have a tendency to forget about that user experience, but it’s the only way you’re going to make a difference in reaching your goals.

To support your strategy and goals, it will also be important to look at the “new hire”. The jobs you’ll need to fill will be the designers, copywriters and technologists (read: content! content! content!) and analytics will be more crucial than ever.

Insight #4 – Media and journalism are converging

Don’t worry you unemployed journalists… you’re going to have a job in the very near future. Hint: Begin your search at Qualcomm.

All of the presenters emphasized the importance of good content, but there wasn’t an example of doing it on a greater scale than Qualcomm. Liya Sharif of Qualcomm began her presentation by telling us storytelling hasn’t changed since the beginning of time. People are still looking for conflict > drama > resolution. While many brands are losing grip on their own identities with all the feedback online, and attention spans are getting shorter and shorter (average 30 seconds), storytelling is a tried and true tactic for breaking through the noise. In fact, 78% of consumers trust brands who create their own content (tell stories), says Liya.

Qualcomm has recently undergone a major shift from exclusively marketing to a B2B audience to reaching out to consumers to care about “what’s inside” their phone too. To facilitate this challenging shift, the marketing department still is retooling to focus on brand journalism. The first outcome has been Qualcomm Spark, a digital magazine that attracts influential people like celebrities to tell the Qualcomm story through their words, pictures and videos.

Brand journalism is a new (or maybe revived) media approach industry-wide, with AMEX and Red Bull, and now Qualcomm leading the way. Everything Qualcomm does related to Spark is content-driven. Spark ad placements on influential tech sites include snippets of content that update in real-time as the content is updated on Spark. The site is lightly branded to allow for authentic, interesting or helpful content to take center stage. Video is emphasized.

Most helpful were Liya’s tips for selling brand journalism to the top. She says start with small KPIs. Also show the top brass how other people benefited from sharing your content. And my favorite, she says “Don’t be afraid of polarizing your audience. If everyone likes you, something is wrong.”

David Moye of the Huffington Post gives a tip for writing polarizing content: “Pitch to the heart and lower parts, not to the brain”. Also, remember to write press releases (and I’d say blog posts, articles, anything you’re going to be sharing) like you’re talking to your friends over beers, not to your parents over dinner. This is what gets people going.

I love going to these marketing conferences because it gives me a chance to see what’s going on outside of my little shared office in our boutique agency in La Jolla. From what I heard at this year’s Interactive Day San Diego, what’s going on is good. There was so much more emphasis on the consumer than I had ever heard before. Also, everybody is simplifying – from marketing plans to messaging.

I can dig that. Can you? Let us know in the comments if you’re seeing some of the same trends from your cubicle.

SiteLab at United Fresh

In the days before United Fresh 2013 San Diego, most are busy wrapping up last minute travel details, working through long to-do lists and scrambling to get out of town. We will arrive at the convention center next week and instantly be carried away by the dizzying pace of trade show booths, parties, events, meetings and activities that literally happen every 15 minutes. I’ve learned that spending a few minutes of planning before the trip always makes for a more fun, less stressful and highly productive experience.

After all, the whole point in attending a tradeshow like United Fresh is to return from the trip fully inspired, totally recharged and better connected to the industry. While you’re packing, scrambling and tending to last minute show details, I offer you my very own list of things that I absolutely, positively, surely will not miss at this years show. Be sure to check out the official website United Fresh for specific information. Some of the events I’ll be attended are invitation only and have extremely limited seating.

EDUCATION: The Impact of Social Technology on Food Culture

Social media has dramatically changed today’s food culture by influencing how consumers think about, talk about and experience food. Consumers are now active participants, looking to bloggers and online opinions to expand their culinary horizons and make purchase decisions. Hear insights and recommendations on how companies can leverage social media to build meaningful and profitable relationships with consumers.

2013 New Product Award Finalists: Lil Snappers & Pumpkin Pie Baking Kit
Once I hit the tradeshow floor I’m going to check out all of the 2013 New Product Award Finalists. The two that I’m most excited about is our client Sunkist Growers Lil Snappers at booth 828, and AMF Farms Pumpkin Pie Baking Kit.

United Fresh Opening Party Aboard the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier
What better way to start off the convention week than with an unforgettable adventure aboard the USS Midway. Explore one of America’s longest-serving aircraft carriers as you stroll the flight deck with a spectacular view of San Diego’s harbor. It’s the perfect place to relax with friends and catch up with business contacts.

MSNBC’s Morning Joe Duo to Give Fresh Political Perspectives
Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, co-hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe will deliver their signature off-the-cuff commentary at the Thursday General Session of United Fresh 2013. United Fresh proudly welcomes the popular morning show duo for a candid conversation on the current political landscape and how it affects the produce industry.

Retail Merchandising Strategies that Engage Customers
After 20 years advising retail supermarkets on how to engage customers, Harold Lloyd knows a thing or two about merchandising strategies to drive sales. In this interactive session, Harold will share practical insights and proven merchandising strategies that he’s gathered from researching thousands of customers in retail stores nationwide. Come learn why customers shop where they do, what influences their purchases, and simple but effective tactics that will expand their shopping time, increase sales and change buying behaviors.

Visit our Get Social page for an inside peek at the conference and to learn more about all things produce.

Who’s Who on the SiteLab Marketing Team

February 19th, 2013
by Sarah

The staff at SiteLab have always been all about sharing ideas, learning new tricks from each other and collaboration. The key ingredient to our success is our communication.

Around a year ago, we began to meet officially in an open forum setting, to share our projects and the things we’ve learned from them. This evolved into weekly meetings, and the forming of a team. Then we formed our basic core drive, the heart of this extended marketing team: act as a trusted extension of our clients’ online marketing departments, producing results that directly and positively impact on our clients’ business objectives.

On our website, we state what we’ve gleaned from the expression ‘you are what you eat’: We are what we market. You won’t find a more dedicated bunch than the SiteLabbers — we truly adopt our clients’ industries and products as our passions.

You’ll see us wearing banana hats, sharing new citrus varieties in the kitchen, proclaiming our love for avocados to anyone who will listen, or riding the bikes of our client, Electra, in the parking lot. You’ll find us making the recipes from our foodservice clients (it’s hard to stare at delicious food all day long and not be inspired … and hungry). We can say without doubt that we truly are what we market.

So without further ado, we’d like you to meet the minds behind this ever-evolving, collaborative effort and their roles on this team.

Mike Zemans – Chief Experience Officer

Next stop: Christmas Tree Trimming Championship

Consults on SEM and user experience. Most often, the last word on any project that goes out the door. Google (or “G” as he calls it) is his best friend. Always wins the annual pumpkin carving contest.

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Matt Parisi – Online Marketing Account Manager

In a rare moment of not being physically harmed

Account Manager for Sunkist, Oasis of Hope. A source of abundant SEM knowledge; a PPC expert who manages all SiteLab PPC campaigns. Matt gets things done and works well with absolutely anyone. 5 year veteran. Consistently injured due to extracurricular sports, where he brings the same drive to succeed.

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Katy McClelland – Client Services Director

If you ever need help escaping from motorcyclists in 1930

Commonly answers to the name “Boss Lady”. Sanity for all account managers, and perhaps all SiteLabbers. Also the voice of reason and the voice for all SiteLab clients, always performing the balancing act between what’s best for clients, their customers and the agency. She’s an encyclopedia of client history. Owns chickens, rides in a motorcycle side car like a superhero side kick.

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Jenn Barber – Senior Marketing Manager, Social Media

Liebt auch spätzle

Passionate about social media. Background in business (supply chain management), started in digital marketing as producer, then account manager; dabbled in web design, programming and copywriting. Nuts about social media and started the “department” 4 years ago. Pins on Pinterest like she’s on fire, is a Flint Coney Island Hot Dog enthusiast.

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Sarah Johnson – Marketing Project Manager & Developer

Also has a wicked swagger

Sarah’s title doesn’t do her justice. Something of a ‘Jane of all Trades’ at SiteLab, switching from development, writing and design, sometimes all in the same day. She’s a savvy writer who writes the social media, website, press content and more for Sunkist, Eddie Osterland, Master Sommelier and Oasis of Hope. Is crazy for citrus, and ridiculously good looking.

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Kari Embree – Marketing Coordinator – Social Media

What happens when you give people a sunny window office and too much water

Jenn Barber’s new right-hand woman. If you want to get social, talk to Kari. She’s all about social media platforms, tools, and tips and tricks AND she’ll recommend a great place to eat and drink when’s she done geeking out with you. Quick witted as a fox, excellent dresser.

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Erin Adler – Marketing Account Manager

Is also a bucket enthusiast

Erin has her finger on the pulse of email and mobile marketing. She manages Hass Avocados, Central Garden & Pet, and all sign-up forms and emails that leave our servers. She’s an anti-spam wizard who insists on (and gets) perfection. She’s a music lover and also a lapadar…lapedaris…she is an artist who cuts stone, gems and minerals into neat designs. She’s not just a member of the San Diego Lapidary Society, she’s the club president.

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Each person you’ve met here today performs a very important function in the team. We’re growing and evolving every day, but this groups forms a very strong foundation and launch pad to a future filled with exciting, cutting-edge projects. Find out what they can do for YOU and your projects — contact us today.

An Inside Peek at Our Weekly Team Meeting

Finally the tables have turned and the interviewer becomes the interviewee. We’ve been waiting years to put her on the spot and ask her probing questions such as “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?” and “Are you a good dancer?”

Last night Ms. Sarah Johnson came out of retirement for a performance in a holiday ballet recital, so in honor of this momentous event we’ve chosen her as the subject for our interview today.

Q: What do you look forward to most about coming in to work every day?
A: That would be my smiling coworkers, nay friends, and the super cool projects I get to do. The coffee is pretty good sometimes too.

Q: Just what is it that you do here?
A: My title is officially a mouthful, I have to go back to my [email] signature to remember what it is. [pulls up email] Marketing Project Manager & Developer (and content writer, cheerleader, I sometimes restock the printer, and I bring in fresh fruit to keep my coworkers from getting scurvy & that’s about it.

Q: What are some cool new things that you do here that you haven’t done previously?
A: I keep coming back to working on cool promotions. I’ve always written about food but people actually listen to me now. Since coming here I’ve become a citrus expert and banana freak.

Q: So, are you a good dancer or not?
A: No, terrible. I can do the Slinky [makes what we assume to be an attempt to signify holding a wily slinky with both hands moving them up and down] I can do the Lawnmower, the Bus Driver, and the Roger Rabbit, and I do a pretty good White Girl Dance, you know [proceeds to snap fingers to no beat and bite lower lip, which we must admit, we do not "know"]

BONUS QUESTION:
Q: How do you spell Changement?

A: Jeupnpioux [note from the interviewer, at first I was questionning whether or not Sarah was a true ballerina since she got the bonus question wrong, but in all fairness I did get a D in high school French so it's possible that I butchered the pronounciation. Pardon moi.]

Ballerina Sarah in action juggling scurvy fighting oranges

Online Marketing Reflections and Predictions

December 19th, 2012
by Lori Barber

Seasons Greetings!

This blog post comes to you from SiteLab’s very own La Jolla Shores beach in sunny San Diego, CA.  It’s been a bi-coastal and fast-paced twelve months of helping clients launch online marketing initiatives for me this year. 

As I reflect on a year of changing technologies and new trends. I am grateful for the wisdom gained pitching the projects that built brands, generated leads, sold products and improved bottom lines. 

 It is with this practical knowledge that I offer my very own Online Marketing Reflections and Predictions. I hope you enjoy reading them as much I enjoyed writing them—it is my wish that these “pearls of wisdom” bring value and prosperity to your organization in the New Year.

Happy Holidays,

Lori Barber

Cheers!

REFLECTIONS…

Smaller Budgets meant Back-to-Basics for Most

The uncertainty of the 2012 economy forced many of my clients to put robust website development and sexy redesign projects on hold. So, to get the greatest bang for their shrinking budgets, the wisest move was to prioritize Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Why?  Because aligning their website’s navigational structure and content to the language of one’s audience positioned our clients to grow long-term market share of ultra-qualified potential customers—something that PPC, online media, or fancy graphical site redesigns can not provide.

CMS Tools Just Keep Getting Better

Open Source technologies and mainstream Content Management tools such as WordPress, and Drupal continued to provide a wider variety of development options for many clients. Readily available plug-ins, themes and widgets replace long, expensive and highly custom development cycles. Hooray! It’s now much easier (and more cost effective) to add social media sharing, ecommerce, email marketing and the like to your website.

Pull Marketing is “The New Black”

Marketing activities that encourage your prospects to seek you out because you have something of value to offer them was a welcome 2012 trend. Pull marketing activities are all about building relationships and include tactics like blogging, podcasting, content marketing and old-fashioned networking. Think of it as the law of attraction for the Internet…where you freely incorporate all the personal components of your brand. By engaging with your target audience to attract your biggest fans, you ultimately PULL them in, create loyal evangelists and drive sales. Gone are the days of “hard-sell” sales tactics.

Reach Your Customers Where They Are

“Reach your customers where they are” was my 2012 mantra! Today’s consumer does not pick up the Yellow Pages, nor do they turn on the radio to find the products or services they seek. Rather, they whip out a smart phone, tablet, or simply check out the latest reviews from the comfort of… well, anywhere. Your clients are connected, mobile and highly social! It goes without saying that Social Media projects were on the rise again this year.

PREDICTIONS…

Content Will Continue to be King

Yes, producing original content is time consuming, expensive and requires a HUGE time commitment. I predict most organizations will have to make creating original content a much higher priority next year. Why?  Because producing content of value (no matter what industry you’re in) is the new, evolving centerpiece of Digital Marketing. Get Ready! It’s time to blog consistently, live-and-die by an editorial content calendar and finally commit to sharing great content.  Just do it.

Responsive Design Should Be On Your 2013 Radar Screen

Day by day, the number of users trying to access your site on a smartphone or tablet grows and grows. Responsive web design represents a fundamental shift in how we’ll be building websites in the New Year so one single site can serve audiences on all devices, as well as centralize one’s search authority to a single domain and set of URLs. Responsive Design requires web visitors to do less resizing, panning, and scrolling, hence boosting everyone’s user experience as well. It’s going to transform the Web into an all-singing, all-dancing, all-devices party, where we can access any information located anywhere in the world. If your website is more than 2 years old, 2013 is the time to invest in a new Responsive Design. Otherwise, you might be missing out on a very large segment of your target audience.

Your Customers Will Want You to be Human

Today’s consumer would much rather “talk to” a person instead of being “talked at” by a brand. Finding the right social media voice—one that aligns with the language of your customers, and provides ongoing value—is one of the most important things your organization will do in 2013.  Be prepared establish a social media persona for your brand and have real people respond to your clients using real profiles in social media next year. Live Twitter Chats, robust content marketing, storytelling in 140 characters or less, and perfecting the ability to gracefully admit that you’ve made a mistake will help humanize your brand in the New Year.

 

 

Kim Ochylski is our newest account manager here at the ‘lab. I recently got a chance to sit down with Kim to get the whole story, which was nice, because they usually don’t let me talk to new-hires due to my tales of the cave-creature developers we keep in the closets that come out to feed after dark. Here’s what I found out.

Hi. Where do you come from?
My hometown is San Luis Obispo, but I recently came from The Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington DC. People have often heard of it because they sponsor NPR programming.

What title have they bestowed upon you here at SiteLab?
I’m an account manager.

Shown here: account managing it up.

What did you do in DC, and what are you looking forward to doing here?
I worked on our web/media team, working with our public policy staff. It was non-profit. I worked on content development, email messaging, PPC, infographics, imagery, web updates. I’m looking forward to working with clients and seeing their marketing strategies reach customers. But also looking forward to getting back into agency life. And the location is nice!

If we were to inform you that this was actually just a front for Hogwarts School of Wizardry, in which house would our sorting hat place you?
Not Slytherin! That would be admitting I was evil! Gryffindor, for sure.

Safe choice. I’m sure they already went through this in the interview, but how are your Quidditch skills?
They must have missed that question. (Ed: Really? It was the first question they asked me.) My Quidditch skills are lacking, but apparently my Alma mater, Berkeley, now has a Quidditch club.

(Matt chimes in: “UCSD does too! It’s just a bunch of kids running around on brooms. It’s not cool.”)
(Ed. note: Matt’s opinion on what is cool does not reflect the opinions of SiteLab Interactive.)

Welcome aboard, Kim

The slightly slower pace of Day 3 of the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit conference provided me an opportunity to visit one-on-one with a few of the best Marketing Directors in the produce industry. Since SiteLab has hit a number of Pinterest home runs in recent months, I felt compelled to ask Marketing Directors if their current social media plans include Pinterest. If not, I asked if they planned to include Pinterest in their 2013 online marketing plan. Would you believe that EVERY SINGLE PERSON I asked told me they planned to launch a Pinterest campaign in 2013? It’s true!

Here’s why, what works and what’s next for the produce industry and Pinterest.

Why is Pinterest a great tool for produce brands?
First of all, Pinterest is ridiculously simple to use, is the “Holy Mecca” for busy moms and serious foodies who buy large amounts of food for their families or events. Plus, it’s one of the best social networks for driving website traffic giving marketers an increased opportunity to convert more visitors into leads and sales.

What Works?
Before I spill the beans and tell you what works on Pinterest, let me start by telling you what doesn’t work – expecting early monetization.

This platform, like other social platforms, has a long-term benefit for your brand, and does ultimately drive consumption over time. Invest in building the audience now, and monetize later.

A simple strategy for getting started is to start with a dozen or so boards. This helps brands get past “Pinners Block.” Start by creating 5 boards about things your users love, 5 boards about things they have a hard time finding, and 2 boards about your brand.

Moving forward, make sure you follow these guidelines for success.

  • With the fans you have on other platforms, drive them to your boards with content (i.e. specific pins) not a request to generally “join you on Pinterest.”
  • Make sure a content marketing plan drives the creation of pin boards and subsequent pinning.
  • Remember, recipes drive consumption. Pinning a Banana Bread recipe on National Banana Bread Day, or the very best Guacamole recipe on Game day is sure to be campaign winners.
  • Have content live on your boards that people want to see.
  • Mix owned content with other content that interests your audience.
  • Leverage an one-to-one exchange of pins.
  • Optimize your Pins for Search Engine Optimization, including the image file title.
  • No need to be an “over pinner”; even the largest brands only pin a couple times a day. If you inundate your followers with an too much content too fast they’ll get annoyed with you filling up their feed.
  • And finally—Get your board cover photos right!!

What’s Next?
Once your 2013 Pinterest campaign has taken flight, be sure to watch the data. Which pins are performing the best in terms of engagement and driving website traffic? Do you have highly influential followers? How are your competitors doing? Don’t forget to include targeted outreach to people based on their current usage status of Pinterest. These folks are the greatest online influencers of your brand.

If in doubt, call in the Experts.
Remember, establishing a Pinterest account takes only a few minutes. Building a following that can eventually be monetized takes much longer! Crafting a strategy that leverages all the good things Pinterest has to offer, and provides opportunity for monetization, just might be best realized by engaging the help of an online marketing agency like SiteLab Interactive.

When you’re ready to dive in and start pinning, call me first. I’d be happy to point you in the right direction. Email us at sales@sitelab.com.

SiteLab at Fresh Summit 2012

Oso Sweet Onions

Chiquita Banana Bread

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