How to Promote Your Music More Efficiently By Finding Your Niche ~ Praverb Dot Net (courtesy of P the Wyse)

It is well known that if you want to get different results you need to do something you haven’t done before. To move quickly than your competition and work a lot more efficiently than them, you need to take some things into consideration before deciding how you are going to promote your music.

Why should you limit your niche and how can that be more profitable?

If you sell something to EVERYBODY you end up selling it to NOBODY. By EXACTLY defining your target audience you already have more chances of success than somebody who hasn’t done this first and starts promoting right away.

The reason is, your music will be targeted easier and your listeners will love it.Find a niche where you can dominate as opposed to competing with EVERYONE in the music industry.

Needless to say if you got this figured out, promotion costs (and in the costs we include TIME as well, not only money) will be lower because you know where your audience is, what they are looking for and you don’t waste your time and money promoting in places that aren’t beneficial for you.

Don’t be the small fish in the big pond, be the biggest fish in the small pond!

It is important to be an absolute master in your domain. Don’t waste time by trying to develop abilities that you are not good at to please people.

Find out what you are good at, you surely have an idea about this up until now, and develop them to the point of mastery, it takes less time and you will find it a lot more pleasurable and feel that you are “on your path”.

Stop doing what everybody is doing and stop wasting time to please everyone. Know who are you promoting your music to, understand the power of Social Networks, forums, YouTube, and other sites.

Establish your target audience and start promoting in your niche. I promise that you will achieve more success doing it this way.

In other words don’t just invest and hope for the best but figure out carefully what you are good at. Find out who is interested in listening to your type of music and promote in places that are already filled with these people so there is a much higher rate of converting them into real fans.

This is a guest blog written by Hip Hop Crash Beats: For more information about this topic and for industry quality instrumentals please visit www.hiphopcrashbeats.com.
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By, Wendy Day (www.SlavesNoMore.com music industry how-to site coming soon…) Before you read this article, please make sure you’ve already read this primer: http://bit.ly/100VB2r about the basics of securing radio spins.

Radio is still the most misunderstood aspect of this industry. I see people lose tens of thousands of dollars constantly in this industry because they either trust the wrong radio promoters or they don’t know what they are doing. I can’t teach you whom to trust, but I can tell you how I successfully pursue radio for my artists.

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I am NOT a radio promoter, I am a consultant. I help people start labels and make money with their music, so one of the many things I do is hire and interact with radio promoters. I have relationships with 10 or 12 different top independent radio promotion people all across the country. I trust them. They have all delivered results for my clients in the recent past. But just because they do a great job for me doesn’t mean they will do a great job for you. [I protect my connections at radio, so if I don’t know you well, I won’t share an introduction with you. Don’t even ask!]

There are MANY variables with radio: time of year, how crowded the radio market is, money, your song, sound, subject matter, money, tempo, features, who’s behind it, the artist, work ethic, money, how established the artist is, how likable the artist is, how likable and knowledgable you are, money, relationships, power, experience, catchiness, money, frequency of your releases, your money, their money, competing labels’ money, etc.

I’m going to assume you’ve done these things before you start spending money at radio:

1. You’ve gotten your single hot on the streets and in the clubs in your region (not just your city, but in the cities that are within a 5 hour driving radius of where you or your artist live) because you’ve already read http://bit.ly/ZvYfJu and maybe even had the chance to read http://bit.ly/YXtwUN as well.

2. You have a radio ready song that’s not only marketable for radio and fits the format, but is mixed and mastered to compete with everything already at radio such as Kanye, Jay Z, 2Chainz, Rihanna, Ke$ha, Lil Wayne, etc. There’s no cursing, the song is around 3 and a half minutes in length, and the subject matter is palatable (even clean versions of songs like “I Wanna F#ck Your B#tch” are harder to work than songs about love and respect, for example, especially for new artists who are scrutinized more harshly).

3. If you have a feature from an established artist on the single, you’ve already gotten the necessary clearances, in writing, from both the artist AND the label to whom he or she is signed giving you “single rights.” If an outside producer (someone not signed to your company) produced the beat, you have a contract with that producer saying you can use his production.

4. You have a good reason for wanting radio play–to sell single downloads, to increase awareness and build show opportunities, etc. By the way, just wanting to hear yourself on the radio, or because you want to be famous are really bad reasons to spend $15k to $100k on radio spins. If you only have one song to work, and no plan, you are wasting everyone’s time and your money.

5. You have registered every version of your single with both MediaBase and BDS. If you don’t know how, your radio promoter can help you do this. You’ve established your ASCAP and/or BMI, and SoundExchange registrations. If you don’t know how to do this, add “.com” to the end of each company and do the research online (such as BMI.com).

Once you’ve accomplished the basics, it’s time to decide which markets are best to break for your artists. The majority of artists that I consult are southern in their sound, so I usually focus on radio in the south initially and then spread into the Midwest. I choose which radio promoter to use based on my target markets.

Each radio promoter has key relationships, and what you are buying IS his or her relationships with program directors in key markets. You also need relationships with multiple radio promoters because when one is overwhelmed with a lot of records to work, you don’t want to hire him or her to work your record. It could easily get lost.

I always focus on a workable area so we can back up our records with contests, give-always, performances, etc–for example, I don’t really want the single spinning simultaneously at radio in San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami, and Baltimore. They are too spread out for a small label or an indie artist to affordably work them. I prefer to stick to regions: Southeast, or Mid-south, or Midwest. I back up the radio spins by continuing to promote on the streets (promotional tours work wonders) in each area where we get radio play.

I don’t initially go after major markets like Houston, Dallas, Chicago, or Atlanta. I secure the surrounding smaller markets and then build into the larger cities once we have a story to tell about the single–once it has legs. I do NOT have people call in to request the song because I believe real reaction is superior over fake results. I do, however, print thousands of flyers with radio request line phone numbers for each market to inspire fans to request our song. I also use targeted social media to encourage my artist’s fans to support our single.

With rap music, there are 3 radio formats we can target depending on the sound of the song (and subject matter): Urban, Rhythmic, and Top 40 (Pop). Urban is the easiest to get added, Rhythmic a bit more challenging (and more costly), and Pop is the hardest (and most expensive). Think of them as 3 steps, provided your song fits at all three formats; you can start at Urban, grow into Rhythmic stations, and then expand into Pop. Again, IF the sound of your song warrants that–most do not.

I’ve never seen a record climb backwards, meaning I would never go after Pop radio and then try to secure Rhythmic or Urban. Urban, Rhythmic, then Pop. If your song is more mainstream, I’d bypass Urban and go right to Rhythmic and then Pop. In charting single sales, Urban spins rarely turn into single download sales, while Rhythmic and Pop almost always directly correlate to single sales. Urban spins do help build a rapper’s initial popularity at securing shows or being able to increase his or her show price.

Each radio format has a limited number of slots for songs. These slots are filled by hit records and the most well known artists. Remember, the goal of the station is to keep people from changing the station to the competition and most listeners want to hear songs they know so they can sing along. Each week there are usually only one or two slots available yet the Program Directors receive many songs vying for those slots. It’s very competitive at radio and the best songs don’t necessarily survive.

Once you’ve got an idea of your territory and chosen the radio promoter, it’s time to start getting the spins. The radio promoter will give you an add date at radio (always a Tuesday). This date will be chosen based on the timing of what else is dropping in the marketplace, so your record doesn’t get passed over for the superstar records (a risk that is always there) or lost in a sea of other priorities. The reality is that if it’s a choice between your record or a major label record, the radio program director will most likely support the major label because there is a strong relationship there. Major labels have been supporting radio for many years before your one little record, and will for many years after your one little record. Having said that, a hit record has value to everyone and gets attention.

Program Directors (PDs) are the decision makers at radio stations that choose what gets played on the radio. Music Directors (MDs) are the people directly under the PDs who usually suggest music and often meet with artists and labels. They are rarely the decision makers but run interference for the PDs.

Payola is illegal. There is not one radio station in this country that will take money from you to play your record. There is not one radio station that will even make a move that could be interpreted as payola (like accepting a gift, or swapping a performance for increased spins, etc). But you will pay the radio promoter. You police the success of your record via BDS or MediaBase reports that track the amount and time of your spins daily and/or weekly.

If you hire a radio promoter to get you spins on twenty stations, he or she will. Whether those stations benefit you is another story, but you got what you asked for–spins on 20 stations. It’s human nature to go where there’s the least resistance, so those 20 stations might be the easiest ones to deliver, as opposed to the best stations for your project. It’s YOUR project, so it’s your job to know which stations are beneficial and which stations are not. You must know what your needs and goals are and work with the promoters to deliver what you need and what you can best afford. Radio is an expensive game. You also need to work within the realistic confines of what the radio promoter can deliver. It’s not like you make a list and say “I want these stations at this time everyday.” Those would be advertisements.

Radio is a wonderful medium to reach large amounts of people, mostly women, with your music. You focus on one single at a time and the life of a single at radio is 12 to 16 weeks. Make sure your timing is right and make sure you can back up that single with street promotions, Internet promotions, a promo tour, etc while the song still has life in it.

I work my records slowly–meaning I spend slowly at radio. I never give a radio promoter $75,000 and say ‘go get me the south.’ I test my records, usually spending around $10,000 initially to see if my record has legs. This tests a few good markets and I can see if the record stays only in the overnight slots or if it moves into better day parts. I want to see if it’s “reacting.” I can see if the Program Director embraces the record (it increases in spins naturally every week) or not. My plan is that if I’m going to lose money on a single at radio (which is unlikely because it has a strong street and club buzz, so I already know fans like it), I’m going to lose as little as possible.

Much of what I want to teach you, I can’t because it’s based on feeling. You learn to feel records and you can tell when they are reacting or not. You light the spark and then hope it catches fire. Sometimes emotion and our own love of a record can cloud our judgment of whether or not we have a strong single. I’ve seen many people chase a record and spend $50,000 or $75,000 only to learn that the single did not react at radio. I’d rather learn this after $10,000 or $20,000 is spent. The ONLY folks who determine if a song is a hit record are the fans–the listeners. You don’t know, I don’t know, your consultants don’t know, the radio station doesn’t know. Only the fans can determine if it reacts or not by whether they embrace it or not. You can’t really force a hit…I’ve tried.

Lastly, radio is a great way to reach a large amount of people at once, as long as people continue to listen to the radio. Your BDS or MediaBase reports tell you how many thousands or millions of people are potentially hearing your record. If your goal is to get a deal from just radio spins, you haven’t done enough research on how to get a record deal. If you think you can spend $20,000 to get 500 spins a week at urban radio, you haven’t done enough research on how radio works. If you don’t have a goal for your radio play, you’re wasting your time and money, and taking away the few open slots at radio for those of us who have a goal and a plan! Get out of the way.

“I can post my music to facebook and reach millions of people.”

While it’s true that over a billion people visit facebook every month, you must have a strategy and plan in place if you’re trying to get a portion of them to actually view your page and listen to your music. There are tried and tested methods that will boost your exposure on Facebook. Today, we’re gonna look at the more basic ways to bring attention to your page and your music so that you can get more “likes” and “listens.”

First, just posting your music to your Facebook page and hoping that people listen is not enough. Posting a link to your song or your video on your friends’ pages is NOT networking and DOESN’T work. (To be honest, when you post links to people’s pages or inbox them your link unannounced, it gets deleted – the reality is that most people aren’t going to your Soundcloud or Reverbnation link just because you post it on their page.) You have to establish a relationship with a person first in order for your networking efforts to be successful. Any unsolicited links you “give” them are considered SPAM!!! You don’t need to spam your music to gain new fans. You only need to learn how to use the social media tools Facebook makes available to you.

So I hope you understand that uploading your music on Facebook is only seen by the people you interact with–and you hope they listen to it. Your closer friends will probably like and comment on your music (they like everything you post anyway). You won’t engage many new people this way though– and what’s the point in posting your music online if you’re not going to reach new people? Of course you could just stick to street & club promotions (which can be very effective), but what’s the purpose of making music if you’re not doing what you need to do in order to MAKE SURE that new people give it a listen?

Secondly, the reason you want Facebook “likes” is because they may eventually lead to sales, and in the BUSINESS of music, money needs to be made in some way shape or form. So whether you use your likes to ask people to buy your music, attend an event, or purchase a T-shirt or whatever it might be, you’ve got to find a way to make money from your craft if you’re in the music BUSINESS. If you’re someone who makes music just for the love or as a hobby, then this post AIN’T for you.

Now, for those artists, managers, or label owners, etc, who are interested in using Facebook to get seen and heard……..let’s talk about the simplest ways to get facebook likes.

I’m sure that most of you have seen an offer to buy “likes”. The websites selling the “likes” promise hundreds or thousands (or tens of thousands) of likes for a low cost. I’ve seen it range from $30 for 1,000 to $1200 for 100,000 likes. These so-called services promise you likes in a “few days”. Which leads us to the question: do these services work? Well, they work to get you likes, just not the ones you’re looking for. The problem is that with fake likes you don’t have a genuine fan. A fake like will never listen to your music or buy your song. A fake like will never tweet or post a status about your music so a fake like is worthless in the music industry. Add to that fact that Facebook, as a company, will remove the majority of fake likes eventually, making you look worse than before! Buying fake likes won’t solve the problem of marketing your music–just like most business shortcuts, it’s non-effective and likely to do more harm than good.

So what’s the most effective way to introduce new people to your music and reach the people who are interested in what you make?? You pay for it.

Facebook Ads for business are the simplest way to reach new people on Facebook. The setup is simple. Facebook literally walks you through the steps:

Take your time and pay attention as it’s all laid out for you: from how to build and customize your page, to how to invite your friends to like and interact with you. You’ve gotta START with your friends, and build from there. Fortunately, Facebook gives you the key elements necessary to get started.

Once you have your page setup, start posting content. Invite your friends to like your new page first and do NOT just spam links of your music or videos! Have conversations with the people who like your page, engage with them, share interests and insight. Again, Facebook gives you insight on how to do this effectively:

So far, everything we’ve covered is free. You can research and learn how to build your followers and likes from here. You don’t NEED to pay for anything at this point. Once your page is created, you have to consistently post interesting statuses.

Eventually you’ll reach a point where investing into targeting other markets makes sense, and when that time comes you’ll want to start an ad campaign for your page. Don’t jump the gun here though. Be consistent in posting to your page and talking to the people who’ve liked your page.

Before you even think about buying ads to draw people, you will want to have at least 100 legitimate likes from friends, etc. Remember, you gotta have those 100 likes before you even think about taking it to the next level.

Setting up your ad is simple and, again, the folks at Facebook have everything laid out for you. At first, it may seem confusing when you’re asked if you want to:

Get More Likes
Promote Page Posts
Advanced Options

You’ll make your decision based on what you’re trying to do. (I know that you have goals, right?) So depending on your goals, you’ll choose to promote individual page posts, or to expose your page to as many people as possible, or simply to get more likes. Once you make that decision, you can move on to deciding WHO to reach.

You can choose to target a city or even a particular zip code INSIDE a city (so u can target an actual neighborhood if you want to!). You also have the choice to target people with certain interests. You can target people who like Pop music or R&B; or you can be more specific and target people who like Rihanna, Beyonce, Lil Wayne, or Drake, for example. You can target married people, single people, or people who love sports. There are numerous categories that allow you to really pinpoint the people most probable to like your page.

Below is an example of a campaign designed to target Facebook users in Jacksonville, FL (including 25 miles outside the city):

If you noticed, the target audience is aged 13-40, with an interest in Music– specifically Hip Hop/Rap and R&B/Soul music. Our choices have narrowed down potential fans in the Jacksonville area from over 457,000 people to almost 172,000. This isn’t a bad thing because it targets people who list music as an interest and these people are more likely to become a fan.

So what will it cost?? Well, that’s totally up to you. The good people at Facebook allow you to choose exactly how long you want to run your ad, how much you’re willing to pay for people to see your ad, and how much money you’re willing to spend per day on your ad campaign.

As you maneuver through the options available, you’ll be able to cater to the appropriate audience for you. It’s not hard to get your Facebook ads started. It will take some tweaking and tinkering to get the best results but with the right effort, focus and determination you can build an ad campaign that converts clicks to your page into likes and likes into fans who you can THEN reach out to and ask to listen to your music or watch your latest video.

At the end of the day, your Facebook page and any ad campaign associated with it is only a small part of the total work you’ll need to do in order to succeed. Internet presence is becoming more and more important in today’s digital age.

Tony Guidry is Senior Marketing Manager for A Scratchy ThroatA Scratchy Throat – the brainchild of industry mainstay Wendy Day – provides professional social media marketing specifically designed for today’s aspiring artists.

 

By, Chris Mexton Reposted from KissMetrics

You’d be pretty hard pressed to argue that PSY’s Gangnam Stylehasn’t been a runaway marketing success. With over 1 BILLIONviews on YouTube, Gangnam Style has firmly planted itself in our collective psyche.

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Love it or hate it, I think we all can agree that we want that sort of marketing success for our businesses. One of the things that makes the best online marketers successful is their ability to creatively draw on marketing tactics and resources from many domains, not just the world of online business. The question you should ask yourself as an online marketer is: “Is there anything we can learn from the success of Gangnam Style?”

As it happens, K-pop (an abbreviation of Korean pop), which is South Korea’s pop music industry, is pretty darn savvy when it comes to marketing, and there is a lot that goes into forming a K-pop supergroup. PSY’s success is doubly interesting as he is not your typical K-pop artist.

After reading a ton about the world of K-pop, there are a number of ideas we can glean from it.

Here are three things I’ll bet you don’t know about the K-pop industry and what you can do with this knowledge to build your own email marketing machine.

1. Measure Absolutely Everything

The Verge recently did a massive feature on K-pop. One of the most interesting aspects of the article about it is the discussion ofCulture Technology. Culture Technology refers to the way in which South Korea’s largest record labels attempt to design K-pop bands.

In their eyes, a K-pop group is not just a band but a brand. When auditioning for a new band, the top record labels run software simulations on potential group members to see how their voice and appearance will change in the next 3-7 years. They narrow down the applicants to a group they feel will be successful, and then they teach the group members to sing, dance, and even speak foreign languages.

In many cases, bands consist of 10+ members, allowing the labels to optimize and split roles, particularly when the band performs overseas, for example.

Why do they do this? To maximize their chance for growth and long term success. There’s no business like show business, and K-pop clearly knows how to run the show!

What is most interesting about this is that it nicely correlates with running a successful online business. The key lesson here is to measure everything.

When it comes to our email marketing campaigns, there is a lot we can do to ensure we get accurate, actionable data.

In my experience, the best people in the email marketing biz ask themselves: “Are these emails driving the actions I want? Are they increasing my customer lifetime value?”

Not only should we pay attention to deliverability, opens and clicks, but also follow through, which customers actually convert, and which, ultimately, turn out to be the most profitable.

Only with this sort of granularity can you understand whichcustomer cohorts are best to go after, where you can improve your email marketing content, and where you should invest your marketing budget.

A popular email remarketing tactic is to collect customers’ email addresses and send out a series of educational emails in order to build trust prior to making a sale. An extremely effective tactic, it does mean that, for most SaaS businesses, you will end up sending your customers somewhere between 5-18 emails from the time they start receiving your educational email campaign to the time they become a paying customer. (Email remarketing involves sending emails to customers based on what they do or don’t do on your website.)

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That’s quite a lot of email, meaning you have a lot of room to optimize. Are customers engaging with your educational content? Are your open rates increasing? Could you get more action from your potential customers with a different call to action or a “Big Orange Button”? Do customers coming from this channel stick around longer than customers you acquire from other channels?

These are the questions you want to be answering if you plan to dominate your email marketing.

One of the most effective ways to know what on earth is going on is to tag your outgoing campaign links with as much detail as possible.

Both Google Analytics and products like KISSmetrics allow you to use URL parameters quickly and easily to see specifically what a customer is doing.

Here’s a screenshot from one of KISSmetrics’ epic infographicson customer lifecycle tracking:

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For Google Analytics, you can do the same using UTM codes. Then, at a glance, you can see which campaign or variation is converting most effectively. And, with a little tweaking, you can drill down deeper and see sub-cohorts. (Did the user originally come via a Google search, Twitter, or some other channel?)

Using KISSmetrics’ revenue tracking, you can go even further and understand exactly how your emails impact a customer’s journey from initial visit to purchase. With that information, you will be able to determine if a campaign is actively working to increase your customer lifetime value over the long term.

Key takeaway: If you don’t have this sort of granularity over your email marketing campaigns, set it up! It’s not too hard to do if youfollow this great guide.

2. Test the Unexpected

In the world of highly-tuned K-pop bands, no one ever would have expected that Vivienne Westwood-wearing, horse-dancing PSY’s Gangnam Style would become the phenomenon that it has.

In fact, I’m not sure anyone anywhere would have expected it!

Here are just a few unexpected things about PSY and Gangnam Style that initially made the song’s success in either South Korea or the rest of the world unlikely:

  • He was educated in the US (he went to Berkley School of Music), and he wasn’t part of the highly-measured K-pop process outlined above.
  • PSY’s sense of style is unique and certainly different from most mainstream artists, in any genre.
  • Gangnam Style was released on YouTube without any copyright restrictions.
  • The video is, in many ways, completely bizarre.
  • The song is in Korean!

However, with a bit of reflection, we can see that all of those things have contributed to the genius and addictive nature of the song.

The point here is that, often, the unexpected works best.

One of the masters of this domain is content marketer, Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal. Take this title from a sign-up form on his blog:

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Now that’s how you put the unexpected to work. The first thought that runs through your head is “Ugh, what?” That is quickly followed by an almost uncontrollable urge to take action and find out more. Who wouldn’t click-through on that form?

Embracing creativity when it comes to any form of online marketing is essential. For every 10 crazy A/B tests you do, it’s likely that only one will give you significant gains. But, oh boy, will they be worth it.

Take the team at Strikingly.com. They’ve got a referral system they use to encourage engagement and source new customers. Having proved that the concept worked well for their target market, they began testing different concepts.

Want to see the change that increased referrals by 100%?

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That’s right, a dancing cat nailed it! If they weren’t experimenting with all sorts of ideas, they wouldn’t have found this winner.

When it comes to email marketing campaigns, the best examples of “quirky” content have, in fact, virtually become legend.

Take this classic example from Zappos below. Their post-purchase campaign informing customers that their order has been automatically upgraded to expedited shipping is a beautiful example of creativity at work.

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Not only is the concept sound, but the copy and delivery here give the email a real kick. This email was frequently blogged about and mentioned online. It takes only a quick Google search to find plenty of customers praising Zappos’ awesome customer service.

A good approach for coming up with winning campaign content is to try and change the way you tackle an extremely common campaign – something that is usually boring and completely run-of-the-mill.

Another, even more famous, example comes from Derek Sivers. Take a read:

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Derek could have simply written: “Your order status has been updated and your order has been shipped,” but instead he wrote this!

As Derek mentioned in his book, Anything You Want, googling “private CD Baby jet” will return many thousands of results (900,000 for me), which is evidence of the impact of his spur-of-the-moment creativity.

If this example doesn’t provide the business case for A/B testing your transactional emails, then nothing will.

Key takeaway: Get creative, test the unexpected, and create some buzz!

3. Find Your Company’s Voice and Be Yourself

From the streets of Seoul to The Ellen DeGeneres Show, PSY iseverywhere.

Partly thanks to the unconventional nature of PSY’s wardrobe and dance, they have helped him shape his brand and have been a huge part of the continued success of his marketing juggernaut.

Once you’ve begun testing and started to find what works for your business, you need to stick with it and give your email campaigns a unique voice – you need to rock your own attitude.

The Zappos example above contributes perfectly to their reputation for insanely awesome customer service. This is something they’ve built up through consistent communication with their customers and by constantly impressing people with their attitude.

Remember: great marketing is about connecting with customers. You need to be personable and consistent and build trust over time.

Dropbox injects this sort of personality into all of their customer communication. This particular example is sent to customers who sign up but then do not set up Dropbox within a few days. Like their website, the product itself, and their updates, this campaign is clean and lighthearted. It not only drives the correct action from their customers (install Dropbox!) but contributes to customers’ perception of Dropbox as a business.

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Another example of consistency of attitude is AppSumo. Much loved by their customers, Noah Kagan and the team have done an awesome job of building a loyal fan base. A huge part of this is off the back of the way they communicate on their website, in their emails, and even in overlooked places…like this awesome unsubscribe page.

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A third and final example comes from Atlassian. This landing page is quirky, creative, and a great reflection of the company’s attitude and culture. This isn’t your standard WordPress “give me your email address” landing page. Atlassian is well known for their awesome customer service and sense of humor, and their marketing team tries to reflect that in everything they do.

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Key takeaway: Where can you re-write your landing pages and email copy to reflect your company culture and infuse some attitude?

It Ain’t All Dancing!

Online marketing is about connecting with your customers and measuring everything you can about your marketing efforts.

When it comes to email marketing, you must ensure you’re tracking all of your core email metrics and the true impact these emails are having on your conversion and revenue metrics.

Use your email marketing tools in conjunction with Google Analytics and KISSmetrics, and you’ll be able to build a framework that lets you experiment with sharing your voice and fresh creative marketing ideas in order to uncover huge improvements in your conversion rates!

What crazy / unique / challenging email marketing ideas have you used or seen? How do you use email marketing and analytics tools to ensure your numbers are spot on?

About the Author: Chris Hexton is a co-founder of email remarketing software Vero. He spends his days helping online businesses optimize their email marketing and use it effectively to maximize their profit. You can catch him on Twitter via @chextonand @veroapp. He’d love to talk with you!

The Brand YOU: Your Bio

by: Brian Kush, reposted from: http://ow.ly/hBbbU

Personal branding is about promoting what makes you unique and what allows you to stand out from the crowd. A major piece of branding is creating your professional “bio” or biography. That bio is, after all, a specific place to capture your “story” …. so it is personal.

For many CPAs, your bio is likely already on the web and accessible by anyone and anywhere. Since it is so accessible, it presents a nice branding opportunity – to spread your message about the value you provide and the opportunities you want to attract.

When reviewing your bio, consider three Cs of personal branding – Compelling, Consistent and Clear:

Make your bio COMPELLING and answer the following questions:

WHOM do you specifically help? What kinds of people? What types of businesses?
WHAT challenges do you help them solve?
HOW do you help them? What is it you uniquely “bring to the table” to help them solve their challenges?
WHAT do your specific skills allow them to do? What is the benefit to them? Do you save them time, money orpain, or bring them joy or success?
HOW have you acquired these skills? Why are you credible? This is the his“story” part of your bio where you can provide your experience and relevant accomplishments.

Make your bio CONSISTENT.
If someone visits your organization’s website and reads your bio and then finds you on a social network with a profile that describes a completely different person, you have created brand confusion!

Tip: create one master biography and use it to create your shorter bio and all your profiles instead of doing it the other way around. Google yourself and compare your profiles and bios. Do they send an overall consistent message about what you want to be known for and what distinguishes you from everyone else?

Make your bio CLEAR.
Harry Beckwith, the author of You Inc., The Art of Selling Yourself, says, “What convinces people that you excel? Your clearest evidence is just that: clearness.” Be direct. Get to the point. If you cannot articulate your expertise in a concise and clear manner, then how can you be an expert in your field? Attention spans are dwindling. Even your “long bio” should not be much more than half a page.

Additional Tips

Keep it fresh: update your bio as often as it needs to be so that your message is current. A stale bio sends a message about your brand.

Consider a call to action: decide what you want the readers of your bio to do. Is it just to view you as credible or would you like them to take action? If you want them to follow you, such as via a blog or Twitter, ensure that information is in your bio.

Test it for authenticity: what is the most important thing about any item you use to promote your brand? It needs to be authentic. You need to feel it. You need to own it. Read your draft bio out loud to an audience. If it comes from your heart, if it is truly “on-brand,” then your audience will know that when you read it. And you will know it too.

Brian Kush, CPA, CLC, President, Moxie Partners. Brian is an ICF certified coach, and specializes in leadership, executive presence, and personal branding coaching. He works with executives, entrepreneurs, and aspiring professionals in a personal coaching relationship to challenge them to show up as the biggest version of who they already are, and get the new results THEY want.

6 lessons in launching a branded YouTube channel

By: Michael Estrin, reposted from http://ow.ly/hBbvO

Everywhere you turn it’s hard to escape the idea these days that brands are becoming publishers. Or at least, it’s hard to escape the idea that brands are trying to become publishers.

Only time will tell whether this is a new paradigm or a passing trend. But whether we’re talking about Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, or even a plain vanilla website — how old fashioned! — the conversation has shifted toward a heavy emphasis on content that brands either produce or curate and then distribute on their very own platform, bypassing a media intermediary.

The idea, in a nutshell, is that brands of all categories must adapt to the new publishing model and morph into something akin to their entertainment cousins if they are to survive and thrive in a media environment where it gets harder everyday to capture a consumer’s attention. Brands that had their own YouTube channels were viewed as cutting edge 18 months ago — or maybe even a little beyond the cutting edge. Today, few people ask whether a brand should have a YouTube channel. Instead, the question is, what should a brand do with its YouTube channel?

While that’s ultimately a question for each brand (and the agencies that handle their business) to answer, there are several larger questions brands should be asking about their YouTube channels. After all, a handful of brands are clearly engaging as if they’ve been in the content business for years, but many more are quite obviously stuck in neutral. So to help your brand take a look at its YouTube channel with fresh eyes, I’ve asked several agencies to share what they believe are some of the fundamental concerns to focus on when planning a YouTube channel.

Start with the basics

In a lot of ways, there’s nothing quite like YouTube. But from a marketing perspective, it’s important to approach YouTube as you would any other campaign, explains John Montgomery, CEO of Threshold.

Montgomery advocates approaching the idea of a branded YouTube channel with the following fundamental questions: “Who is your target audience, and what types of content do they seek out? What does your brand stand for, and what content is a natural extension of your brand’s DNA? What are your overall marketing goals, and what do you hope a YouTube strategy will accomplish for you?”

Often times, the answers to these questions will dictate strategy. But just as important, they can help focus your team around a larger question: Should we have a YouTube channel?

That question may seem like heresy in a world where it’s now assumed that all brands are — or should be — content producers, but the truth is a little more nuanced, and what works for one brand may not work for another. Or, put another way: It may be true that all brands need to think like publishers, but not all publishers produce the same material on the same platforms.

“With the various types of content that you can produce, and that are invariably popular on YouTube (short-form humor, episodic webisodes, TV ads, DIY videos, product tutorials, kitties doing pretty much anything, etc.), it is key to establish a long-term plan for the type of voice, tone, and purpose that your brand will commit to,” Montgomery says. “Purpose is one of the most important filters, because you will need to decide if you are trying to entertain, inform, educate, or inspire your budding audience.”

Have a strategy, make a plan

It may sound surprising, but many brands still use their YouTube channel as a holding place for repurposed television spots and one-off videos that may or may not have earned the brand much attention. But while it’s nice to see the brands on YouTube, Christopher Kingsley, CEO of 42, says brands need to do more than just put their content on YouTube.

“Individual or one-off videos produced for YouTube can be great, but having a comprehensive content strategy that covers how YouTube…

12 Rules to Choose the Right Domain Name

Posted by  to Technical SEO Issues, reposted from: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-to-choose-the-right-domain-name

A long time ago, I wrote a post on domain name selection that’s sorely in need of an update. Time to deliver…

For 99% of the projects we take on, a domain is already part of the equation. However, in some circumstances, we’ve been called on to provice advice for naming a domain, either for a new blog, a company launch or even just a friend’s website. Below, I’ve listed 12 tips I find indispensable when helping people select a great domain name.

Brainstorm 5 Top Keywords
When you first begin your domain name search, it helps to have 5 terms or phrases in mind that best describe the domain you’re seeking. Once you have this list, you can start to pair them or add prefixes & suffixes to create good domain ideas. For example, if you’re launching a mortgage related domain, you might start with words like “mortage, finance, home equity, interest rate, house payment” then play around until you can find a good match.

 
Make the Domain Unique
Having your website confused with a popular site already owned by someone else is a recipe for disaster. Thus, I never choose domains that are simply the plural, hyphenated or misspelled version of an already established domain. I still believe that Flickr desperately needs to buy Flicker.com – I hear kids in their 20’s tell parents in their 40’s and 50’s to see photos on Flickr and always envision that traffic going straight to the wrong domain.

 
Only Choose Dot-Com Available Domains
If you’re not concerned with type-in traffic, branding or name recognition, you don’t need to worry about this one. However, if you’re at all serious about building a successful website over the long-term, you should be worried about all of these elements, and while directing traffic to a .net or .org (as SEOmoz does) is fine, owning and 301’ing the .com is critical. With the exception of the very tech-savvy, most people who use the web still make the automatic assumption that .com is all that’s out there – don’t make the mistake of locking out or losing traffic to these folks.

 
Make it Easy to Type
If a domain name requires considerable attention to type correctly, due to spelling, length or the use of un-memorable words or sounds, you’ve lost a good portion of your branding and marketing value. I’ve even heard usability folks toute the value of having the letters include easy-to-type letters (which I interpret as avoiding “q,” “z,” “x,” “c,” and “p”).

 
Make it Easy to Remember
Remember that word-of-mouth and SERPs dominance marketing (where your domain consistently comes up for industry-related searches) both rely on the ease with which the domain can be called to mind. You don’t want to be the company with the terrific website that no one can ever remember to tell their friends about because they can’t remember the domain name.

 
Keep the Name as Short as Possible
Short names are easy to type and easy to remember (the previous two rules). They also allow for more characters in the URL in the SERPs and a better fit on business cards and other offline media.

 
Create and Fulfill Expectations
When someone hears about your domain name for the first time, they should be able to instantly and accurately guess at the type of content that might be found there. That’s why I love domain names like Hotmail.com, CareerBuilder.com, AutoTrader.com and WebMD.com. Domains like Monster.com, Amazon.com and Zillow.com (whom I usually praise) required far more branding because of their un-intuitive names.

 
Avoid Copyright Infringement
This is a mistake that isn’t made too often, but can kill a great domain and a great company when it does. To be sure you’re not infringing on anyone’s copyright with your site’s name, visit copyright.gov and search before you buy.

 
Set Yourself Apart with a Brand
Using a unique moniker is a great way to build additional value with your domain name. A “brand” is more than just a combination of words, which is why names like mortgageforyourhome.com or…

The Value of Social Media

February 10, 2013

The Value of Social Media

We’ve spoken about how valuable social media is to brands for connecting with consumers before. For all the apps, self promotion and links you include on your Facebook or Twitter page, you also have to deal with the day-to-day tasks such as dealing with queries, suggestions and complaints. Turns out it’s the latter that will have the greatest impact on whether they go ahead with a purchase or not if the results of a new survey is to be believed.

The report, which looks at consumer attitudes and preferences towards consumer services, found that more than eight in ten consumers (83 per cent) who regularly use social media have bailed on a purchase because of poor service experience. For those who haven’t used social media for customer service, 49 per cent of consumers failed to complete a purchase due to poor customer service.

Another important aspect to take from this survey is that consumers who use social media for customer service are also the most vocal in both their praise and criticism. When consumers have had a good customer service experience, they would tell an average of 42 people about their experiences.

However, when it’s a bad experience, this average rises to 53 people. When it’s consumers who don’t use social media, the trends remain the same but the average number of people told greatly falls; an average of 9 people are told when it’s a positive experience and an average of 17 people are told when it’s negative.

Lessons To Learn

The obvious thing to take from this survey is that those people on social media are, by far, the most vocal demographic to deal with. Therefore, businesses and brands need to place a greater importance on promptness and openness, keeping the lines of communication between brand and consumer open and listening to what they have to say.

As American Express say in its report: “Consumers aren’t unreasonable and don’t expect every problem to be solved instantly. They simply want to be treated like individuals, know that you genuinely care about their issue, and are working hard to address it.”

Also, you should use the opportunity to address concerns and issues as a way of connecting with consumers and create a connection that will drive customer loyalty and engagement. Brands should keep this in mind as they improve their services and customer relations.

The survey was conducted in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, the U.K., the Netherlands, Australia, Japan and India. The survey took a random sample of 1,000 consumers aged 18 and over from each country and was conducted by Echo Research between February 22nd – 29th 2012.

Brand Building & the Impact of Social Media

When asked about brand building strategies, marketers in a recent Forrester survey said that search and social media were neck-and-neck. Search won by a nose thanks to business to business marketers who rated social media lower than business to consumer marketers. But overall, it’s clear that social media is having a big impact.

Digging a little deeper we see that online video is hot with the B2B crowd (who knew) while mobile is the weapon of choice for B2C.

Social media is changing the way we sell everything from accordions to wildebeests, but marketing man can not live by Facebook alone.

Forrester’s “How Social Media Is Changing Brand Building” report points out that there are issues that keep social media from being the be all and end all of marketing. First, scalability. No matter how many Facebook fans you have, you’re still only reaching a small portion of the audience. Second, social media is fragmented. All those tiny bits of information getting passed by RT’s and shares, evolving and changing with every step. It can be easy to lose control of the message. Which brings us to number three: “a social strategy is only as good as the brand strategy behind it.”

We’ve talked before about how much of what we see in social media is spaghetti on a wall. Half of the B2C marketers Forrester surveyed said they weren’t sure how to capitalize on social media for brand building but you can bet that hasn’t stopped them from going all out.

There is no one way to succeed, but we do know that there are two critical points — trust and emotion. Social media campaigns are an excellent way to show your customers that you’re human. Use it to highlight the faces that make your company great, the good works you do for the community and the factors that motivate you to keep on going.

People like to buy from people. All things being equal, they’d rather buy a wildebeest from a family-run business who supports the local Little League team than a faceless corporation known for their environmental faux pas.

The most important line in the Forrester report is this: “social media is necessary but not sufficient for brand building.” Never lose sight of the fact that a good marketing campaign is made of a variety of components that all work together. Use Facebook to promote your YouTube video. Use YouTube to send people to your blog. Use your blog to close the sale.
http://ow.ly/hzyYS

How to Be the Real You in Your Blog Writing

In September, I spent a week in Germany. I look German and even lived in the country as a child, but I speak the language only well enough to be dangerous. I can order a glass of wine, but then the charade ends.

My elderly aunt isn’t fooled. She has trouble understanding my ungrammatical babble.

“Was sprichst du?” (What do you speak?) she asks. “Hoch Deutsch (high German) oder Platt Deutsch (Low German)?” “Schlecht Deutsch (Bad German),” I reply. I speak well enough to get by, but not well enough to really say anything.

And that was the problem. After three days in Germany, I had no beliefs, no opinions, no personality. As a blog writer, I missed being able to express myself.

Having a platform that lets you communicate your personal brand is a rare gift. So go for it when you write your blog: Tell us what you think.

Say it in plain English. And celebrate who you are.

Get your personality across

Do this even if it’s abrasive. Especially if it’s abrasive.

If you’re writing authentically, your audience should know immediately that you authored a piece. My own style has been described as warm, witty, quirky. Whether you agree with that or not, you should be able to tell a piece is by me by the way I use words, by the positions I take, by the refusal to be serious for more than a few lines.

If your blog doesn’t sound like you, it’s time to rewrite until it’s genuine.

Take an outlandish position

Your blog gives you a chance to make a stand—so don’t wallow in the middle ground. Choose a position and defend it. I read a marketing blog post recently about Features and Benefits. For once, it did not say that every feature should also have a benefit. Quite the contrary. After hearing same old same old for years of copywriting, it was compelling to see a post that tore it all up.

Be that person—the one who opens eyes wide.

Don’t mince words

At dinner recently, a friend mentioned that his former wife had been in a car accident. Was it bad? our hostess asked. Not bad enough, he replied. OK, that’s cold, but we’re pretty clear how he feels about his ex-wife. So if you need to mince something, make it onions. Say it like you mean it. Forget the qualifiers and euphemisms.

If every word is a cloak for some more dastardly term, then you’re writing in another language.

Provoke disagreement

If you have a flock that follows you and it isn’t completely comprised of sheep, then engage them enough to disagree with you. Loudly, if necessary. I wrote a post once suggesting people use Readability Indices to make their posts more accessible to their audiences. One commenter said he’s tired of dumbing down his writing—and if his audience doesn’t understand it, he doesn’t want to talk to them anyway.

Bully for him.

Get rid of people

Go all the way—provoke disagreement to the point that readers unsubscribe from your blog. No one’s unsubscribing? You’re not trying hard enough. Sure, they’ll be there as long as you’re so bland they hardly notice you. Or don’t bother to read your blog. But when you unmask, they may recoil. Good.

Distance yourself from the people who simply tolerate you.

Keep the people who love you

In some ways, business relationships work the same way as personal ones. You want to keep the people close who love you no matter what. I have three friends who would stick with me even if I become an axe murderer—although one admits she’d be disappointed.

Ultimately you want blog followers so avid that they love you even when you quarrel and want to work things out. Those people will advocate for you like the blasé folks never will.

And that, my friend, is the start of a beautiful relationship.

Guest author: Diana Kightlinger is a professional print and digital copywriter and content writer for high-achieving businesses, from solo entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies. For more helpful info, like Eclipse Communications on Facebook and follow her on Eclipsewriter Blog….