Networking At SXSW

March 11, 2013

By, Wendy Day (www.IndustryReport.com)

It’s time once again for SXSW and it’s easy to get overwhelmed at such a large conference. If you are traveling to Austin, TX to attend SXSW, you are committing a substantial amount of dollars to do so. It’s a good investment in yourself and your career so it would be smart to make the best of it before, during, and after.

sxsw

 

Before You Leave Home

1) Print Business cards. Your card should be clean and easy to read. It should have your name, phone number, email address, website, and all of your social media addresses/links. The goal is that as you meet people, you have something to leave with them to contact you after SXSW is over. And hopefully the folks you meet have one to give you as well (I always jot notes on cards so after I have collected 300 of them, I kinda can recall who’s who). Because I do so many different things in the industry, my card has a paragraph on the back that explains everything I do.

2) Print out the schedule: the list of panels, round table discussions, and events that are ideal to boost your knowledge of the music industry. Be certain to highlight the events and people speaking who will benefit you the most. Make sure you attend the discussions that will strengthen you where your knowledge is weakest and offer direct solutions to build your career. For example, if you haven’t placed music in TV shows or films, but would like to, be sure to attend the panels on those topics. Not only will you boost your knowledge, but you will be in the same room with folks who do this for a living which gives you access to those who may be able to help you place your songs.

3) SXSW is very big and there’s a lot going on at once. Most people are going for the performances and showcases, so if there’s a performance you really want to see, get to that event early or arrange a hook up now to get you in ahead of the crowds. Everything fills up very quickly.

4) Try to get added to one of the showcases if you are an artist. The Summer or Fall is a good time to apply to SXSW for a performance slot since usually by Christmas the schedule is full.

5) Reach out to your network of friends and associates and see who else is going. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn are ideal for asking your circle who is attending. If there’s anyone that you should meet with, setting up appointments for lunch, dinner, or coffee would make sense to schedule ahead of time. Folks may be hesitant to commit because they know once they get to Austin they will be pulled in multiple directions. Breakfast meetings may be best because folks can start the day with your meeting provided they aren’t too hung over, and you won’t get lost in the myriad of things going on at SXSW. Be flexible with folks if they need to cancel or reschedule. It’s a huge event with way too much to accomplish.

During SXSW

1) Check the SXSW smart phone Apps frequently to know what’s going on and to stay abreast of changes. Check Twitter and Facebook often for posts from folks who have discovered great events that you should attend. Stalk the #SXSW hashtag frequently and be sure to check your own phone, texts, and email for updates. These are the places that will list impromptu performances by artists that you might care about. Bear in mind that moving around the city of Austin during SXSW can be very slow and cumbersome if you need to get from one club to another quickly during the day or at night. Traffic is a nightmare.

2) At the showcases and events, meet as many fans and industry people as you can. Gather their email addresses, names, and twitter @’s of potential fans; and gather names, email addresses and phone numbers of industry folks and other artists. Keep your lists separate. You don’t ever want to treat an industry person like a fan.

3) At the educational events, be sure to network with other attendees as well as the panelists. Get names, phone numbers, email addresses, and social media addresses whenever possible. Google company names and people so you know who they are and what they do. Divide the people you meet into multiple lists: the ones who could help your career, the ones who are like-minded and who you may want to collaborate with, the ones you aren’t sure what they do yet, potential fans, etc.

4) Try to relax as much as possible and be sure to eat small meals often. Make sure you stay hydrated, especially if you are drinking. Sleeping will probably be challenging, but get as much rest as you can.

5) I can’t stress enough the importance of meeting people. This is a “who you know” business. Try to speak to everyone if you can. Find out what they do and exchange information. Make it a personal challenge for you to talk to everyone in each room or club that you enter. I realize that’s not possible, but try. Even speak to folks you meet in your hotel. This is the one time of year where everyone in Austin is attached somehow to the music industry. Be polite and outgoing. If you realize someone has no value for your career, don’t just drop the conversation coldly and walk away, be polite and kind and then move on. Don’t ever be an asshole.

SXSW Austin Texis

After You Get Home

1) Sleep. You missed a whole lot of sleep, get caught up.

2) Reach out to the folks you met that can help your career within the first 2 weeks of being home. Thank them for their time and tell them how much you enjoyed meeting them. If you shared a special moment, mention it so they may recall who you are.

3) Don’t ever assume people will remember you. In the weeks after a major event, I always change my avatar on my social media to my face, hoping people might remember me when they see my face. I also make sure the signature on my email explains succinctly who I am and what I do in a few sentences, along with my social media links. If folks can just press a link to arrive at my Facebook page or twitter, they might just click it.

4) Reach out to the folks that you met but have no idea what they do. Of course you’ve already googled them at this point, but if you still don’t know, politely ask them. I find it better to ask intelligently–meaning it’s better to ask “I see you work in publishing, what exactly is it that you do?” than to ask a general “what do you do?” It shows that you made some effort on your own to figure out what they do.

5) Lastly, put all of your new potential fans into your fan database. You should be sending out an e-newsletter soon anyway to inform your fans of your trip to SXSW and to discuss the highlights. If your email list has a feature where folks need to opt-in, add them to your list within the first 2 weeks after SXSW so you stand a chance of them remembering you and opting in. Don’t ask them to join your list more than 2 or 3 times, a week or two apart.

6) Networking is the art of give and take. Don’t just figure out a way for the people you met to help you, figure out a way to help them as well. People will be more open to developing a relationship with you if they see a benefit to themselves as well. You being a talented artist is not enough of a benefit, by the way.

7) Make sure you keep in touch with the people you’ve met and if you’ve promised any specific follow up, be certain to do so. Most people do not keep in touch, so the few who do follow up really stand out. When interacting with folks who have established careers in the industry, don’t be surprised if you have to do the bulk of reaching out at first. You need them far more than they need you. Until you have something solid or financial to offer, you are just one of many anxious and hungry folks trying to build a career in music. Be respectful of that. Don’t take anything personal.

Attending an event like SXSW can be very informative and a great networking opportunity for your career. Make sure you spend your time wisely, prepare for it thoroughly, and follow up professionally afterwards. It might just be the best money you spent this year.

Wendy Day is a 21-year veteran of the music industry who has managed to do the impossible: stay relevant. She runs the not-for-profit artist advocacy organization, Rap Coalition, and has helped discover, build the leverage of, and shop and negotiate deals for Master P’s No Limit, Twista, Cash Money Records (BG, Juvenile, Lil Wayne, Turk, Hot Boyz, Big Tymers, and Mannie Fresh), Eminem, David Banner, and many others. She has worked with Do Or Die, Lil Boosie, Webbie, Ras Kass, Slick Rick, BloodRaw, Young Buck, C-Murder, Young Jeezy, MGK, and others. She helps build independent record labels for properly financed labels showing them hands-on how to sell music and make money in today’s music industry. She wrote her first book, The Knowledge To Succeed: How To Get A Record Deal in September of 2011, and runs a social media marketing company called A Scratchy Throat to boost artists’ Internet presence and to increase their one-on-one interaction with fans.

written by Wendy Day (wendyday.com)

money2Marketing is the overall image and awareness that is put forth by your brand as you advertise, promote, do interviews and basically spread the word about your music (which is your product). One of the keys is to know exactly who will buy your music, and tailor your marketing campaign to them. The best method to draw in fans is “word of mouth,” so therefore your goal should always be to spark positive conversation (word of mouth) about you and your music.

Who Is Your Potential Fan?

Taking it outside of music for a minute, can we all agree that the person who shops at K-Mart is different from the person who shops at Neiman Marcus? The person who drives a Hyundai, may have different interests from the person driving a Bentley? So back to music now—the person who is listening to or buying Justin Bieber’s music is different from the person who supports Trae. Beiber has a younger audience, more pop music, radio, and internet driven, while Trae makes music to ride and/or smoke to—meaning the fan is older and probably more likely to be male. They are also more likely to buy a CD at the local Swap Meet or the Car Wash, while a Bieber fan may be more likely to download his music to an iPod, smartphone, or MP3 player, or buy the CD at the Best Buy next to the Mall for $9.99.

So, if I was marketing a young pop artist, I might try to book him on Nickelodeon shows and set up a high school or Mall tour. With a rapper who doesn’t appeal to a teenage demographic, I’d probably do more of a college tour, and club dates reaching a 21 and older crowd. So, it’s important to know who is buying your music. You need to be able to figure out the demographic for your music or your song, and that will let you know the direction your marketing needs to take. If you are not able to determine who your fan base is yourself, you need to find someone around you who can. But they better be right. If you are making music that appeals to white skateboard twenty-something kids and you market to young inner city teens, you are fucked in the gate!

When I was out on the road with BloodRaw in February of ’08, I kept dragging him to college campuses because he makes anthem type party raps, and he kept telling me’ “Let’s go to the ‘Hood.“ It’s not that one is right and one is wrong, but that he knows who buys and listens to his music. In this case, we blitzed the ‘hoods first and then grew out to the college and party crowds. He had a perfect understanding of who his market is.

How Will You Reach Them?

Once you know who will buy your music, it becomes pretty clear what your image needs to be to reach your market. In Young Jeezy’s case, he’s that dope boy turned rapper who’s about making money, partying in the clubs, buying material items, and driving expensive cars. In Jay Z’s case, he’s that Billionaire Mogul running his own empire and living the life that this brings. Kanye is the intelligent around-the-way guy who dropped out of college to pursue a dream and feels a need to voice his opinion about everything publicly. Lil Kim and Foxy Brown are the old school ‘hood chicks that every guy knows and loves while Nicki Minaj is the new “Barbie” on the block. Odd Future are the zany “I don’t give a fuck” guys who act a fool and hate everything. Wiz Khalifa is your boy who all he wants to do is smoke weed.

In terms of imaging, Jeezy could rock a suit, but you’d assume he was going to court. He’s much more at home in some high end black jeans and a white or black T shirt with some Gucci or Prada shoes. Jay Z is more likely to be recognized in a button down shirt with cuff links or an expensive Italian suit. Image is a big part of marketing. What is your image? What sentence would a fan use to describe you? Is that description unique or does it fit ten other rappers?

Now, as you promote your image to the masses to gain awareness, it’s important that your message is clear, concise, and easy to understand. A flyer with 20 things crowded on it, and no empty space for the eye to rest, is a waste. Having things mis-spelled or grammatically incorrect is terrible too. Photos that are too low resolution that they look grainy and out of focus make you look cheap and clueless. The look of your promotional materials says a lot about who you are as a person. It would be easier for Yo Gotti to get away with something grimy and street than Jay Z or Puffy. Image is everything, and yours should be consistent.

If you have no understanding of design or aesthetics, find someone who does. If you suck at writing copy, find someone who has that talent to write the words for your flyers, social media pages, website, bio, and CD booklets (liner notes). Find people who are good at what they do and hire them to help you. Know your role and play it. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Teamwork is key here.

When you choose your own lane, try not to bite what has come before you. There is already a Jay Z, already a Lil Wayne, already a Drake. Try not to copy their style or image or sound. Usually the one who does it first, does it best, so be unique.

I suggest to small labels all of the time that they use one image of the artist to have consistency in marketing. First of all, you don’t have the budget of a major label who can afford to market Rick Ross in a suit, a sweatsuit, as well as street clothes. Pick one image and use that for your CD cover, vehicle wrap, website, flyers, posters, etc. It is very rare that a fan recalls a new artist’s name. There are just too many new artists. So very often they will go into the store asking for the kid who is rapping next to a Lamborghini on his posters, or that kid who is into skateboarding, etc. Make it easy for people to figure out who you are. Use one strong image that stands out to market yourself, and sets you apart from everyone else.

When I first started working with TMI Boyz in 2008, our t-shirts were so ugly that I would never wear them. We gave out like 10,000 of those ugly shirts. Finally, we had the logo and shirts redesigned. We had everybody asking for our shirts and wearing them (including me). We even had folks offering to buy them from us (truth is t-shirts are more expensive to print, so we should sell the t-shirts and give out the CDs for free. Ha ha ha ha).

Your marketing mix should consist of whatever you can afford from the following–

Promotions:
Street promotion
Radio promotion
Club promotion
Retail store promotion
Internet promotion
Social media marketing
Publicity (blog, magazine, and media mentions)
Promotional Tour

Advertising:
Magazine ads
Billboards
Cable TV
Radio Ads
Internet Banner Ads

Tools:
Videos & Behind-the-scenes footage
Snippet CDs
Mixed CDs
T-Shirts
Wrapped Vehicles
Posters/Flyers/Post Cards

Don’t forget to incorporate the internet as part of your campaign. While we still aren’t 100% digital yet in this era, it is a crucial part of your marketing mix. To those of you with no budget who think free internet promotions is enough to build an artist, you are wrong. It is exactly what it is: inexpensive promotions, but just one part of your whole marketing pie. You still need the streets, clubs, and real world promotion.

I can’t stress enough the importance of your imaging and marketing. Make sure your messages are clear, well designed, spelled correctly and grammatically correct. And most of all, make sure you are reaching the people who will buy your music, with your imaging, your design, and your marketing mix. This should put you one step closer to success whether your plan is to stay independent or to attract legitimate deal offers from established record labels. (2/2013)

Reblogged from: BundlePost, courtesy of: Robert Caruso

A frequent question I get from my connections in the social graph is “How do I build a relationship with an influencer for my brand/product”. Though it is a common question, the answer isn’t as common.

Since I sincerely believe that social media marketing is a parallel universe to the real world, I always take a step back and consider what we do in real life. What are the steps we would take in our local offline environment to accomplish this? What adjustments can/should we make within the social sphere to help us achieve what we are wanting to do.

First, we need to understand that social media marketing is NOT about you. You have to have a mindset of giving, providing value to others and a willingness to help them succeed.

Secondly. you need to clearly define what you hope to accomplish by building the relationship with the influencer. Review your product? Have a phone call? Share your link? There are many different goals one could have for wanting to build a relationship with someone specific within social media. know what yours is.

Once you have aligned your thinking with the first and second points above, you can then follow these steps to best position yourself for a relationship:

1) Identify – Be sure that the person/brand you are targeting for the relationship makes sense. Identify the person(s) that are best suited for your brand, product or service.

2) Observe & Document – Do your research. Make sure you know what they do, their website and blog locations. Monitor their social posts and conversations and take note of who they are as a person and what drives their conversations. Pay specific attention to the human/personal topics that they engage around and document the information.

Don’t rush the observation step. Take time to understand the influencer. Rushing will usually result in missing the important subtle things that are most important! This can take a week or a month, depending on the person. Take your time…

3) Engage – Once you understand the topic drivers and personality of your influencer, begin to engage with them. Specifically comment on their posts, share their content and facilitate meaningful conversations with that person. If they have a blog, share their articles and comment on them. Look for ways you can assist them by furthering their reach, introducing them to prospects and retweet their relevant content.

*Important – A big mistake made at this stage is to do too much too quickly. Do NOT like/share bomb. (don’t like 5 posts on their wall in a row or RT their last 4 posts, etc.) This can come across as stalking or an obvious ploy. Use common sense and ramp up these activities over several weeks or months.

4) Build – Build a relationship with the influencer through more and more frequent conversations.

5) Ask/Answer – Ask open-ended questions about them, their articles and their business. The goal here is to continue to further the relationship building, but also foster a climate where the influencer begins asking YOU questions about what yo do. This is the point you know you have earned the right to talk about what you do and what you would like from them.

*Important – DO NOT ask for anything at any point before this stage. You must do the work prior to requesting a call, review of your service or sharing of your content. Also, be sure that you continue steps 3, 4 and 5 on an ongoing basis. Don’t make the influencer feel as though they had a horrible one night stand and were played.

I cannot stress enough that patience in the entire process is crucial. If you follow these techniques and take it slow, you will develop influencer relationships that will bring value to them and benefit your brand.

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

Increasing Your YouTube Views

February 20, 2013

youtube-facts-figures-by-techwelkinGetting people to watch your videos on YouTube is a process. There is no one simple solution that’ll make your video go viral. First we have to realize that people upload 60 hours of video to YouTube EVERY MINUTE of EVERY DAY! Pause for a second….that’s an hour of video that just got uploaded to YouTube! It would take 8 years to watch the videos uploaded to YouTube just today.

 There are over 500 million channels on YouTube. The site gets 800 million visitors per month and of course is accessible worldwide. YouTube Mobile gets 600 million views everyday. 500 YEARS of YouTube videos are watched everyday on Facebook alone. 100 million people take a social action on YouTube (likes, shares, comments, etc.) every week.

 The first thing I’d like to point out about YouTube is that 70% of the traffic comes from outside the U.S.; this means that YouTube is truly a global force. Since this blog is written for the purpose of helping aspiring artists, our focus is going to be those 8 million people in the U.S. who visit YouTube every day. We’re not going to ignore the international market, but the truth is that most of you are on a limited budget and can’t afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars that a national ad campaign costs, much less the millions required for an international ad campaign. (To our readers outside the U.S. there is still pertinent info here.) Now let’s talk about the process of getting views.

 There are several ways to get your video seen by more people. Here, at A Scratchy Throat we like to keep it simple yet effective. We assume that you’ve already created a YouTube account and named your channel. Once your account is setup and you have the video ready that you want to upload, the very first thing you’re going to do BEFORE uploading is rename the VIDEO FILE itself to contain relevant keywords about the content of the video. For example, a video name would be:

“cupid shuffle dance video.mov”

While your renamed video is uploading you can add your tags. Since I’m using an R&B artist like Cupid as an example, my keywords might include:

Cupid, New Cupid, soul, Lafayette, Hub City, Louisiana, music, family friendly, dance, dancing, fun, shuffle, “cupid shuffle”, “line dance”

 Some people even tag their video with other popular rappers names or events in hopes that their video pops up when people search for “Lil Wayne” or “Miami Heat” or “Rihanna”. I don’t suggest you try this, because it doesn’t get you more views. If you’re having problems choosing, the YouTube Keyword Tool will help you figure out what keywords to add to your video.

 Next is your video description. Start your video description with a link to your website or blog (make sure that your video is embedded on the page you link to). Write up at least 2 paragraphs for the video description section that tells what the video is about. Be creative and include your keywords in the natural flow of these two or three paragraphs. YouTube uses this description when people search for videos, so the link and the description will help you to get views more than you may think.

 Once you’ve got your tags and video description done, double check to make sure that ALL the keywords that relate to your video are included in the “tags” section of your video. This helps with Search Engine Optimization for YouTube searches.

 Now that the groundwork is laid, and the video is uploaded, it’s time to start sharing your video.

 Embed the video to your site or blog. Encourage you’re your friends and fellow bloggers to visit and comment on your video. When you “embed” a video to your site it allows your fans to view the video on your site without having to go to YouTube. If you have friends with websites, ask them to embed your video as well. Make sure you do the same for them. Multiple people working towards the same goals (increased YouTube views for all) is the definition of networking.

 On Facebook, embed your video to YOUR OWN page and your fan page. Don’t bother posting it to your friends’ pages, or putting it in people’s inboxes, it annoys people more than influencing them to check out your video. It’s better to post the video to your page, tagging your CLOSEST friends in it. Post the video as a status and either to pay to have it promoted ($7) or post it several times a day for the first few days, then maybe twice a day afterwards. You CAN ask your friends to share the video to their pages. Think about it, isn’t your video more likely to be seen if 100 people share it with their friends, instead of you posting it all over their pages without their knowledge? Don’t be the ass clown who posts their video to all of their Facebook friends’ pages. These are the posts that get deleted, not watched.

 On Twitter include the link in tweets about your new video. Do NOT @people your video link. This is annoying, doesn’t increase views, and often gets you blocked. Twitter is a means of communication and interaction. Don’t be the person who just @s links and tweets about their new “hot” mixtape or “smash” single. This doesn’t draw you any extra attention or give you more views. Engage in conversation with people on twitter, and as you connect with each other introduce them to the OPTION of checking out your video. @ing a link to your video to your followers or “important” people in the music industry is SPAM. It’s a waste of time and does much more harm than good. Don’t be the douchebag spammer who gets muted or blocked!

 Lastly, no matter which social network you’re using, encourage sharing and commenting. With our example above, “The Cupid Shuffle,” you might even ask your fans to create their own response video doing “The Cupid Shuffle” and then you can tweet and share the links to THEIR version of your video as well. You could even conduct a contest and give a prize to the person with the best response video. The Harlem Shake is an example of this promotional idea that went viral.

 The possibilities and probabilities for your new video are endless. Just realize that Rome wasn’t built in a day. You’ll have to stick to your guns and not give up. Don’t get discouraged and start doing what all the other guys with 100 views are doing. Don’t become a spammer. The “easy” techniques aren’t working for THEM and they won’t work for you either.

 Everybody can’t be the next “Psy” and have a BILLION views of their video. Although, you DO have a chance to be successful!! Follow these basic tips and continue to educate yourself on how to get the most views for your video, and you’ll see your channel subscribers growing daily.

 Lastly, just in case you didn’t know, buying views doesn’t work. Knowledge, dedication, hard work and persistence do work. Do what works and maybe you’ll see us tweeting about how much we like your new video (but don’t spam us your link!! LOL).

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

The primary focus of the blogs contained here at A Scratchy Throat  are to help you boost your social reach in today’s online market. Every day, people use social networks to help them sell their music, get shows or sell merch. You can become one of these people with the right amount of research and determination.

 Negative people always know how to fail. They say YouTube doesn’t work because you can buy views; or that Facebook doesn’t give you a proper percentage of fan interaction; or that Twitter isn’t a proper platform to market your songs. They tell you that Reverbnation and Soundcloud are like ghost-towns (nobody goes there). That MySpace is dead. Negative people say that nobody buys music anymore; and that everyone downloads their music for free.

 Negative people tell you these things because they actually believe them. It’s your job to do your research and find out for yourself if what these negative people believe is true.

 Kendrick Lamar went platinum last year, and before you say it’s because he’s signed to a major label, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are independent artists and their single Thrift Shop just went 3x platinum.

It’s your choice to make the most out of every networking opportunity that comes your way. Don’t forget to look at your own expectations of social networks and decide HOW to approach promoting your music online.

AN ONLINE PRESENCE IS NECESSARY FOR YOUR SUCCESS IN TODAY’S MUSIC INDUSTRY.

So where do you start? What network do you use? Well, that depends on the kind of music you make and who you believe is your audience. Billions of people use social networks. Here’s a list of the more popular ones for our purposes:

Now before u choose the site with the most visitors, let’s look at the ages of the users of some of the various network sites:

Modified graphic from pingdom.com

We all know music doesn’t appeal to everyone in all age groups (although I’ve heard many of you say “everyone is my target market”). Even though there are 60 year old women who like 2 Chainz, his main target market is 18-34 men. Even though some 10 year olds may like to groove with Maze & Frankie Beverly, the band’s target audience is 35+ (they haven’t released new music since 1993). So evaluate your music and content. You don’t want to target people 45+ years old if you’re a hipster or gangster rapper; and you don’t want to target 0-17 year olds if you play traditional jazz. Choose your target audience appropriately, and use the network where you will have the biggest possible audience.

Paying close attention to the chart above, you’ll notice that Tumblr has the most 18-24 year old users. If you’re a young rapper and want to engage people from 18-34, then it looks like your target audience uses mostly Tumblr, Blogger, & MySpace. But if you’re more of an R&B type artist and want to target ages 25-44, your audience is biggest on Twitter, Blogger & WordPress. Finally, if you cater to a more mature audience, like 35+, then Facebook, WordPress & LinkedIn hold bigger parts of your target market. Now these indicators don’t mean that you should shut down or not use ALL social networks. This is just an example of the research that you have to do to locate your potential audience.

If you dedicate the time, an internet search will show you which social networks have the most women, the most college graduates, or the most high school dropouts. I think that I’ve given you enough to get you started in locating the people you want to share your music with online. Now it’s up to you to get your profiles setup and to start engaging the people who have similar interests to you. Remember, DO NOT spam your links to people’s pages!!! That doesn’t work!! Get to know ’em first– you’ve narrowed down your prospects and are talking to your target market. Make sure that your aim is steady before you fire!

Tony Guidry is Senior Marketing Manager for A Scratchy Throat. A 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.

gangnam1

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.

50 Ways to Generate Leads with Social Media

If part of your marketing plan involves generating leads, then social media should be part of that strategy. Social media can drive the type of web traffic from those that are actively seeking your information. They may even be ready to buy. Using social media monitoring, content creation, advertising, and networking, you will be a hero at your organization by bringing in leads like never before. Here are 50 ways to drive leads with social media, as part of our ebook, How to Generate Leads with Social Media.

Build a network of strong ties

In order to create leads, you need to have interaction, affection and time, which are all aided by social media. Here are some ways to create strong ties:

1. Follow prospects on Twitter
2. Friend new connections on Facebook
3. Conduct a Google Hangout with industry leaders
4. Host a webinar with registration
5. Answer questions on social channels
6. Use Help a Reporter Out to offer information
7. Share peer referrals
8. Reach out to prospects where they’re engaging
9. Expand pool of prospects
10. Share a Vine video

Influence connections for content sharing

Publishing and sharing content online is the single biggest lever to increase lead generation. Here are some content ideas:

11. Write ebooks and gate them with forms
12. Crowdsource content and credit your community
13. Find a Tweet that promotes your content and share it
14. Reshare existing content to breath new life into it and encourage clicks
15. Make your content visual for Pinterest pins
16. Blog about helpful information (not product)
17. Optimize site and blog for mobile viewers
18. Share relevant content with prospects
19. Make a compelling presentation on Slideshare
20. Ensure all your content links together to create as much inbound linking as possible

Utilizing Social Media Monitoring

Listening at the point of need can help you discover opportunities to help by offering information or expertise — without sales pressure — at the perfect time. This results in lead generation. Here’s how to monitor for lead opportunities.

21. Monitor for buying indication terms within your product category
22. Monitor for recommendation requests within your product category
23. Monitor for discussions of your product category
24. Monitor target prospect personas to confirm accuracy
25. Monitor questions and conversations about your product category
26. Discover topics for remarkable content
27. Discover competitive insights
28. Monitor for key phrases customers are using when seeking help
29. Spot and answer direct questions from prospects
30. Monitor industry trends

Use Social Ads to Generate Leads

Paid advertising on social media, such as sponsored Tweets on Twitter or promoted content on Facebook can help you generate leads. Here are 10 examples of how to do it.

31. Use a Facebook ad to drive traffic to your website
32. Use a promoted Tweet to drive traffic to your website
33. Link back to dedicated landing pages for conversion
34. Sponsor a form on another Facebook Page
35. Create an ad on LinkedIn linking to a lead generation form
36. Promote a strong call to action
37. Promote offers
38. Make ads visually appealing for Pinterest pins
39. Advertise on relevant forums
40. Organize ad distribution by target personas

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search can be a huge driver to your website and utilizing key phrases in your content, social channels and throughout your website can boost your SEO. That will enable prospects to easily find your site, hence aiding in lead capture. Here’s 10 ways to do it

41. Include key phrases in your Tweets
42. Link to your blog from Facebook
43. Ask followers to link to your website
44. Use keywords on your LinkedIn company page
45. Include keywords in your blog post headlines and body
46. Tag and name your images
47. Categorize and tag your blog with key phrases
48. Share ebooks using key phrases
49. Upload videos to YouTube (2nd largest search…