Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Top 5 Reasons to Love Video Marketing

Top 5 Reasons to Love Video Marketing
Here are the top five reasons why video is worthy of a key spot in your content marketing and demand generation programs:

1. Video Drives Higher Engagement and Retention Rates:

When it comes to attention spans, we’ve all drawn the shortstraw. Eight seconds short. That’s how long you have to capture your audience’s attention. Which means you should be picky when it comes to the content you’re serving to your audience. Video is a great content medium to capture that attention because, according to Invodo, 65% of viewers watch more than three-fourths of each video consumed, notably higher than text-based content.

2. Video is the Winning Medium in Driving Conversions:

We’re going to go out on a limb here and say that there’s a pretty good chance that one of your major content goals is to drive leads to sales. Video can help here too—sometimes even more than any other content medium, depending on your business and audience. But don’t just take our word for it, 70% of marketers say video is the most effective means to driving conversions. Product videos alone can increase purchase intent by up to 85%.

3. Video Improves the Results of Other Content Assets and Marketing Channels:

Videos are powerful stand-alone content assets, but they can also do well in a supporting role. In fact, adding video to the promotion of your other content assets can boost their performance.

4. You Can Gain Incredible Insight into Consumption Behaviors and Purchase Intent:  

Your marketing automation platform may have told you that apotential customer downloaded your latest ebook on improving client happiness with great technical support.  Cha-ching! But wait, what did she do after that? Did she read it? Did she print it off and use it as a coaster for her freshly brewed coffee?  Or did she re-read the part about the timing of a return support call over and over? You’re not sure, are you?

5. Brands Have Easier Access to Video Now Than Ever Before:

Buyers expect video content and continue to increase the time spent consuming videos.   In fact, according to Cisco, nearly 80% of internet traffic will be video-based by 2018. Lucky for marketers, technology has adapted to provide less-expensive alternatives for companies looking to meet these consumption cravings on their own. Long gone are the days of $50K production budgets for every video produced. Here are the major technological advances that make this possible:

Accessible Tools for Recording and Editing:  That smartphone by your side is actually a quality, 1080p recording device. And the cost of other recording devices such as GoPros, webcams, tablets, or even digital cameras has come down in recent years.  Even editing tools are becoming more and more affordable.

Online Production: There are now a plethora of online video production tools like Vidyard Studio, GoAnimate, and Camtasia, which help you to create a professional video without even leaving your desk.

Hosting & Distribution: The barriers to distribution are also disappearing. Today, you can easily share videos across public networks like YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and Vine. You can also target videos towards a specific audience on your website, embed them in email marketing campaigns, or even keep them private for internal use. While managing all of these different channels may seem daunting at first, a video marketing platform can make it happen in a snap.

Video Marketing Platforms: These platforms (which are different than hosting platforms) are on the rise. Video Marketing Platforms offer marketers the insights they need to constantly improve the performance of their videos, maximize audience engagement and conversion, identify individual viewers and track their viewing history, and turn that visibility into stellar, and more importantly—measurable—ROI.

If you need help with your email, web site, video, or other presentation to promote your  company, product, or service,  please give me a call at 440-519-1500 or e-mail me at 

X2 Media can help you target your content and get your message to the audience in a way that it is not only seen and heard, but remembered.

Until next month….remember, “you don’t get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression”. Always make it a good one!   

From X2Media I would like to thank you for your time.  

John E. Hornyak
X2Media, LLC

How to Manage Email Deliverability: Six Simple Best-Practices

How to Manage Email Deliverability: Six Simple Best-Practices

The email deliverability landscape is in constant flux, influenced in great part by the proliferation of mobile devices and subscriber engagement-based filtering.

Adapting to such industry changes increases the ability to reach audiences and generate revenue from digital messaging campaigns.

But managing deliverability can challenge even the most well-respected brand. Government regulations, inconsistent Internet service provider (ISP) policies, emerging technologies, and changes in subscriber behavior all add to the complexity.

As a result, one in six email messages never reaches the inbox, going directly to junk folders or disappearing altogether.

So, how can companies establish a clear approach to deliverability?

Achieve a positive sender reputation—the foundation for optimal email deliverability

ISPs can make or break your sender reputation. Meeting their expectations helps improve deliverability and increases your response rates.

ISPs are, first and foremost, concerned with protecting their users from unwanted email—regardless of whether it's opt-in. Even if users have given you their email address and asked to receive mail from you, you can experience deliverability issues if too few of the ISPs' users find your mail valuable.

Dozens of elements contribute to your overall sending reputation with ISPs, directly affecting whether those ISPs' filters think your message is "good enough" to reach the inbox.

Audience engagement with your email messages is one of the primary measures used by ISPs to determine your legitimacy as a sender. Focus on engagement by sending email content that your audiences find useful and desirable enough to interact with—on any device or platform and at any location.

Personalization also helps produce a stronger sender reputation for your brand. Making your communications more personal, with a more familiar or friendly tone, gives the perception that a true relationship has been established with your audience and increases open rates and response. Who among us doesn't like to be addressed by name or provided information and offers that fit our interests?

Using Web and behavioral analytics to get better, fresher audience data with every email campaign can help you segment and target more precisely in subsequent emails with the timely, personalized, and relevant messaging that boosts engagement. Avoid the temptation of repeating campaigns simply because they worked well; doing so can quickly lead to list fatigue.

Adherence to applicable laws—CAN-SPAM in the US and CASL in Canada, which mandate proper unsubscribe processes and provide guidelines for email content and sending behaviors—is another component of a positive sender reputation. Laws vary somewhat from state to state and country to country, so adhere to the laws of the state or country you are mailing to, regardless of where you are mailing from.

Apply best-practices to optimize reach and response

Deliverability is critical to the success of your email campaigns, so manage it proactively. Here are six simple best-practices that can help maximize your delivery potential:

  1. Include safe-sender links. Include a clear link in your email template asking your audiences to add your company's "from" address to their safe senders list or address book. When they do so, it's a sure signal to an ISP that your email is desired and should be delivered to subscribers' inboxes.
  2. Don't use a "no reply" address for your marketing mail. Instead, actively encourage recipients to reply to your messages. Evidence of an active email conversation with a sender sends a strong positive signal to ISPs, bolstering your reputation. Sorting through the replies may take time and effort, but it can pay big dividends in the form of improved deliverability.
  3. Work with a deliverability expert to build a solid deliverability strategy. Deliverability isn't just about reaching the inbox. It's about making sure you reach the largest number of recipients while maintaining optimal inbox placement. An experienced deliverability consultant can often develop a strategy to increase net response twofold.
  4. Whenever possible, set clear expectations in advance. Recipients respond much more positively to mail they're expecting to receive from a sender they recognize. If you don't have a relationship with recipients before you send them email, you're more likely to experience blocking and spam filtering.
  5. Give recipients control with preference centers. A preference center allows subscribers to control and customize the content they receive from you. It's also a great way to get to know your audiences' interests. Preference centers enable you to send targeted email campaigns, increasing the likelihood that your emails will be opened.
  6. Optimize email for mobile. The vast majority of emails are opened only once, which means the first impression you make will probably be your last. Still, only one-third of content publishers (PDF) say their emails are fully mobile-optimized. As an ever-increasing proportion of emails is opened on mobile devices, messages must be optimized for reading on a wide spectrum of mobile screens.
Managing and optimizing email deliverability requires dedicated time and energy, especially if you're not working with an email service provider (ESP).

To ensure your efforts will continually pay off, measure your deliverability, find out how you compare, and build deliverability strategies geared toward optimizing performance.

Seven Habits of Highly Engaging Facebook Content Creators

Seven Habits of Highly Engaging Facebook Content Creators

Here's a tried and true way to dramatically increase content success on Facebook: Post engaging content!

Easier said than done, of course...

But the starting point is your overall approach to content. Many Facebook managers start the content creation process from their organization's perspective, with a goal to share their story and their message. Because the organization's message is the most important thing, it seems the logical place for beginning the creative process.

However, if you approach the content creation process in exactly the opposite manner—with your fans' needs first... with your organization's messages, campaigns, and values as resources to serve up the content your fans need—your content will consistently engage more people, earn more reach, and ultimately have a larger impact.

Here are seven habits of engaging Facebook content creators.

Habit No. 1: Understanding Your Audience

Before you even begin posting content, you should evaluate and gain a solid idea of your audience: "Does it consist of women, seniors, Americans...?" If you have Facebook personas, that's even better.

However, the people you want to be interacting with via your content may be different from those who are actually engaging with your content.

To have a well-rounded picture of the difference between your intended audience and people who currently engage with your Facebook page, head over to the "People" tab in Facebook Insights; you'll find demographics for fans, the people reached by your page, and the people engaged by your page.

Habit No. 2: Validating Sense of Social Self

Think carefully about your message: what you'd like to say and how it maps to your audience's motivations.

One of the main reasons people engage with content on Facebook is that doing so helps them show their friends who they are and what they care about. If your goal is to increase your base, your fans are in constant need of content they can engage with to continue to define their social self.

Before you post, ask yourself:

  • When fans engage with this content, what will that say about them to their Facebook friends?
  • Does this content align with what I believe my fans want their friends to think of them?
  • If I were to see this in my News Feed, would I engage with it?

Habit No. 3: Reflecting Audience Preferences

Highly effective Facebook content reflects your audience's preferences. From your fans' point of view, what format would be best received—video, images, text with a quote, etc.?

Also, consider these content types to test and measure:

  • Smile-worthy. Post things that Facebook fans can share with friends to make them smile. If you're creating content for an organization with a serious mission, look for tasteful ways to inject humor.
  • Inspiring. Content that inspires does consistently well. Many Facebook users want inspiring content to be a part of their personal narrative.
  • Informative. One of the best ways to build a network on Facebook is to be a trusted source of information. Dig deeper and you'll discover that your fans want to be a trusted source of information to their friends, which leads your fans to share your informative content.
  • Timely. Some of the highest-performing content concerns current events and issues that people are passionate about. Keep your eyes open for content your fans care about and help them be seen as the first to know about it.

Habit No. 4: Not Being Afraid to Fail

Don't be afraid to test content types, and certainly don't be afraid to fail. In the process you will learn where your content strengths are and hone your understanding of your audience's content preferences.

Use your data to develop a sense of the base level of content engagement, and measure against it.

The "Posts" tab on Facebook Insights will be incredibly helpful, providing insight into engagement and reach.

To understand success at a micro-level, you can also look at metrics for individual posts.

Facebook provides data such as people reached, likes, shares, and even whether someone liked your post via someone else's shared content—a good way to see where extra shares and likes come from.

Habit No. 5: Posting at the Right Time

You'll find a vast number of sources on the best days and times to post, but the right time for you should be informed by your audience.

Again, Facebook Insights has powerful things to say about when your audience is online and most active. However, use that information only as a general guide: That information deals with when fans are online, not when they are actually interacting with your content; and most posts are seen in a user's News Feed, not on your page at the moment you post it.

Accordingly, I suggest page managers create (or purchase) their own tracking system that correlates audience engagement with posting date and time. Over time you'll see which days and times perform best for your content.

Habit No. 6: Being Goal-Oriented

Successful Facebook content is goal-oriented—as either part of a bigger campaign or in the sense of a goal for the specific post itself.

Whether you're looking to raise awareness or obtain email addresses from petition signers, each piece of Facebook content should work toward a specific outcome.

Make sure that desired outcomes are also tailored to your audience. Ask: "Is this an action I would take if I were an audience member?"

Habit No. 7: Willing to Change

Over time, new people join your audience and bring with them new preferences; as a result, your audience preferences can change.

Keep tabs on your audience to check whether what you thought you knew about it still applies. And be willing to try new things as you audience changes.

If you are effective at understanding your audience and posting content fans want to share, your engagement should grow. If not, it's time to take a step back and analyze where you might be going wrong.

* * *

Think through these seven habits as if you were a member of your own audience and ask how your content could be more engaging.

Think in terms of trends and what generally works for your audience, keeping your finger on the pulse of your content's ongoing performance, and you'll unleash the power of highly engaging Facebook content.