I Got Addicted To Shark Tank AUS YT Account. This Is What I Learned As A Marketer And Freelancer.

  1. B2B or B2C? Who makes the sale? If the company you are working with as a freelancer is in a licensing deal, their marketing will look very different from a DTC company.
  2. Local is NOT global. Be aware of the verbiage and the local interpretations in your brand and product name. Do research to confirm you do not have similar brands/products out there. Leverage social listening and basic Google/Bing search. Basic, but important. Do not invest in brand building until you have trademarks.
  3. Patents? Crucial, especially for retail brands. Unless you own a patent your brand’s point of difference will be down the drain fast. Very fast. It will become a race to the bottom of the production cost: who can produce it faster and cheaper? And who has the better network?
  • Lesson for marketing freelancers: make sure you understand if the brand you work for has patents/is different from others in a substantial way. If they do and you help them build their brand, that particular brand will be considerably more valuable if they have a patent for 5-10 years compared to no patent at all.
  • Lesson for entrepreneurs: try to get that patent before you secure investment. That way you have leverage and can get a better valuation.

Do you want to work with a tech startup? Ask them if one of the key stakeholders is a techie (thanks for this one, Steve!). If that’s not the case, the startup risks losing a lot of money outsourcing very expensive tech. Them burning through that cash might end up hurting their bottom line and, as a direct result, your collaboration with them – they will not have marketing dollars if they do not have a great product.

I think I just had to write all of this down for my own sake. Hope it helps someone else out there.

And if you want, binge watch Shark Tank AUS and learn something on your own.

Reporting: What To Ask Yourself Before You Start A Report

Reporting: What To Ask Yourself Before You Start A Report

Smart reporting is more about asking questions than you’d think. There are very few occasions when your client knows exactly what they need. And some other times when they know exactly what they want the report to show and would want you to just make the data validate their hypothesis. Guess what? Sometimes that’s not the truth. 

So before you start doing data pulls and trying to come up with graphs, investing hours on end on cramming any and every metric out there into one report, maybe you should ask yourself what is it that your client wants to do with the report.

 I have been reporting on social media and digital marketing performance for over 7 years now and I’ve been through a lot of dashboards and reports. And I learned a lot and, whenever possible, I do try to ask myself or the client some of the questions below to be able to deliver the best report possible as quickly as possible. 

Audience

This is paramount to any good reporting. It makes a world of difference to know who your report reaches, is it a Marcom person or a top executive?

If you answer this question the rest will unfold. You will know what type of metrics you could include in the report and the verbiage to go with it.

For example, top execs might not be familiar with acronyms such as CPA, ROAS, CPR, VR etc. so you might want to avoid them or rephrase them into something easier.

 

Business need

Now that you know who is looking at the report you need to understand what they can do with it. 

If they are execs, they probably need data to support business decisions. So do include info on the ROAS and make sure they understand that data. Include info on channel performance and a recommendation on how to scale up the budget to improve performance.

If they are Marcom people, you need to pull out the big guns. Do an in-depth analysis of all the big picture metrics and then do breakdowns by initiative/products/campaigns/channels/messaging/format/creatives. Go geeky and all in.

Recurrence

How often does your client need this report? If you answered the first 2 questions then you most probably know how to answer this one, too.

From my experience, to answer this question you need to think about what you want this report to do.  If you want it to just track performance and have quick and easy next steps/action points, you can look at daily alerts and weekly dashboards. You don’t even need a call with the team, you just need to let them know what the next steps are and who needs to implement what.

If, on the other hand, you want a wrap-up report of all activities regarding a campaign, look at leveraging an automated dashboard and compile a report in a BI tool of your choosing. Try to give context and deliver insights along with data. Provide learnings and recommendations for future campaigns.

Format and sharing

Again, look at who will get this report and who reads this. If your report reaches a high-level executive, sharing a link in a tool he doesn’t use frequently might not be a good idea.

Another scenario to take into consideration: you need to collaborate with other teams on a wider report. Think about how you can do that in a seamless way – shared file saved on the cloud, maybe? Discuss a workflow with them and agree on who does what.

These are the four topics/questions I look at when being tasked with compiling a report. I bet there are dozens others, but I feel that even just these four might instruct better reporting and data analysis. 

LinkedIn Lead Gen Campaigns: Read This Before You Launch.

LinkedIn Lead Gen Campaigns: Read This Before You Launch.

Lead Gen campaigns on LinkedIn are a great way to generate qualified leads for your sales teams. Provided you do it right. What does that actually mean? Plan, test, optimize. I’ll go through my process, do let me know how you do it, ok?

Plan Before You Set Up Your LinkedIn Lead Gen Campaign.

Pretty obvious, right? But the actual strategy behind a lead gen ads campaign requires you to think of more than just the media plan. Unless you understand the broader picture your chances of running a successful lead gen campaign are slim,

In my experience there are a couple of aspects you need to analyze and decide before you open LinkedIn Ads Manager.

Think About Your Brand/Product And Answer These Questions:

  • is it a top contender in its market? how old is it, do people know about it and respect the brand as such?

If it’s not, you need to go back to the drawing board and decide if a lead gen ad is a good move at the moment. Maybe you need to consider building the brand and then try lead gen. Or else your offering must be very very strong, but more about that one later on.

  • what is your competitors’ offering at the moment? How does your brand/product/offer stack up against theirs? This is a great moment to revisit your value proposition (in case you need some inspiration on the topic, listen to this great Everyone Hates Marketers podcast episode with Hiten Shah, creator of KISSmetrics and Crazzy Egg, explaining how to find the right value proposition for your customers)
  • look at your customer persona and their pain points. Yes, again. Get in touch with your sales team and your customer support team to truly understand the client. Listen to your customers: check product reviews, both yours and your competitors and take a close look at the wording they use, you might find some hidden gems.

Create LinkedIn Audiences (Potentially) Ready To Buy To Leverage In Your LinkedIn Lead Gen Campaigns

You’ve see the sales funnel, right? You must have! Here, let me jog you memory with an amazing sketch I doodled on my own.

This tells us loud and clear that some people might not be ready to buy. They might not be in the market for your solution (yet), they might not have the budget, or external conditions might make them uncertain of when they can (re)start purchasing. What you can do to make sure your lead gen campaign is set up for success is try to identify the people who, faced with a good offer, might be convinced, LinkedIn allows for an array of possibilities, let’s look at some of them:

Customer lists

Go back to your friend, the salesperson, and get a list of potential clients, anything they can share with you might help> company name, job title/seniorities, etc. Talk with your salesperson about the decision-makers on the client-side and find out what department he works in, that way you can also leverage LinkedIn’s capability to target by function.

Pro tip: ask your friend about Sales Navigator, this sales tool for outreach LinkedIn is pushing. If they heard about it and use it to reach out to potential customers, get them to share the juicy data/lists they saved in there. Ask about their top performing tactics in Sales Navigator. Watch and learn from your friend, doing lead gen campaigns is as close as it gets to the sales process.

Custom list based on website traffic

You can retarget people who visited your website provided you have the Insight Tag installed (but you have that, right? you wouldn’t even dream of LinkedIn paid campaigns without installing the Tag…).

Pro tip: if your budget is small and you really need to target the audiences most likely to convert, identify the high-value traffic – people who visited the product page/requested a demo or downloaded a whitepaper. Retarget those and make them an offer they can’t refuse. What’s the offer? You tell me, you definitely know after all the hard work you put in when you planned your campaign and talked to your friends in Sales and customer support.

Test Your Offering And Audiences.

‘You know nothing, Jon Snow!’ (yes, GoT reference, stop rolling your eyes, it was a good show…). Much like Jon, we know nothing of how the campaign will perform and what would drive performance. I know this seems preposterous, but what about testing? Here’s how I’d do it.

  1. Write up 1-2 hypothesis on what might grab your audience’s attention. For example, you could say something in the lines of;
    • Our target audience wants to talk with product engineers.
    • Our target audience wants to read case studies.
  2. Figure out your ad creative format: you can leverage images, carousels, video, text ads, conversational ads etc. Depending on your offer, your hook (see #1) and your budget (#3) decide what you want to test out.
  3. Settle on a test budget and testing timeframe, for example, 5% of your budget to test during the first week.
  4. Analyze week 1 results in a team meeting and decide what you keep and what to get rid of.

Optimize Every 10-12 Days Or So.

Do NOT hurry to optimize in the first week. Let the algorithm do its magic and let the platform find your audience at the right time and place. If you are lucky you have some previous benchmarks> for example, for one audience I discovered I needed my key message to reach the audience at least 3-4 times to hit the sweet spot where they would be ready to convert. That’s why I believe for most products with long lifecycles you almost always need to run lead gen ads alongside brand or product awareness/engagement ads. That way you make sure your audience is not only aware of your offering, but they are considering your product.

And then you have the basics of any paid campaign:

  1. Pause underperforming creatives
  2. Twitch audience. Look at your campaign demographics and only keep the best performing
  3. Scale budget for best-performing tactics.

Last But Not Least, Your LinkedIn Lead Gen Campaign Is not Just Your Masterpiece. Talk To Your Friend, The Salesperson. Yes, again.

Ideally, you can have them join you weekly team meetings and get their live input and optimize your campaign to not only get leads, but get qualified marketing leads that the sales team can turn into clients. Only then will everyone be happy and your campaign be considered a success, horray!

This is it. My framework on how to plan, build, test, and optimize LinkedIn Lead Gen campaigns. Hope it helps. Would love to learn more from others and how others drive MQLs on LinkedIn.

My Love-Hate Relationship With Work From Home

My Love-Hate Relationship With Work From Home

My mornings start with a shrill drill. At least that’s how they did for the last 4 weeks. My improvised office in the living room turned into a dentist appointment for my eardrums. Anyone who knows me understands how bad is for me: I hate dentist drills from the bottom of my heart, there’s nothing else I hate more! (Okay, maybe spinach, but that’s a story for another day.)

I did try to work from other spaces. Yesterday I worked from GreenTea, a nice tea place 25 minutes away from my home. It was quiet, the internet connection worked just fine and I could stare at a green tree instead of a white wall. But it cost me money out of my own pocket. And it made me think: how much does work from home actually cost?

Don’t get me wrong. I love, love, love avoiding the 2 hour daily commute.

I appreciate the flexibility it gives me and, I’ll admit, working in my yoga pants is as comfortable as it gets.

I also enjoy being able to prepare my own meals to take better care of my diet, I lost almost 20 pounds in the last couple of months because of that.

And I like being in control of the environment I work in. If I’m working on a tedious report with lots of numbers and chunky spreadsheets I’d blare out my favorite rock songs to get some adrenaline in the system and focus on the work at hand.

What I don’t like are the costs associated with working from home. Yes, I’m talking about money here. But also about more insidious costs. Let’s break down some of them.

The thing I miss most about office life if the real life connection with other people. The morning coffees, the smiles, our squeaky voices when we sang Happy Birthday to a colleague who brought cookies and soda (and, man, were there some amazing cookies in our office!). I miss getting to know my new colleagues and exchanging thoughts. strategies, tips & tricks. And I don’t think it’s just me being sentimental. I think it’s the same for most people across companies.

It affects the organization culture and it affects how we, the employees, relate to each other and empathize. It puts a dent in the solidarity among people working for the same company. I can only imagine that unions would not exist if the entire world had worked remote/from home. Goodbye collective worker contracts, bid farewell to negotiating work conditions/benefits because people would have had no power to do so. Nowadays full WFH companies could easily water down their requirements/benefits package.

Who’s the cheapest of them all: will going full WFH hurt our paychecks?

If I were a big bad company looking to cut costs for the sake of shareholder value and I saw how much $$$ the company saved for not paying headquarter bills, the first question that would pop into my head: ok, where’s the place I can get the cheapest work? And I’d hire there. This is already a common practice, Romania and other Eastern European countries welcomed foreign companies.

I do hope that organizations going full remote due to COVID will democratize access to work and to better pay. But the pessimist in me worries that more and more companies going full remote will actually translate into them looking to buy cheaper and cheaper labor from anywhere they can source it.

Who foots the bill for the working space? Workers do.

Internet connection is mandatory in any work from home situation. But what happens if you lose it? It happened to me last week when my internet provider had to do repairs on the network. Around 12 streets had no connection. It was midday so I had to figure out a solution. So I took out my personal phone and connected my laptop to the hotspot. Not great, not terrible. But expensive.

If employees are to be entrepreneurial, we need to talk about expenses just the way a business does. Right now our employer is not paying rent. But we are. We are paying for all commodities needed in our home. Granted, we would be paying them even if we worked out of the headquarters, but the utilities bill would not be this high. And however bad that coffee in the office was, it was free. The office fruit, too. It might seem petty of me to think about the cost of coffee and fruit, but check this out:

Pinterest pays $89.5 million to terminate San Francisco office lease.

The company cited a shift to work-from-home due to the coronavirus pandemic in its decision.

$89.5M! If they were willing to pay that much, just imagine how much they’re saving for restructuring their SF headquarters. I imagine it’s at least double that amount, Pinterest is saving at least $179M. How much did you save on rent & utilities during the pandemic?

The situation is unfolding as we speak. COVID is changing the way we work and that comes with costs. For now it seems that employees are to pay some of those, not quite sure how much this affects the companies, we’ll just have to wait and see.

(Digital Tool Of The Week) FanPageKarma For Social Media Marketing Competitor Review

(Digital Tool Of The Week) FanPageKarma For Social Media Marketing Competitor Review

Good digital tools don’t pop up on my radar so often, especially not ones I’d recommend full-hearted. FanpPage Karma did. I found it a few weeks ago, I use it and I can recommend it for free of charge competitor reviews.

This social media marketing tool is not new on the market, as old as 2012, but I, for one, never tested it. I found it for a project I had where my client didn’t have access to any competitor review tool. And, of course, for a one time project, they were not willing to invest in a tool. Maybe some of you out there know what I am talking about.

Who Can Use FanPage Karma

Everyone and anyone, of course. But I believe that it’s best suited for small businesses, NGOs, or freelancers. Why? Because of the cost and a very short learning curve.

What does it track

Four of the big social media platforms ou there: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube. Unfortunately, LinkedIn does not allow tracking competitors in this tool, you can only track your own assets.

There is a caveat. For Facebook/Instagram you need to log in with your Facebook account and give the tool permissions to access one of your accounts. I used an older Facebook page I know is not that active, but be aware that you need to decide if that’s something you are comfortable with.

Once you add the social accounts you want to track it will pull up data visualizations and analysis you can leverage to get to the relevant insights.

What You Get With The Free Version Of FanPage Karma

As I already mentioned, I leveraged this tool for a competitor review I had no budget for. I expect a lot of you, social media marketers out there, fiound yourselves in a similar situation. Am I right? FanPage Karma served this purpose.

What exactly are you getting with the free version?

  • one customized Analytics dashboard
  • access for one user
  • 1 month of historic data

Pretty sweet deal if I may say so! This is how my dashboard looks like.

FanPage Karma dashboard

Let’s Test It Out

Whenever I do come across a new tool I want to test out what it can actually do. No muss, no fuss, let’s put this one to the test and you decide for yourself it’s something worth investigating for your own projects.

I want to look at the top 17 airlines in US & Canada for April – May of 2020 and answer a series of questions:

  1. what channel is preferred by airlines? I will look at the activity overview: the number of posts and engagements/post to see what’s the favorite there
  2. what content did they put up and on what topic? Can I identify a trend using the data?

Fanpage Karma provides the following metrics:

  • Network
  • Posts per day
  • Average Weekly Growth
  • Page Performance Index
  • Fans
  • Total Reactions, Comments, Shares
  • Number of Likes
  • Sum of reach of single posts
  • Engagement
  • Growth (absolute)
  • Number of posts
  • Number of Comments
  • Post interaction

You can export the data and start massaging it to get an overall view. Here are the conclusions I got to.

–> Airlines post most often on Twitter, even if engagement/post on that channel was the lowest

—> Top engaged brands by channel (engagements/post)

  • Instagram: United (17,000 engagements/post), Delta Airlines (15,500 engagements/post) and Southwest (13,400 engagements/post)
  • Facebook: Southwest (6,409 engagements/post), Delta Airlines (4,350 engagements/post) and Westjet (4,130 engagements/post)
  • LinkedIn: Delta (3,140 engagements/post), United Airlines (1,660 engagements/post) and Southwest (1,360 engagements/post)
  • Twitter: Aeromexico (80 engagements/post), Air Canada (17 engagements/post) and Westjet (16 engagements/post)

And then I asked myself: what exactly is driving engagement? So I checked the data again. Pnce again, I exported data from FanPage Karma, looked at the top 1,000 posts and tagged them by topic. The metrics you can look at are:

  • Date
  • Message
  • Network
  • Page
  • Post interaction
  • Link

The results are interesting.

FanPage Karma graph trends

I would have expected content on safety protocols related to COVID-19 to get more engagement because a lot of flights were canceled and the topic was hot on the public agenda. But apparently, brands chose to strengthen brand messaging and communicate on brand values and corporate sponsorship, along with corporate responsibility programs supporting local communities affected by the pandemic. Check out some of the top posts below,

To sum up, I believe this is a good tool to do quick competitor reviews and look at social content to not only see what is the priority for other brands in your industry, but also what channel and what topic the audience engages with more.

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