How SMART were your SMART objectives?

blog

How SMART were your SMART objectives?

Our digital and social media marketing course is over and now it is time to reflect.  In the first week we were asked to write our SMART objectives as they related to our participation in the course.

Here is what I wrote:

My objective for taking this course is to learn more about how to utilize and better implement social media campaigns by engaging and attracting more followers to social media platforms.

S- to engage with more followers on social media platforms

M- increase numbers who follow social media platforms

A- set a plan and execute

R- realize it takes time to engage with new followers

T- possibly could take a year

I wrote these SMART objectives in conjunction with my position at a roofing company where I was responsible for posting material and updates on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn.  Coming into this course, I felt I basically knew what I was doing but that I could do it better.  This course shows you that even though you may think you know what you are doing, there is always a lot to learn!  That being said, lets take a look at what I think I have learned in the last six weeks.

S is for Specific

So to engage with more followers on social media platforms.  Sounds easy, right?  Well it can be if you know a few facts.  The most important is knowing your buyer persona.  There are a whole host of things you need to know about your buyer persona, basic details such as their likes and dislikes, how they do their research and are they active or passive.  Discover all of this and you know exactly who you are marketing to.

Six tips to engage your social media audience

M is for Measurable

Increasing the numbers who follow social media platforms…..  Isn’t this what every business wants?  How do you make that happen?  It takes a lot of hard work!  You have post on sites.  You have to post content that is suitable for the audience of the site. In my own experience I would make the same post to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ but would post something entirely different on LinkedIn.  Why?  Because the LinkedIn audience may not like a video of a cat on a Roomba, but they will appreciate a quote from Abraham Lincoln.  One of the most useful things I found in the course in the matter of making posts on social media was “think like a customer when posting”.

Leadership-Quotes-Lincoln-16

A is for Achievable

Set a plan and execute.  How easy is that?  Make a marketing plan.  Create a social media schedule.  Make a Gantt chart.  Write a risk analysis.  What does all of that mean?  It means get organized.  Write out the goals you have for your campaign.  List the task and steps needed to implement the goals and have a definite time frame and the  person responsible listed.  Use checks and balances.  Follow up and review. Think worse case scenario and the implications of this action and write it down.  Pray it doesn’t happen.   Review, review, review.  Revise as needed.

Goal-Setting

R is for Realistic

Everyone wants instant gratification and a lot of new followers fast!  The reality is that is not going to happen, but if it does, please share your secret!  If we go back to achievable and we create our marketing plan with our campaign goal set we have a start.  If we continue and make a Gantt chart with our tasks and time frame and person responsible for the task, we are on our way.  Have some spare time and write out a risk assessment?  Now we have a plan for things that may go awry and an emergency plan to address them.  If we perform weekly reviews on these tasks and adjust as we go along we will get the results we want!

T is for Timely

When can I expect results. Realistically it can take a year to see the results you want.  So what do you do in the meantime?  You stick to the plan.  Complete your goals.  Make some great posts.  Write some awesome blogs.  Review your strategy.  Adjust accordingly.  Monitor results.

That’s a lot to take in.  What I’ve learned?  So much.

A few key points from my perspective are:

Blogging– I did not realize how important writing a blog rich in keywords was for a business.  It has always been that chore I did once a month.  We would post it to our website and send it out in our monthly newsletter.  Getting it posted and remarketing we got right.  We also usually got a couple of calls from customers either needing service or wanting another copy of their bid.

Call to action–  Very important.  I did not utilize this well at all.  How simple is it to suggest at the end that someone call for more information, or take a look at a website?  Use your call to action.

SEO– Search Engine Optimization- I am still weak in this area.  I do know now that it is important.  You want your business to appear on the first 3 pages of an organic web search.  After 3 pages people get bored and quit looking.  You want to be found.  We need work on the SEO-  When I am done here, I will probably search the available MOOC’s and see if there is one for learning how to utilize SEO.

Review and adjust– I did not do this well either.  I had a social media posting schedule I used to keep track of posts and to load them into Hootsuite.  I did not spend the time to review it or analyze the data from the social media sites.  You have to make the time to do this.

reviewaccountingstandards

 

 

 

 

 

#HASHTAGS– Hashtags are key in getting your posts seen.  Especially on Twitter, and Instagram.  You can use them as well on Facebook and Google+.  Use them!  They do not cost you anything and they can take you places you’ve never been before!

These are just the thoughts of a person who has spent the last 6 weeks learning about social and digital media marketing.  I have enjoyed  the course and the interaction with the students from other parts of the world.  I have read some amazing and wonderful blog posts from the other students.  I have conversed with a few of them on Twitter.  I have connected with some of them on LinkedIn.  The #passion4digital community is an awesome experience.

If you are interested in learning more about digital and social media marketing be sure to check out the FREE MOOC from iversity with the title Digital and Social Marketing.  You will be glad you did!

 

Year 2 Marketing Plan

Magnified illustration with the words Marketing Plan on white background.

Year 2 of Marketing for the Digital and Social Media Marketing MOOC

In looking at the previous years marketing plan for Digital and Social Media Marketing MOOC, you see that they devised a well thought out and executed plan.  The strengths of the plan were the blogs, YouTube video and the social media schedule. We will also continue with the email campaign.  Their weaknesses were in the problems with the website and a lack of third party press releases.  Our marketing plan  is to capitalize on the strengths and to strengthen and support the areas of weakness.  Our plan will utilize the same number of staff as the last marketing plan (five) and our budget will be $1098 USD.

The following is a two month Gantt chart which will be used to execute our plan.  It is an aggressive list of tasks.  If successful though, it will increase the value of the brand.

 

ProjectNovemberDecember
Produce a blog a minimum of 2 times a week.  Use appropriate keywords and link to social media sites. 

X

 

X

 

Create 2 new YouTube videos.  One with instructor comments, the other showing business people/professionals using digital and social media skills.  Keep them to 2 ½ to 3 minutes each.  Post to all relative social media sites and ideally the website. 

 

 

X

 

 

 

X

Continue work on the website.  Ensure all pages are operating as planned.  Ensure that the mobile website is functioning properly as well. 

 

X

X

Coordinate 3rd party press releases.  Have the university release official notification to media sources.  Invite media sources to view the program. 

 

X

X

Continue with social media scheduling.  Make good use of hashtags in all posts.  Monitor for effectiveness and change as needed.  Continue with email campaign.  Link email call to action to all blogs. 

 

X

X

The following is a breakdown of the budget.  The budget is set at $1098 USD

 

CommunicationNovemberDecember
HootSuite$9.99$9.99
Constant Contact$9.99$9.99
Google AdWords$330$330
Video Budget$200$0
Contingency $ to be used as seen fit$198
Total budget used$747.98$349.98

 

How the budget will be spent.

 

HootSuiteThis will allow us to find content and set it on a calendar to post on 5 social media sites.  More specific content can be added as needed to the social media sites.
Constant ContactUse to continue with the email marketing campaign.
Google AdWordsAdvertising that is paid for when it is clicked on.  We can set the budget.
Video BudgetVideo is important to get the message out.
Contingency $Can be used for Twitter or Face Book advertising.  Maybe to expand on a new and fresh idea.

Hazard-Assessment

 

Risk Assessment is as follows.

 

Risk Identification ProbabilityImpactAssessmentMitigation/Management
Blogs with good content and use of keywords do not get written as planned. 

2

 

 

5

 

10

Blogs are key to getting rankings.  Proper use of time will have to be monitored.  Content will have to be spot on.
Working bugs out of the website.  Landing page must be user friendly. 

4

 

5

 

20

If the website is not operating correctly all of the rest of the work will not be of as much value as it should be.  Critical to the entire project.
Videos do not get produced and or content is poor. 

2

 

4

 

8

Videos are the wave of the future.  Having a budget will help produce better content hopefully.
Monitor social media posts at least every couple of days. 

1

 

 

2

 

2

Monitor hashtags.  See what is trending.  Adjust as needed.
Email campaign does not go as planned. 

 

2

 

 

5

 

 

10

 

Blogs do not get written as scheduled.  No content to share in email.  No good call to action to collect more email addresses.  Monitor blog writers and content.

In conclusion, working on the website is critical in this marketing plan.  A functioning website will allow the blogs and videos to be posted so visitors can enjoy them and see what the Digital and Social Media Marketing course is all about.  The blogs and videos will engage more people, help with google ratings, and hopefully bring more students to the course.

What is your buyer persona?

buyer-persona-1024x535

As a company do you know what your buyer persona is?  Your buyer persona is a character your marketing or other department create to embody the characteristics of your typical customer. From age, sex, gender, relationship to your business, how they search for information, how they like to be contacted, these are all measures for your buyer persona.

In this blog we are going to use a buyer persona called Roofing Randy.  It seems that Roofing Randy has lived in his current home for 10 years, is experiencing some roof issues such as some minor leaking and he is noticing granules in his gutters.  He is currently shopping for a roof replacement.

Below is a chart that summarizes Roofing Randy.

BackgroundLearningJob RoleChallengesGoalsPreference
ConsumerReads Sports IllustratedTo find the goods and services he needsIf he can economically afford servicesTo make an informed choiceEmail
Home OwnerUses social media sitesThe company he chooses needs to be reliableThe cost of the projectTo make a cost effective choiceText message
Geographic Location SpecificFacebook

LinkedIn

Twitter

Google +

Make the decision on the goods and services offeredQuality of materials used in the projectHave confidence in the installer and materialsDoes conduct online research
 Uses the internet, word of mouth, google reviews and BBB ratingsTo make the best choice for his circumstancesWill answer phone calls if necessary

As we can see here, Roofing Randy is looking for a specific good and service, namely a new roof.  As a roofing company there are many things you can take away from this chart.

1  Roofing Randy reads Sports Illustrated- good to know if you want to do some adverts in a periodical. Better to note though is he likes to use the social media platforms. As a business having a social media presence in the geographic location where Roofing Randy is will give your company a boost when he searches for services.  We also know that he does online research.  Having a website with the correct ad words and a ranking on at least the first 3 search pages will get your business in front of Roofing Randy.

2 You know the challenges that Roofing Randy faces. Pricing is important to him. He is also concerned about having confidence in the materials and the installation.  As a company competing for his business, hopefully your website will have the correct AdWords to address these concerns.  A page describing the types of materials you use on a job site will be helpful.  Links to the supplier’s page so Roofing Randy can get the material specs will be helpful.  Having a good, better, best option laid out in terms easy to understand will be helpful. The best things  you can have on your website are photos of before and after of projects completed.  Reviews from customers who were happy and excited to share their feelings are important too.  Also you should know that having a good rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) will give Roofing Randy the confidence he needs to make his informed decision.

3 The last thing you know about Roofing Randy is how he likes to be contacted.  He has found your website and he has contacted your company for more information. Your company has sent an estimator out to look at the roof and given him a bid for materials and installation.  The decision is Roofing Randy’s hands.  How do you follow up with him.  His preferred method of contact is via email.  This information tells you that your company should have an email remarketing campaign in place.  By reaching back out to Roofing Randy with an email you are reminding him of your relationship and that he would be making a good choice by choosing your goods and services.

As you can see knowing your buyer persona gives you a lot of information.  This information can be used to make your marketing plan which will help you reach out and connect with consumers who would be interested in the products and services your company has to offer.

If you would like to create your own buyer persona, here is a website that can help.

Make My Persona

 

Results for “Roofing”

google_1503146c

Entering a Search Term-

The search term I used for this exercise was “roofing”.  The company I was working for is a small family owned roofing company. When a consumer is looking for roofing services, there are many terms they can put into the search query. Usually these terms are “roofing and the geographic location”.

Top 10 Search Results

Answerthepublic.com gave me a list of the top websites that come up when your search the term roofing. The top 10 results are listed below.

  1. Gaf.com
  2. Homedepot.com
  3. Homedepot.com
  4. Owenscorning.com
  5. Nrca.net
  6. Certainteed.com
  7. Certainteed.com
  8. Malarkeyroofing.com
  9. Wikipedia.org
  10. Atlasroofing.com

Of these results, 4 are for roofing material manufacturers (GAF, Owens Corning, Certainteed), 3 are for firms that install roofing (Home Depot, Malarkey Roofing, Atlas Roofing), 1 result is a trade website (National Roofing Contractors Association or NRCA), and 1 for Wikipedia.

The GAF website has “roofing” in it’s title.

The NRCA website also uses “roofing” throughout it’s site.

How did it Score?

Using relevancy, specificity, popularity and competition to score the term “roofing” the result would be as follows:

Relevancy = 3

Specificity = 1

Popularity = 4

Competition = 2

The overall score would be 3*1*4*2=24. This score suggests that “roofing” may not be the ultimate key word search.

How I Determined the Result

Here are the criteria I used to determine the rankings based on my understanding of the term “roofing” and what I found to be most relevant in the results. The manufacturer websites will have detailed pages describing all aspects of the roofing industry. They will also direct you to a qualified and credentialed roofing contractor who uses their products. The competitor websites will also have detailed pages describing the roofing industry. They will also be trying to sell their own individual products and services to ZMOT’s who land on their page.  The trade website will give the individual general information on the roofing industry, trends and regulations of the roofing industry. Wikipedia will give you useful information on the different aspects of roofing.

Conclusion

In this example if you are a consumer who is looking for “roofing” because you need to purchase a new roof, you only get 3 contractors out of the top 10 results. If you are a contractor and your are not one of the 3, you may need to redefine your keywords in your content.

 

 

 

A QUICK STUDY OF CUSTOMER CONVERSION AND RETENTION

week 2 homework

In order for a business to succeed these days, having an online presence and being mobile friendly should be high on the priority list in its marketing plan.  Data shows that most consumers will use some form of online research in making a purchasing decision.  Where you rank in online or mobile search results will determine if a consumer will find your business or service.

I used to work for a small family owned roofing company who is ahead of the game somewhat with their marketing plan. In general it was noted by the owner that this is how the ZMOT finds the business, either by word of mouth or from an online search.  This company used a paid engagement website.  The website is designed around SEO management and the content is geared for a search of keywords that someone looking for roofing services might search for such as roofing, leaks, roof repair, siding, storm damage, free estimates, contractor, and the major geographic locations the business services.  The website is also mobile friendly and has the same functionality of the desktop version.  Once a ZMOT lands on the page they can easily call in with the number provided or contact the business via email.  These leads are tracked and the business is charged for the lead and pricing depends on the service the customer is seeking.  If the customer lands on the website as an organic lead the business is not charged a fee.

Google changes the importance of websites being mobile friendly.

This company operated on a level 1 digital business maturity level.  The reason for this is that the website and SEO marketing were in place, however the social media sites did not readily engage customers or visitors.  Knowing what I know now, I realize that when posting to social media sites, you have to think like a customer.  I as the poster may know the technical terms of roofing but a customer may be scratching his head, wondering what the heck are they talking about and scrolling on by.  This is definitely not what you want with your social media strategy. Finding keywords and terms your customers understand is important.  Finding material the customer is interested in is important.  The best thing you can do for your customers in social media is to think like them.

One of the marketing strategies this company did do right was email remarketing.  When the ZMOT contacted the company it collected a list of information which included their email address.  This email address gave the company the ability to reach back out to the ZMOT in the form of a monthly newsletter.  They also had a program where approximately every three weeks or so they would send a letter out to those who had bids to remind them it was still in effect and they would be happy to give the FMOT more information or a date when the work could be started.  For SMOTs this remarketing campaign reached back out to them, reminding them that the company had other services to offer, benefits to having been a prior customer and asking that they shared these things with their friends.

Email marketing tips.

So what does all of this mean?  In short it means having the right online presence is a must.  In order to catch the ZMOT at the beginning of the search you must have a high ranking website that is well laid out and a mobile AP where customers can find you easily.  Having these laid out in a way that is easy to use helps the ZMOT become an SMOT.  Engaging these customers on  social media websites is a bonus.  The final strategy for  converting and retaining your customer is email remarketing.  Reaching out to customers who are FMOTs will hopefully encourage them to make the decision to use your product or service.  Reaching out to SMOTs will remind them that they were happy with your product or service and will encourage them to leave an online review and also tell their friends and family how happy they were with your product service.

Reflections on Digital and Social Media Marketing

REFLECTIONS ON DIGITAL AND SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

I enrolled in iveristy’s Digital and Social Media Marketing class because I attempt, as I have found out this week, to use these skills in my current job. We do hire a company to manage SEO content for us and I have never fully understood what that meant or entailed. I really want to find out what all this means and most importantly I would like to learn how to get the customers and hopefully other visitors to our pages to stop and interact. That being said, I found a lot of things very interesting this week.

STRATEGIC PLANNING…how do I get started?

One of the first things that is explained to us is strategic planning. A very necessary evil if you are going to attack a digital and social media platform for your business or for yourself. An analysis of where you are right now, in this very moment is needed. Be honest. You are probably not as far along as you should be. Now take a look at where you want to be. Front page news, ahead of your competitor, engaging your customers. All of that covers a lot of ground so it looks like we do need to make a plan. Once you analyze and develop a strategy, how will you implement? This is quite frankly, the most important part of the whole deal. Without implementation you have nothing. On a side note I found it interesting that it was said that you need a year to implement and see results from a social media market campaign. My personal experience is that it takes longer than a year.

SMART OBJECTIVES…are they really smart?

In order to determine organizations SMART objectives, you have to know the direction the organization is headed for in the future.  If a company is a start up, you will have to have clear direction, focus and goals in order to implement your digital and social media plan. SMART objectives are used more often than SWOT analysis. In one of the articles we read from HBR it stated that SWOT analysis was not “compelling or valuable”. Interesting.

DIGITAL BUSINESS MATURITY…how mature are you?

The digital business maturity level. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard of it. The concept is there are 5 levels in which to measure your digital business maturity. The first level or Level 0- is no digital presence at all. The last level is Level 4 and that has you looking to the future.  When I first glanced at this list I thought the business I work for was at a Level 2. We have a website where customers can contact us for appointments and a portal for them to pay their bill. We operate the major social media websites and have claimed our Google page. The more I look at this though; our business truly operates at a level 1. We publish content as blogs and on websites. However the major portion of us contacting our customers is via email. I think that both my boss and I need a better understanding of SEO usage. And while sharing industry updates on our social media pages is at least making a post, it does not engage our clients. Unless you count my boss’ mom. She’s our biggest fan!

THE CONSUMER JOURNEY…where are you going and how do you get there?

The consumer journey was a totally new concept to me.  ZMOT, FMOT, SMOT all very interesting and needing to be influenced if you want to connect with consumers online. If your branding is on point, people will remember and become a SMOT making decisions to purchase your product and leaving you feedback. The satisfied customer purchasing and  leaving a good review of your service or product what you can hope to gain from all of your strategic planning and smart objectives.

ONLINE BRANDING…are people going to remember you?

The last unit talks about online branding. One of the most important points is to create a product and or service and make it memorable. Creating a memorable brand will make everything cohesive and come together just like you want it to. When the ZMOT gets online to research whatever it is they are looking for, what they will remember is not the cheapest or the best. What they will remember is the product that has the most memorable brand. The FMOT will have looked at all the data they researched and make a decision, usually choosing the most memorable brand. The SMOT will make the purchase and leave raving feedback for the next ZMOT who gets online to find in order to make their informed purchase. Awesome!

This introduction to digital and social media marketing has proven interesting in many ways. I have been introduced to vocabulary and concepts I have never heard before. There is a lot of material to ingest and consider. When I get to my desk on Tuesday and go to make my social media posts, I know I will be looking at the task a lot differently than I have before.