Twitter Chats

2010 Blog Post Recap and Looking Forward to 2011

Mistletoe=Dung on a Twig. Eeuuuwwww!
Mistletoe=Dung on a Twig. Eeuuuwwww!

In January, 2010, I posted about how I was lucky at Affiliate Summit West 2010, and I’m ending the year with some lucky affiliate news from buy.at – I won their final Christmas quiz! I was able to determine the literal meaning of the word mistletoe is “Dung on a twig.” Can I just state for the record: YUCK!!! I now have an entirely new mental picture whenever someone talks about kissing under the mistletoe…

It seems affiliates were lucky for me in 2010, and maybe not so surprisingly my most popular blog post mentions no less than EIGHT affiliate marketers mentioned in it! Listed below are my top ten 2010 blog posts, ranked via pageviews according to my Google Analytics account. Count them down with me as we count down the last few hours of 2010:

10. Affiliate Summit West 2011 and Social Media Marketing 2011

9. 5 Questions About Building Brands Via Social Media

8. Talking SEO for our 1st Blog Birthday-Anniversary-Blogiversaryday

7. Testing, Testing, One, Two, Three…

6. How Do You Know Who To Interact With On Social Media?

5. Why Didn’t I Ask “How Did You Hear About Us?” I Already Know.

4. Twitter Chats – Fantastic for Insights and Visibility

3. Putting The Social Back In Social Media

2. Top 12 Twitter Chats by Day – What are your Favorites?

1. 2010 Internet Marketing Olympics Dream Team

Happy New Year – 2011! My wish is that the new year is happy, healthy, and prosperous for us all!

If you look at the topics of the blog posts above, there is a wide mix of marketing topics including social media, Twitter chats, brand building, SEO, and even some web analytics and email testing. What would you like to see more of in 2011? Please leave a comment below and let me know!

Conferences, Chats, Mentions, and a New Job, too!

Affiliate Summit 2011 Speaker
Affiliate Summit 2011 Speaker

I’ve been VERY busy since my Blogiversaryday – here’s what I’ve been up to:

Conferences

Blue Sky Factory User Conference – Blue Sky Factory COO and Managing Partner, Doug Broujos, and I presented a session on Getting People to Open Your Email. We spoke about Subject Lines, “From” Names, Pre-Header, and other factors that impact people receiving and opening email. I’ll add a link to the recording/slides once it’s posted. I was thrilled by the audience interaction and the thoughtful questions they asked. I am convinced that Blue Sky Factory hires some of the best and brightest people in email marketing – let me know if you need a referral and you and I can both get 3 months of landing page services for free!

Affiliate Summit West 2011 – Did I mention I was speaking at #ASW11? You can find more info about my speaking engagements on the About page of my site! See more about my top 15 speaking status in the Mentions section below.

Chats

#ProfsChat Guest of Honor – I was just coming off the high of speaking at an email marketing conference when I got an email from Megan Leap at MarketingProfs asking if I would be the special guest on #ProfsChat so of course I said YES! Our topic was email marketing and social media – two of my favorite topics! You can find the complete transcript, including some great links, here: #ProfsChat email marketing and social media transcript.

#SMchat moderator – although I missed my usual “2nd Wednesday of the month” Marketing moderator slot on #SMchat because I was speaking at the Blue Sky Factory User Conference, I was able to view the transcript of the great job done by Guest Moderator Joe Ruiz (better known as @SMSJoe on Twitter). I look forward to moderating today’s #SMchat – once again we’re discussing email marketing and social media, but this time specifically as it relates to Facebook’s venture into email marketing, formerly know as Facebook’s “Project Titan” and now officially released as Facebook Messages. There are no scripted questions this week, but the conversation should be lively on this hot topic! Don’t have Facebook Messages yet? You can request an invite here: http://www.facebook.com/about/messages/

Mentions

Mention in Chris Penn’s Newsletter – I love the way Chris emphasizes the action items in his email – especially subscribe and unsubscribe – and breaks the content into easy-to-digest sections. As an extra-added bonus, I got a mention in this month’s newsletter for sharing last month’s newsletter with my social media network – how’s that for an incentive to SWYN/FTAF?

Mention in Geno Prussakov’s blog – You can see from my Tweet how excited I am:
I’m #14!!! RT @eprussakov Most Influential Affiliate Summit West 2011 Speakers – Top 40 http://bit.ly/bFMnRi

New Job

With a fond farewell, I announced my resignation from MEDEX Global Solutions although I’ll continue to be an affiliate and will never leave the country without MEDEX international travel medical insurance after all of the scary travel stories I’ve heard while working there.

I start my new job as Assistant Vice President, Ecommerce at 1st Mariner Bank after Thanksgiving! As you can see from the image, 1st Mariner is just as excited as I am. Wish me luck!

1st Mariner Announcement
1st Mariner Announcement
Please note: These are affiliate links to MEDEX and Affiliate Summit, but I’d link to them even without an affiliate relationship because I’ve become a true believer in travel medical insurance and I’m thankful that Affiliate Summit has asked me to speak at their event.

5 Questions About Building Brands Via Social Media

Social Media for Brand Building?
Social Media for Brand Building?

At the suggestion of Chris Jones, aka @SourcePOV, I’ve been reading a lot recently on how brands are using social media. Here are some links I’ve come up with – examples from around the globe on how companies like Starbucks, Microsoft, Coca Cola, Dell, Kenya Airways, Cadbury, Vodafone, Volkswagen, and K-SWISS are using social media to increase brand recognition and positive brand interactions:
Building Brands Through Twitter
Starbucks’ Schultz: Social Media Is Key to Building Brand Trust
Building Brands via Social Media
Building European Brands Through Social Media
Digital Media Law: Building Brands In a Digital World

For the October 13, 2010 #SMchat, we will be discussing the following 5 questions:

  1. Is social media the best way to build a brand online? Why or why not?
  2. Do B2B and B2C brands need different social media brand-building strategies?
  3. Which social media channel is the best for brand building and why?
  4. Is there a best channel for brand engagement? Does it depend on the product?
  5. What about brand loyalty? Is one channel better than another?

Did I miss any good branding and social media articles? Please feel free to post links in the comments below and don’t forget to join us for #SMchat on Wednesday, 10/13/10, at 1PM ET! We look forward to chatting with you.

How Do You Know Who To Interact With On Social Media?

Knowing who to interact with is important
The inspiration – thanks Autom Tagsa!

A comment I made during last week’s #SMchat was one of the most re-Tweeted and commented upon Tweets I’ve posted recently. My Tweet (on the left) was to point out that you can spend a lot of time on social media without seeing any benefits. Just like in real life, if you’re interacting with the wrong people, you won’t get much out of the conversation.

There’s an article in the Guardian that says Twitter is changing how we interact with the world. The way I see it, social media isn’t changing the way we interact with the world, it’s giving us a new way to network with people that we may not have had access to without Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/etc.

Heidi Cool, a #SMchat regular, wrote a post in September 2009 asking, “How are you interacting with your target audience?”, and although it’s important to interact with your target audience, it’s also important to connect with people who aren’t your target audience right now, because they could be in the future.

My friend Renee Lemley from Gray Matter Marketing came up with some great names for Twitter follow strategies like: THE UNEQUIVOCALLY UNRECIPROCATED FOLLOW STRATEGY and THE EVEN-STEVEN FOLLOW STRATEGY in her post, “Why, How and Who Do You Follow?” Which social media interaction strategy is right for you? Or do you use a different technique?

The main question in this week’s #SMchat conversation is: How do you know who to interact with on Social Media?

My short answer: Everyone!

Want to find out the longer version? (We’re limited to 140 characters because it’s a Twitter chat, but I can guarantee there will be more than 9 characters of conversation going on!) Join us on Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 1PM ET on the hashtag #SMchat for answers to the question above and these questions as well:

Julian Loren wants to know, How do you gracefully disengage when needed? Hopefully, Sherry Lowry will join us to expand on her suggestion to “build in graceful exits to agreements.”

Jeunesse Yvonne wants to know if it’s appropriate to follow your boss/manager. A Mashable survey says it’s wrong to friend your boss on Facebook in their article, “Facebook Friends With Your Boss? Right or Wrong?” I’m not sure that I agree with that, but let’s hear what you have to say!

Jeunesse Yvonne also asks should you interact with people you’d like to be employed by? I think DJ Waldow would emphatically say that’s a good idea…emphatically mainly because DJ’s enthusiastic about everything, but also because social media helped him get his job at Blue Sky Factory!

Got questions on who to interact with on social media? Even better, bring an opinion or some real-life examples of your own to our Twitter chat on Wednesday, 9/8/10 at 1P ET – we look forward to chatting with you there! Can’t make it, or have a burning question that you don’t want to forget? Leave a comment below and I’ll make sure we discuss it during the chat. I’ll also post a link to the transcript for your review.

Why Didn’t I Ask “How Did You Hear About Us?” I Already Know.

Please don't ask "How did you hear about us?"
Please don’t ask, “How did you hear about us?”

Today I participated in #CROchat, a Twitter Chat on conversion rate optimization that has become a favorite, and a discussion started about the length of qualification forms. Ion Interactive said no matter what length the form is please don’t ask, “How did you hear about us?” Several of the #CROchat participants agreed, but Carlos Del Rio wanted an explanation. Ion Interactive shared a blog post by Anna Talerico on banishing self-serving questions from your conversion process, and although I agree, I feel that’s only part of the answer.

Yes, you should definitely limit or remove questions that don’t have any value for the customer from your conversion path, especially the “How did you hear about us?” question. During my DRTV (direct response television) days, clients often wanted to have the call center ask it and we would get free-form answers like “my wife/mother/friend/boss told me to call” or “I saw it in the newspaper” (tough to do when it was a TV-only campaign). People lie, or they tell you what they think you want to hear, or they simply say, “I don’t remember” which is true more often than not.

Here’s what to do instead: Set up campaign tracking.

  • Track by medium – Online (SEO, PPC, Affiliate, Email, Social Media), TV, Radio, Print (Newspaper, Magazine), Billboard, etc.
  • Track by source – Google, Yahoo/Bing, Email Newsletter, WJZ-TV, WWMX-FM, USA Today, etc. – Be as specific as you can: is there a specific webpage, newspaper section, radio or television show?
  • Track by content – Make sure you test ads against one another. Continuous testing will optimize your media spend.
  • Track by keyword term – This is especially helpful for PPC ads, but you can also track any special phrases in your other ads.

Joe Teixeira from MoreVisibility wrote a great blog post on how to set up tracking in Google Analytics. His post’s emphasis is on paid search campaigns, but with a little ingenuity you can make it work for any other media.

There will be times, especially when dealing with offline media, when people don’t cooperate and just use the “base URL” instead of your customized version with tracking in place. Watch your analytics to see spikes in traffic where many of the users are coming from the custom URL and use your best judgment on attributing some or all of the “base” traffic to that source. If you’ve got a sophisticated analytics program like Coremetrics, you can even track your viewers by first click, last click, or distributed click attribution. Eric T. Peterson did a great white paper on appropriate attribution that might be helpful for a better understanding of that concept.

How did you hear about this blog post? Since I don’t advertise I can tell you without asking, someone saw my Tweet and either directly or through a combination of events (your mother saw my Tweet and told you to check out my post) you made it here. I can look at my analytics and tell you for sure or you can leave a comment below to let me know!

Haiku for Sarah Evans

Perhaps we should rename this portion of my blog, “Contests From The Woman Who Can’t Turn Down A Dare.”

I mentioned #journchat in my favorite Twitter chats post several months ago and along with it #journchat founder Sarah Evans. I’ve chatted online with Sarah a few times both during #journchat and at other non-#journchat times and I’ve always been amazed at how knowledgeable and genuinely nice she is. But this isn’t a post about Sarah. I got an email from Liz Pope, Media and Research Manager at Sevans Strategy, who read my blog and double dared me to enter the contest to join Sarah during a special edition of #journchat live from the NBC News Studios in NYC on August 9, 2010. The contest and #journchat are sponsored by Cision who makes public relations software – you’ll see why you need to know what Cision is in just a few lines.

I enjoy #journchat because PR is not something I learned in school or something I’ve done often in my 22+ years of advertising and marketing experience. I’ve only worked on the edges of doing public relations activities, but I think that with social media becoming more important in many companies’ marketing strategy, public relations lessons go a long way toward teaching the right things to do in social media. Companies need to treat everyone as if they were a journalist, because with social media they are!

Soooo…since I can’t seem to be able to turn down a double dare, here’s my Haiku for Liz Pope and Sarah Evans:

Smart Sarah Evans
Journchat NBC Thrilling
Cision software too?

I’ll be in NYC for Affiliate Summit East 2010 the following week, so I’m not sure that either my boss or my family would appreciate me heading up there twice in the same week! With that said, I did think the contest was a great idea and hopefully if Sarah is still around from the 14th to the 18th when I’m in New York, I’d love to connect!

I’m looking forward to meeting with so many of my affiliate friends during #ASE10 – will you be there? Drop me a note, or post a comment below letting me know when you’re there and let’s set something up! Want to attend #ASE10 but don’t have a pass? I have ONE Gold Pass that I’m happy to give (at no charge) to the first person who asks for it – either via a comment below, or by sending me an @ or DM on Twitter, but don’t wait too late because I hear #ASE10 will be sold out soon and then my Gold Pass offer expires.

Affiliates & Social Media: #SMchat Topic July 2010

In November 2008, Dr. Ralph Wilson interviewed Affiliate Summit co-founder Shawn Collins and the video of that interview contains several great ideas that are still relevant and able to be implemented successfully today! Shawn talked about being a part of the community on Twitter (and all social media) and since it’s the last #SMchat I’m moderating before Affiliate Summit East 2010 so I wanted to find out the prevailing attitude of my community about affiliates in the social media sphere.

Are you an affiliate, merchant, network, in-house or outsourced program manager? Don’t know anything about affiliate programs, but want to learn more? Please share your opinion and your insights on affiliates and social media during #SMchat, Wednesday, July 14th, 2010 from 1-2P ET, and/or meet me at Affiliate Summit East 2010 (an affiliate link in honor of my affiliate friends) and let’s chat in person!

After introducing yourself and letting everyone know what your interest is in affiliate marketing (“just curious” is definitely an option here…), I’d love to know how you feel about affiliates using social media marketing. Here’s what I’m wondering:

1 ) Should affiliates be able to promote using social media? Why or why not?

2 ) Is there a social media channel that is better for affiliates to use? Which one(s)?

3 ) Can a merchant’s Terms and Conditions exclude affiliates advertising via certain social media activities? (How does that impact affiliate sign-ups, etc.?)

4 ) How should affiliates disclaim the FTC Revised Endorsement Rules in social media? Do they need to do it at all?

5 ) How do you monitor use/abuse of social media by affiliates? Are they allowed to link directly to your site similar to direct-to-merchant pay per click (DTM PPC)?

What other questions do you have? Please feel free to leave them in the comments below or ask them when you join us on 7/14/10 from 1-2P ET on the Twitter chat #SMchat – see you then!

Does Your Corporate Strategy Include Social Media?

The 6/2/10 #SMchat is all about social media and corporate strategy. I really liked this infographic from Willis Wee that shows how social media is changing business. It presents a lot of questions on how to incorporate social media into your strategic planning.
1 ) Is social media part of your corporate strategy? Why or why not?

2 ) How can you include social media as part of your corporate strategic initiatives? Which ones?

3 ) Can you afford not to include some form of social media?

4 ) What social media platforms work best for your strategy and why?

5 ) Link from @cacildanc: Is social media better at destroying value than creating it? http://bit.ly/bmkDRa – Do you agree?

6 ) Link from @leeodden: 7 Common Soc Med Mktg Problems http://bit.ly/d0razv – What problems are you finding?

7 ) Is a social media “face” (real person behind the name) part of your corporate strategy? What happens when the “face” leaves?

8 ) Link from @harvardbiz http://bit.ly/cJtqS7 talks about big budget social media – what can you do with a smaller budget?

Testing, Testing, One, Two, Three… #SMchat Topic for 05/12/10

MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2010
Photo credit: MarketingProfs

Last week, I presented along with Stephanie Miller from Return Path, at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum (MPB2B). Our topic was “Email Testing for Higher ROI” and it expanded on the testing theme that was prevalent throughout the conference. Marketing campaign testing is important to increase revenue and strengthen return on investment. In a nutshell, you need to develop a baseline/benchmark, determine your testing methodology and hypothesis, test it out, analyze the results, and refine and repeat based on your initial test results. There were several testing questions that were discussed at MPB2B and I’d like to continue those discussions at this week’s #SMchat Twitter chat.

The #SMchat topic for May 12th is Testing! What questions do you have about testing? What answers / examples would you like to share? Please join us from 1-2:30P ET on 5/12/10 to talk about testing including these conversation-starters:

Welcome…please tell us about you!
Q1 – Do you test your marketing campaigns? How often?
Q2 – What part(s) of your marketing do you test? (i.e. PPC, email, landing pages, etc.)
Q3 – Is there a better/easier web page testing program than Google Website Optimizer?
Q4 – Do you have a method to your testing or just test at random?
Q5 – Do you believe in doing similar and expanding or doing diverse tests and narrowing?
Q6 – What do you consider “statistically significant” results & why?
Q7 – What will you test next?

Any other testing questions you have? Please feel free to leave them in the comments section below!

Marketing and Web Analytics – #SMchat 4/21/10

Web Analytics
Web Analytics

I’m a numbers junkie – if there was nothing else going on in my world, I could spend all day trying to take website analytics data and make it into actionable plans to increase marketing campaign ROI, so when I needed a last-minute topic for #SMchat, I thought marketing and web analytics would be great.

I’m sure many of you have a great grasp on website analytics, but in case you don’t, the Google Analytics ‘Beginning Analytics: Interpreting and Acting on Your Data’ video on You Tube is a great place to start.

Here are the questions to prepare you for the 4/21/10 Twitter chat on marketing and web analytics:

Intro: Welcome to #SMChat – tell us all about you!

Q1: What web analytics metric do you use the most? Why?

Q2: Benefits of free vs. paid web analytics tools?

Q3: Google Analytics, Coremetrics, Omniture, WebTrends, etc. – which do you prefer & why?

Q4: Do you think social media engagement analytics are valid? RE: Avinash Kaushik’s posts on Measuring Online Engagement: What Role Does Web Analytics Play? http://bit.ly/d4dETE and Social Media Analytics: Twitter: Quantitative & Qualitative Metrics http://bit.ly/aktwtr

Q5: What’s your toughest marketing/web analytics question?

I also wanted to take a moment to thank Avinash Kaushik for his quick response to a late-night (Eastern time) query on this week’s #SMchat topic. It was truly appreciated!

Please join me and the #SMChat crew on 4/21/10 from 1-2:30P ET for answers to the questions above and feel free to suggest in the comments below anything else you’d like to see discussed! I look forward to seeing you on Twitter or on my blog!