We are happy to usher in 2015 with the first NOKlist of the year. And we’re off to an exciting start with good brand advice, a content process, a little bit of nostalgia, and a whole lot of Mayhem. Not to mention two – yep, count ‘em, two – excellent articles on optimizing your email campaigns.
So crack open that bottle of champagne you’ve been hoarding from your New Year’s celebrations and settle in to enjoy Mack Web’s Nuggets of Knowledge, January edition.
(And, just in case that’s not enough Nuggets for you, check out the compendium of last year’s NOKlists, too.)
I love Mayhem. I don’t mean that I embrace needless or willful damage or violence (that’s reserved just for the movies). I mean Allstate’s self-made archenemy. He’s the Khan to their Captain Kirk. He’s the Sauron to their noble Hobbitses. He’s the Joker to their Batman.
And he’s looking for you … on social.
In her recent post, Ashley Rodriguez provides an overview of Allstate’s latest campaign, and in the process she shines a Bat-Signal on a segment of thieves that many of us don’t think about when we’re posting online: social savvy burglars.
What I adore about this campaign is that I can actually adore it, even though I’m not an Allstate customer. Allstate’s message is meant for everyone as a PSA and for the common good – going beyond just brand promotion. That means that even people like me – an eternal loyalist to my current insurance provider – will gladly share this content with anyone who will listen (or read, or tweet, or whatever).
There’s a crucial lesson to be learned here, if it hasn’t been learned already: Consumers are not blind – we know there’s a brand attached to this content. But if it’s quality? Then we’ll enthusiastically (and possibly heroically) share it for you.
I have a major marketing/strategy/content crush (which, yes, is a thing I just made up) on Groove. Their posts are always excellent and I especially like this one about how to come up with blog post ideas.
If you’ve been following Groove at all over the past year, you know that they are a case study in how to do content marketing right. This post lets you in on how they come up with (get this) more ideas than they have time to write about. If you have ever struggled to come up with a blog post idea or if that is your very struggle right now, having a surplus of ideas probably sounds like bliss. The best part about the detailed look into the system that Groove uses is that you can very easily take parts of it (or the whole darn thing) and apply it to your blog/business.
And, bonus, the tactics in this post can do a lot more than help you come up with blog post topics. They’ll also help you understand your customers, the communities that they’re part of, and how they use your product.
If you’re looking for a model of how to be transparent or how to share your experiences in a way that provides value to your readers (this idea of value is a common thread that runs through this whole post) or if you need a gentle, loving nudge to take some risks and write about them, I’d check this out.
by Giles Thomas
Opt-in forms play an important part in the conversion process. Filling out a form is often the final step a user takes to convert, which is why we need to roll up our sleeves and ensure our opt-in forms are being all that an opt-in form can be.
But what sort of tests do you run to discover if your opt-in form could be better? This is where Giles Thomas and his post about A/B testing opt-in forms come into play. Thomas offers up 5 tests we can – and should – run on our opt-in forms. After all, every audience is unique, so you’re not going to find what works best for your users until you start testing things out.
One key piece of this blog post (and why I feel it’s “Nuggets worthy”) is that it doesn’t just give you A/B testing ideas, but it also includes a case study for each test. The case studies are awesome because you can see the A/B variations that were tested against one another and the results that ensued. I hope this post gets you excited about A/B testing and helps you make great adjustments to your opt-in forms for better conversion rates. Happy testing!
By Hannah Smith
I can’t stop thinking about the stat I read in Hannah Smith’s recent Moz post: “In Europe and the US, consumers would not care if 92% of brands ceased to exist.” Wow, tough crowd. What is it that makes the remaining 8% so special?
I think Hannah nailed it on the head with her list of three types of enduring brands:
1. Brands that have opportunities to delight customers (social, customer service, on the street)
2. Brands that give people the ability to define themselves to others
3. Brands that stand for something above and beyond their products or services
For me, the best example of this is Patagonia. They continue to delight me with their new products, retail experience, breathtaking photography and their continued determination to make a difference. And I see Hannah’s point about being able to define yourself with the company. When I see someone wearing a Patagonia product, I feel like I know something more about that person. That moment of recognition has been fostered by the brand ideals that Patagonia has been communicating all along. Anyone can make a jacket, but I look at that jacket and I see forest conservation and care for the environment and sustainable production. I see meaning behind the product. Brands that do this well will own the 8 percent.
By James Clear
In this quantitative, ROI-hungry world of marketing, not only do goals give us something to strive for, they also give us something against which to measure progress. What I love about this post from James Clear is that he’s thinking differently about goals and putting the focus on the process, not the result.
“When you’re working toward a goal, you are essentially saying, ‘I’m not good enough yet, but I will be when I reach my goal.’”
The problem with this mindset is that you’re teaching yourself to always put happiness and success off until the next milestone is achieved. ‘Once I reach my goal, then I’ll be happy. Once I achieve my goal, then I’ll be successful.'”
Working towards achieving anything is a process. This post is a gentle reminder that the value and satisfaction of your efforts isn’t really in reaching the goal, but rather what is experienced and learned along the way. I love the emphasis on the building blocks and all of the tiny pieces you’re putting into place along your journey that happen to be just as important as the end goal itself.
There’s no better way to start off the year than by looking over the year gone by. Google’s annual summary of their trending searches gives clear and interesting insight into the topics that were really on people’s minds last year. (Plus, it makes for a goosebumpingly inspirational video.) Everything from hoverboards to ebola to comets to the Olympics: Google tells us both the timely topics of 2014 and reminds us of the enduring truths of humankind. We love and we worry and we laugh and we wonder and we cheer and we idolize and we fight and we hope.
And not to cheapen the moment, but those are also the things we marketers need to remember when we fret about how to capture the audience, how to keep them engaged, how to be relevant. Because whether the Thing of the Day is a boy in a funny hat or a girl with a pack of dragons, the underlying emotions remain the same.
As marketers who live & breathe brand, it’s easy for us to fall into the trap of thinking everyone gets the brand and the problem a given product or service solves. This article is a great reminder that 1) normal people may not even know they have a problem, 2) they may not know that there’s a doodad or service that can solve that problem, and 3) they may not even know how to start looking for that doodad or service because they don’t even know they have a problem.
So how do you make them care? Get to the heart of that and you’re golden. This post by Bridget Randolph will get you on the right path, my friends.
by Megan Hannay
As a devoted reader of this NOKlist, you were looking for another article with five items related to opt-in landing pages, right? Good, I knew you were. That’s why I’ve got your back. (If you’re skimming this list and missed the first article with five items related to opt-in landing pages, scroll up to Nat’s pick for this month.)
Unbounce’s list of 5 Things You Need to Know Before You Write a Word of Email Opt-In Copy is a great precursor to the post Nat shared. It’s like the little diving board you want to jump off of before you go to the high dive. (And if you already have some email opt-in copy written, no worries, just use the A/B guide hand-in-hand with this list of questions to test out all the things. You’ll have the most super optimized opt-in page in all of the land.)
Something to note about this article: the first question is about goals. It always starts with goals. Figure that stuff out, then move forward from there. Whether optimizing copy or A/B testing visual design, figure out your goals first. But, I do like this article for more than the fact that it echoes our own mantra. It’s also super user-focused and has lots of great tips for looking at existing data. Even if you don’t have any data from an email service provider (yet…follow this path and you will soon), there are lots of things you can look at and take into consideration when figuring out what your opt-in copy should say. Check out this list of questions (and Nat’s list too), test some things, and then let us know what results you find.