March 21, 2013

9 Ways to Assess Blogs Reach, credibility and influence are the ultimate objectives of social media marketing. Reaching the right audience in ways that resonate, prompt viral distribution and drive action are the reason we get out of bed in the morning. In the scramble for attention, credibility and ad dollars the social channels jockey to make their cases. One has volume and global scale. Another has real-time immediacy; a third touts its influence and opinion leadership. A fourth is the playground of the too-cool-for-school crowd. Enter Technorati, who replaced the annual state of the blogosphere study, with a new report titled “The 2013 Digital Influence Report” based on data drawn from its blog network with a reach of 130 million unique users per month and a survey that included 6000 influencers, 1200 random consumers and 150 marketers. Evidently 75 percent of digital ad dollars are flowing to display, search and video but attention and influence are being accumulated by influential bloggers who get a measly 11 percent of the pie. “Where brands are spending is not fully aligned with how and where consumers are seeing value being influenced,” the report concludes. Recognizing the practical difficulties of creating, measuring and buying blog networks, the report claims that “when making overall purchase decisions for consumers blogs trail only behind retail and brand sites.” Furthermore “blogs were found to be the fifth-most trustworthy source overall for information on the Internet” trailing news sites, Facebook, retail sites and YouTube. Self interest aside, nobody disputes the role of blogs or their potential influence on consumers. The question is how to separate signals from noise and how to assess genuine influence from hyperbole. Consider ten criteria to assess the potential value of influential bloggers. What is a blogger’s base audience day-in and day-out? Do they routinely generate significant buzz and virality? Is the buzz about what they think and say or about the blogger as a personality/guru/speaker? Can you immediately identify their insight or expertise? Do they generate original content or endlessly re-tweet others’? Have they written a book, done a TED talk or produced significant data? Are they independent or part of a group? Are they overtly or clandestinely supported or sponsored by someone? Are they looking for freebies and handouts?
Master Mobile E-mail Mobility has transformed e-mail. Unfortunately too many brands haven’t kept pace. As a result, they squander the power and impact of the most ubiquitous and most effective digital communications channel because messages don’t render properly or links drive users to pages that can’t be read or properly interacted with. Ninety percent of e-mail subscribers access the same e-mail account on multiple devices. Between 15 and 65 percent of e-mails are opened on these devices, according to the guys at emailmonday, often at different locations and with expectations than before. Savvy marketers are using “sniffers” to identify the universe of devices and/or turning to responsive design to automatically adapt and resize e-mail creative and technology for maximum impact. Everybody has to factor in basic changes. Mobile screens have different dimensions, usually smaller and narrower. You have to put the most important thing up top. Mobile users are on the go. They scan. They spend less time per e-mail so they need to get to the point faster and need different response mechanisms. You are getting partial attention and the flick of a thumb rather than a full screen, two focused eyes and ten fingers or a mouse for response agility. Your call to action must be clear and BIG. Increase the point size of text so it can be seen in any light and from any angle. Buttons, links and other response mechanisms need to be presented early and enlarged to account for fat fingers and finger faults. Put a link to your mobile website in the pre-header to offer an option to read the e-mail in the browser. Be sure that any destination is equally mobile friendly. Think about the entire experience from transmission/reception to interaction to destination/desired action. If you break any part of the chain, you essentially dump your customer or prospect. Too many e-mails opened on mobile devices take customers to pages that don’t work or look awful when they get there. Just kiss off those customers. The expectation of frictionless mobility combined with an in-the-moment intensity of interest amplifies the emotional reaction to your message. When it works its pure brand mojo. When it doesn’t your brand takes a bigger hit than if your e-mail doesn’t work right on a desktop or laptop. The good news is that simple planning and fixes allow you to maximize customer satisfaction.

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

The Typepad Team

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