Email Marketing: Start Using It as Part…

Email marketing is one of the easiest ways to communicate your products, services or expertise to both current and potential prospects as it lets you start the conversations going which help to develop the kind of relationship that eventually lead to sales.
 
Using email also allows you to deliver relevant, timely and personalised content to your contacts to ensure you’re nurturing a positive relationship, and it’s great for supporting other marketing channels – like social media – as well as warming up potentially cold leads that you plan on chasing.
 
The death of email rumour mill likes to churn out stories of email no longer having clout in the modern marketing world, but we beg to differ. While solely relying on email may not be the best course of action for businesses nowadays, email certainly still has a place in a multi-channel strategy that plays to its advantages.
 

So what are the advantages?

It’s inexpensive. 
 
Simple really – email marketing is one of the cheapest channels for keeping in touch with your customers because you can broadcast to a lot of people at a relatively low cost.
 
It’s easy to track the stats.
 
Using email marketing gives you detailed statistics about the people who engage with your email sends. Not only can you get a general overview of how your campaign does as whole with key information on how many people opened your email and clicked on a link, most email service providers let you see exactly who has opened the email, what kind of device they were using to view the email in, and which specific links they clicked.
 
All of this is invaluable for informing your content and marketing strategy as it allows you to figure out if the content of your email is reaching your intended audience and whether they’re responding in the way you’d hoped. It also helps you to plan your targeting for your next marketing efforts as you glean valuable data from what email allows you to discover.
 
It drives traffic to where you want it to go.
 
Email can act like a funnel to direct consumers to exactly where you want them to go. It could be to a specific page on your website, it could be to an important post on your blog or it could be to your social media pages to increase engagement on those channels and cross-market across different avenues. While we’re big fans of social here at TMO, things can easily get missed in endless feeds, making email a great option for ensuring your content is noticed as well as easy to come back to.
 

And what about the disadvantages?

It can be hard to be seen.
 
We know, we know – we’ve just said that email marketing can help to get your business seen, but we’re all too aware of how many emails are sent and received in a day.
Email is a saturated channel and people will have multiple email accounts for different purposes that they use daily. It’s very possible that a prospect will simply give your email a cursory glance or even delete it without seeing or retaining any of the information it contains. 
 
But helping your customers and potential customers to know that you’re there, that you exist, and that you can help them, is one of the key aims of all marketing, and so there’s a good chance that any emails you send will be – at the very least – seen arriving in a prospect’s inbox and that alone can help people remember your business when they’re ready to make a buying decision.
 
It can take time to execute.
 
Whatever business you’re in, you need to give time to planning, executing and managing your email marketing campaign – or have someone else do it for you. Design and content can be the most time-intensive part of a campaign, but once you’ve got a template designed and ready it can be much easier and quicker to prepare, test and execute your send.
 
But you’ve also got to consider optimisation – are you targeting your emails at the right people? Do you need to create two designs for different demographics? These kinds of questions and their subsequent implementation can develop through your email marketing efforts so you need to consider the time needed to execute.
 

How can email be used to generate leads?

There’s a definite balance that should be struck with your online marketing efforts, and knowing where to invest your time and energy will come through trial and analysis, but there’s definitely room for some email marketing for most businesses in supporting the generation of leads. At the very least email marketing gives you valuable data in order to nurture the buyer journey and enhance the relationships you have with current customers to encourage sales and increase loyalty.
 
Overall, email campaigns can be a great tool in your marketing kit to boost the effectiveness of your campaigns and generally provide additional support to your other marketing efforts. While email campaigns can have their drawbacks and limitations, for the most part the benefits the channel has for supporting and developing your marketing outreach are worth making it part of your multi-channel strategy.
 
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Net Neutrality: Ensuring a Level Playing Field

In a landmark victory for proponents of internet freedom, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on and passed strict new rules to regulate broadband Internet service and ensure a level playing field of net neutrality for American homes and businesses.
 
A press release from the FCC told how the: “FCC has long been committed to protecting and promoting an Internet that nutures freedom of speech and expression, supports innovation and commerce, and incentivizes expansion and investment by America’s broadband providers”.
 
In a 3-2 vote in favour of the new rules, the release showed that: “the Commission—once and for all—enacts strong, sustainable rules, grounded in multiple sources of legal authority, to ensure that Americans reap the economic, social, and civic benefits of an Open Internet today and into the future.”
 

What’s the deal with net neutrality?

In basic terms, net neutrality rules create an open and free Internet, ensuring that all information and services online should have equal access to the Internet.
 
Net neutrality has been a subject that has been debated for a while. Without net neutrality, certain sites – in particular, those that could afford to pay a premium – would be given preferential treatment by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), by being allow to run at the speed they currently run (but marketed as “fast track”).
 
Sites that weren’t able to pay the price of premium would get their site speeds throttled, making it unfair to many smaller businesses. This would adversely affect their business because let’s face it, no one likes a slow-loading website, meaning many users end up going with faster sites simply because consumers don’t like to wait.
 
Without net neutrality, ISPs would also have the ability to discriminate. This means that sites that meet their agenda would be given preferential treatment, and those identified as competitors or producing content which goes against their agenda could be again throttled into (near) oblivion.
 
Like consumers, web sites, video- and audio-streaming sites—as well as other web services—also pay ISPs to be on the Internet. They pay their ISP for nice, super-fast speeds so that everyone who wants to access their content gets a nice, fast experience.
 
As a consumer, you have an expectation to be able to reach any content provider at the speeds for which you’ve paid. Many consumers opt to pay for fast speeds so they can stream videos or online streaming services—such as Netflix—at a good quality, or to just have a generally fast web-browsing experience. Net neutrality means that consumers get the access they’ve paid for to all—not just some—of the online sites and services at the speeds for which those sites and services have paid their ISPs for access.
 
Essentially, ISP’s wanted to be able charge the sites and services a fee to let consumers through to their service. If the sites and services didn’t pay that fee, then consumers would get only slow access to those sites and services. Net neutrality says that the ISP cannot slow down access any content providers.
 

So what does the ruling mean?

The FCC ruling means that broadband providers will be banned from creating any of the so-called “fast lanes”, or blocking or slowing traffic online, ensuring that net neutrality is upheld. The Internet has always been neutral, and this FCC approval ensures that it stays that way by preventing unfair practices from stifling competition.
 
The FCC also voted to adopt a “general conduct rule” that will give them to authority to monitor future developments of the Internet and to challenge unforeseen barriers broadband providers might create as the Internet develops.
 
It’s also reclassifying Internet service as a Title II telecommunications service, a regulatory designation akin to that of a utility, essentially declaring the Internet as a public utility and ensuring equal access. This ruling will “preserve the Internet as a Platform for Innovation, Free Expression and Economic Growth”, helping to give start-ups and smaller, local businesses a chance of success by ensuring access and keeping rates the same no matter who they are or what they’re using it for.
 
It’s certainly not the end of the matter as far as ISPs are concerned; they’re certainly not happy about how the vote went down. Plus, the 3-2 vote means that the FCC itself is still somewhat divided on the issue.
 
For now, though, the ruling remains a historic move in ensuring the Internet remains an open forum for everyone, with thanks and congratulations coming from all corners of the web, including POTUS himself for all of the help that Redditors gave to the cause:
 
obama-net-neutrality-thanks
What are your thoughts on the matter? Let’s start a conversation over on Twitter!

INFOGRAPHIC: The Customer Acquisition Journey

Customer acquisition is essentially the process of acquiring new customers or converting existing prospects into new customers for a business. While it boils down to a fairly simple concept, the actual techniques involved in keeping the costs low, engaging with relevant audiences, acquiring high amounts of the right customers and continually examining the best strategies for improvement make the whole process much more complex.

Because improving customer acquisition is one of the foremost challenges a business can face, it’s important to understand the entirety of the journey of customer acquisition. That’s why we pulled together an overview of The Customer Acquisition Journey for our latest infographic.

Realising how each step plays into the next as part of the process should help to develop a better understanding of how decisions made at any point in the journey can have a great deal of impact on the effectiveness of your customer acquisition strategy.

Engaging with customers is the primary focus of customer acquisition, and the ways in which to do this will be unique for each and every business depending on budget, channels available for communication, the tools available for measurement and the ability to analyse and continue developing the strategy.

Having the skills to measure, monitor and understand the acquisition journey are key to successfully optimising the ways in which you acquire new customers.

If you’d like more information or support with your customer acquisition and lead generation strategies, get in touch with our team who will be happy to help.

customer-aquistion-journey-infographic

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Meet Our New Account Executive, Becky Excell!

As part of our continued growth, The Media Octopus is pleased to welcome the newest member of our Client Services team, Becky Excell, as our new Account Executive.

After graduating with a First Class degree in Business Management with a strong focus on marketing, Becky completed a PR internship in London before deciding to move North to the business hub that is Manchester.

On her new role, Becky said: “The Media Octopus caught my eye from the start; an agency with the ambition to expand really excited me. I’ve always believed that having a high-quality relationship with a client is essential to the success of any project an agency takes on and I cannot wait to become a part of the team that already does this so successfully.

Becky’s appointment highlights the pace of expansion and growing strength of the team here at The Media Octopus which saw our head of agency, Richard Wood, win Digital Entrepreneur of the Year at last month’s Mancoolian Awards.

Richard Wood said: “Given the rapid growth in both clients and staff, it’s incredibly important for us to make sure the quality of service remains for our clients, both new and old. Expanding our Client Services team is essential and Becky is the perfect fit.

Outside of work, Becky founded her own gluten-free blog, and has launched a music blog and fashion brand which she promotes through social media.

We’re thrilled to have Becky as a valuable member of the Client Services team as we continue to provide innovative customer acquisition strategies for each of our clients.

The Internet of Things: Where is Tech…

The Internet of Things, or IoT as it’s known for short, is becoming a big trend in the world of digital and tech. According to Google Trends, the amount of searches and news related to it has shot up this past year as the world of connected devices continues to grow and develop:

What is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things can be challenging to define precisely, but is in essence a “computing concept that describes a future where everyday physical objects will be connected to the Internet and be able to identify themselves to other devices”, according to Techopedia.

It’s a significant concept due to the fact that “an object that can represent itself digitally becomes something greater than the object by itself. No longer does the object relate just to you, but is now connected to surrounding objects and database data. When many objects act in unison, they are known as having ‘ambient intelligence.’

The idea behind the Internet of Things is that we become a society which has an emphasis on user-empowerment, greater user-friendliness, and more sensible and efficient services which will be enabled through everyday objects which are capable of responding to and recognising individuals in a seamless, unobtrusive and invisible way.

The Growing Ratio

According to an infographic from Cisco, during 2008 the number of things connected to the Internet exceeded the number of people on earth.

By 2020 there will be 50 billion connected devices, and the global market IoT market is predicted to hit $7.1 trillion as we develop an affinity for round-the-clock connectivity.

It’s not just smartphones and tablets that count, it’s all sorts of modern technologies:

Wearable Technology

wearable-tech

Wearable tech is set to to top a million in sales this Christmas. Fitness gadgets such as the likes of FitBit have been on the market for a while now, allowing users to monitor and track their activity throughout the day, but it goes further than simply wearing the wristband. You can branch out to a set of smart scales which wirelessly syncs to your online tools to see your progress over time, integrate it with other apps and services such as MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper or Weight Watchers and watch your data pool grow.

And who could ignore Google Glass, the optical head-mounted display that offers over 50 apps including search, social syncs to Google+, Facebook, Twitter and more, and a variety of navigational and fitness apps? Simply speak and Glass will deliver. It’s still its early stages and is arguably more fun than functional with some kinks to sort out, but as the first of its kind it’s got the promise of becoming the next big thing in modern technology.

Home Automation & Security

home-automation

Back in August this year it was announced that Samsung acquired smart-home firm SmartThings, a leading open platform for the smart home and consumer Internet of Things.  Gadgets that be incorporated into your SmartThings network include moisture sensors which alert you if there’s a leak, door sensors and locks which allow you to remotely lock, unlock and monitor all exterior doors using your smartphone, and being able to automatically trigger the thermostat to turn up and down when you leave and return. You can even sync it up to security cameras and monitor them remotely.

Meanwhile, earlier this year Google acquired Nest, propelling them into the home automation space with Nest’s signature Learning Thermostat which learns its owner’s behaviour and routines and adjusts accordingly. Using a mobile device, homeowners can also check and adjust the thermostats settings on the go.

While home automation is nothing new, only in the last couple of years has it become accessible to the average homeowner, contributing to and made possible by the growing Internet of Things.

Automotive Technology

AUTOMOTIVE-technology

In the past few years, in-car technology as progressed rapidly. According to a Telefónica’s Connected Car Industry report, the number of vehicles with built-in connectivity will increase from 10% of the overall market in 2013 to a whopping 90% by 2020.

Connected cars will pave the way for revolutionary ways for drivers to be able to access and check the performance and health of their vehicle in real time, have integrated navigation services, and allow people to seamlessly access entertainment  services such as Spotify as well as other information services  as part of their driving experience.

Remote access to their car via their smartphone or tablet will improve security by giving notifications if it’s unexpectedly moved. Even Google has formed the Open Automotive Alliance to bring it’s Android mobile operating systems into cars and speed up the use of mobile technology on the roads.

Digital Health

HEALTH

Advances in the field of health technology are perhaps the most impressive, as they really get to the heart of the Internet of Things’ connecting people to the things around them for maximum benefit.

Parents can sleep a little easier with the help of the Mimo Baby Monitor, which sends them real-time information about their baby’s breathing, skin temperature, sleeping position, activity level and even their sleep data straight to their smartphones.

At the same time, the company AdhereTech have created smart, wireless pill bottles which collect and send adherence data in real-time – if a patient misses a dose, they can receive customisable alerts through automated phone calls, text messages and more to remind them to take their medication.

Other services such as Neura are aiming to transform “your Internet of Things from connected to smart”, allowing users to connect their devices to communicate with each other – allowing, for instance, for a connected glucometer to have access to their activity, sleep and blood pressure information – all in the name of acting on your behalf to better your daily life through automation.

The Future Internet of Things

The advances made in the past few years have made the Internet of Things less a case of what and why, and more a case of when and how. The future looks set to be more streamlined, more responsive and more innovative than ever. Technologies that you’d never image you’d ever even want or need are now being developed and opened up in attractive ways.

The amount of data that will be transferred through these smart devices will be beyond imaginable, but the early outlook is that it will help more people to take control of their data and use it for their own use and benefit. It’s all playing with big data, and there’s plenty of it out there.

Early adopters of many of these technologies are sure to be a niche market, but as the technologies advance and the niche becomes the norm, who knows what we’ll see ourselves connected to in the next few years.

We’d love to hear your opinions on the IoT. Are you ready to take the leap with these new technologies or are you reserving your judgement until a later date? Have you already invested any of the new innovations? How are they working out? Drop us a comment below, or tweet us over @themediaoctopus!

 

 

How Brands Made the Most of Social…

In case you hadn’t noticed the aisles packed full of cauldrons, masks and “scary” treats, Halloween came upon us (as it always does!) at the end of last month. Much like we were for Father’s Day, we were eagerly keeping an eye out for how brands chose to capitalise on the spooky festivities as part of their social media marketing campaigns.

Here are our favourite efforts this year:

Dos Equis

Dos Equis Halloween Most Interesting Man in the World

Dos Equis struck marketing gold with their The Most Interesting Man in the World marketing campaign which has been running now since 2006, with his feats forming an endless marketing strategy formed on the basis that “He is a man rich in stories and experiences, much the way the audience hopes to be in the future. Rather than an embodiment of the brand, The Most Interesting Man is a voluntary brand spokesperson: he and Dos Equis share a point of view on life that it should be lived interestingly.” He’s even got a meme dedicated to him.

This year, The Most Interesting Man in the World is hosting a masquerade ball, and we’re all invited. Well, we’re all invited insomuch as we’re all invited to take part in the online interactive masquerade and enter the sweepstakes to win a trip to an actual masquerade ball in New Orleans.

In between the masquerade features, the Dos Equis team have been sharing The Most Interesting Man’s Halloween themed feats, including “When he walks through ghosts, they get goose bumps”, his successfully concocting “love potion number 10”, and successfully negotiating “a peace between werewolves and vampires” over on their Facebook page. Meanwhile fans have been commenting with their own opinion of his feats along with a whole host of Halloween costume tributes to the man himself.

Dos Equis show that you don’t need to go full-spook with your marketing around Halloween. They’ve successfully captured the season while sticking to their brand and message and we love it. Particularly his opinion on ghost costumes:

Oreo

oreo on Instagram Halloween

Oreo aren’t one to shy away from getting involved with current events with their marketing campaigns and they’ve gone above and beyond for Halloween this year. Over on their Instagram, they’ve been sharing a variety of All Hallows’ Eve themed recipes, images and videos. They’ve also introduced a new Oreo Labs Instagram account – when viewed in the mobile app, the images reveal the Oreo Laboratorium where all of the haunted experiments have been going down in a range of stop motion animations starring a group of little monsters named “Nomsters”:

Watch the rare footage first-hand as a nomster becomes a nomster, live from The @OreoLab. #Halloween #OreoLab

Een video die is geplaatst door OREO (@oreo) op

Their Instagram efforts have been a great way to continue to market the brand – they’ve shown how Oreos can be used in a variety of Halloween-themed snacks and treats and played around with the social media platform and it’s ability to engage visually with their Oreo Lab. Good stuff Oreo!

Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s have branched out this Halloween and created the Spooky Speaker app to bring costumes to life. The free app contains a range of spooky voices which – when the phone is placed to your mouth – will move in time with your voice. It also allows you to record an 8 second message which can be played back in the voice of the Halloween character of your choice including Spellda the witch, Rottie the zombie, and Pierce the vampire.  They’ve been pushing it out on their Twitter account along with promoting recipes from the Sainsbury’s mag, sharing tips on hosting a ‘horribly good’ Halloween party, and showcasing their pumpkin carving skills . 

It’s aimed at kids, but we still had fun playing around with the app in The Media Octopus office, and it’s nice to see Sainsbury’s embracing a broader range of digital, and more importantly the world of mobile, by releasing the app.

Ford

Ford Halloween Carwash Prank

It wouldn’t be Halloween without some tricks as well as treats, and that’s exactly what Ford decided to unleash on unsuspecting passengers going through a car wash as part of their Go Further campaign.

What do you get when your suds turn scary? A screaming clean Ford“, they announced on their Tumblr, with a link to the video which reveals them convincing the passengers to get an innocent car wash before dialing up the prank-o-meter to go further:

It’s the stuff of nightmares.

It’s always great to see brands seeking out creative social media opportunities to enhance their marketing strategies. Why not give us a tweet over @themediaoctopus if you’ve seen any other brands doing great things with social this Halloween!

Mancoolian Awards 2014

The hotly anticipated Mancoolian Awards 2014 finally arrived last night and The Media Octopus team were out in full force to support our two nominees: Social Media Manager, Pamela Bustard, for Employee of the Year, and Head of Agency, Richard Wood, for Digital Entrepreneur of the Year.

We arrived at the Imperial War Museum, an incredible venue to host such a venerable event, to toasts of champagne and canapés, and watched as swathes of Manchester’s business elite filled the room in their evening garb and with high spirits.

The Mancoolian Awards are hosted by Downtown in Business, and serve to celebrate the individuals who have helped to make the Manchester city region such a great place to do business. We were incredibly proud that in our first year, the efforts of Pamela and Rich were recognised by the nominations, and last night was a great way to continue our first birthday celebrations from last week.

A Winning Team

Although Pamela was pipped at the post for the Employee of the Year award, she certainly is our employee of the year and has done an amazing job of making our social media team rock with her dedication and commitment.

We are hugely pleased to say that Rich beat out the stiff competition to come out top as the official Mancoolian Digital Entrepreneur of the Year award! As great a Head of Agency as there could be, we’re incredibly proud that his efforts of taking a multi-channel agency, bringing our great team together and leading us from strength to strength were recognised in such style and celebration.

media-octopus-team-mancoolian

Champagne was on hand to celebrate both of our outstanding nominees and all of The Media Octopus team’s achievements in the past year. To end the evening, we couldn’t resist grabbing the fancy dress items for a few team photos to ensure it remained a night to remember.

media-octopus-adam-jennie-pam-rich-chris
media-octopus-kate-jord-leith
media-octopus-team-mancoolian-drop

Well done to the winners!

A big well done to all of this years’ winners – here’s the list of those who were also successful on the night!

  • Sexy Networker Male 2014: Simon Calderbank – Big Knows
  • Sexy Networker Female 2014: Lucy Noone – Beautiful Drinks
  • Employee of the Year 2014: Sophie Southworth – Journey9
  • Best Business Development Manager of the Year 2014: Amy Towne – Cube3
  • Best Legal Entrepreneur of the Year 2014: Steve Kuncewicz – Bermans
  • Best Financial Advisor of the Year 2014: Peter Donnelly – Baker Tilly
  • Best Property Professional of the Year 2014: Will Lewis – OBI
  • Best Communications Personality of the Year 201: Sam Jones – Tunafish Media
  • Best Digital Entrepreneur of the Year 2014: Richard Wood – The Media Octopus
  • Woman of the Year 2014: Kate Vokes – Bruntwood
  • Man of the Year 2014: Thom Hetherington – Holden Media
  • Business Personality of the Year 2014: Gary Neville – Hotel Football
  • Tony Award 2014: Tim Bacon – Living Ventures
  • Chairman’s Award 2014: Elliott Mueller – Metronet UK
  • CEO Award 2014: John Leach – Winning Pitch

Mancoolian Awards 2014, you were brilliant, and you can bet we’ll be back next year for more!

We’d also like to say a huge thanks to Sales Executive Amelia McLeod, Chairman Michael Taylor and founder member and Chief Executive, Frank McKenna – amazing work guys!

Infographic | Paid, Owned and Earned Media:…

As the marketing and digital spaces continue to change as social media and online PR gain even more significance, processes of budgeting, reporting and investing in media have to adapt in order to target where target audiences are spending the majority of their time.

This is where distinguishing between paid, earned and owned media becomes all the more important, as all offer valuable opportunities to influence customers. Although these types of media aren’t new, it’s the prominence of and approach to owned and earned media which has changed, challenging the more traditional paid media.

All three media types are crucial for a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. The ratio of focus, time and resources will depend on the business, industry and target audience but all three have a place in the modern digital landscape.

In order to help you identify how each can fit into your marketing activities, we created this infographic. It highlights the key differences between paid, owned and earned media, gives direction as to who they each best target, and their key features for success.

The Media Octopus Paid Owned and Earned Media Infographic

Using media formulas via social media

Consider that advertising has changed from an approach which was heavily focused on paid media driving marketing initiatives to one which incorporates additional marketing channels, both on- and offline.

These days, owned and earned media are vital to campaigns, working together to help spread brand messages across various devices, screens and media where audiences are spending their time. These two media types, merged with paid, are in turn creating media hybrid patterns: Earned + Paid, Owned + Paid, Earned + Owned, plus all three working together.

Here are some examples of these ‘formulas’ in action in relation to social media channels:

  • Extend your content’s reach
    Create blog content and share it on your social media channels then, to extend its reach, make it a sponsored post to encourage wider visibility.
  • Maximise the success of downloads
    Invite your customers or loyal community to share ideas and tips for an eBook on your website. Present on SlideShare, then distribute the eBook to contributors individually via email – likely to be shared via their own networks and reach a wider audience.
  • Encourage social fans via discounts
    Create Facebook-only discounts so customers have to Like your company page to use it – they are exposed to your brand. This is the start of an online relationship which could develop into brand loyalty.
  • Get influential industry people on board
    Invite (and pay) influencers to write articles or features for your company blog, then amplify this through social media, to generate mentions and wider reach.

Being more aware of the distinction between the three media types can help to guide your digital marketing strategy and actions for future campaigns, while assisting in content creation and curation. By combining all three, you’ll have an overall approach with a wider reach to help target the right people.

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