Dream Big: an Article Series e-Book for Goal Achievement

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Now is the perfect time for reflection and goal setting. But how big should our goals be? And once we’ve established these goals, how can we implement steps to achieve them? We all need a little help …

Now is the perfect time for reflection and goal setting. But how big should our goals be? And once we’ve established these goals, how can we implement steps to achieve them? We all need a little help and encouragement, which is why we’re introducing our new series: Dream Big.

With the “Dream Big” article series e-Book, you can expect to be given the tools needed to meet everyday challenges your business faces. Propel your brand forward with data-driven insights and leave behind the days of mediocre reports and convenience metrics. Our blog, Asking Smarter Questions is here to help you achieve what could be.

View + download our other e-books: http://ow.ly/iZxgY

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  • 1. TABLE OF CONTENTS 03 PREFACE 05 GOAL 1: REDUCE WASTE IN MY MARKETING SPEND 08 GOAL 2: EXPAND VISIBILITY TO MY TARGET AUDIENCE 011 GOAL 3: OPTIMIZE MARKETING + WEBSITE TO INCREASE BUSINESS SUCCESS OUTCOMES014 GOAL 4: USE BIG DATA TO PREDICT BUSINESS TRENDS016 GOAL 5: TO BETTER ALIGN MY BUSINESS WITH CONSUMER NEEDS019 GOAL 6: MEASURE IMPACT OF OFFLINE EVENTS + ADS022 GOAL 7: RECRUIT AND RETAIN THE BEST TALENT025 GOAL 8: CONVERT USERS ACROSS ALL SCREENS 2
  • 2. Dream Big, Dream Smart In our new series Dream Big, you will learn many ways to establish goals, reflect and measure those goals, gain encouragement and also how to implement the steps to achieve what you dream. So start dreaming… you have a lot left to accomplish. We all have dreams. Some of us share our dreams and some of us hold them tight. I personally feel in order to achieve a dream you need to let it flourish by sharing it with others. Dreams can be about personal matters or business, but at the end of the day, dreams are really goals. Dreams and goals are both something at which we want to excel, something we hope to conquer, achieve or overcome. In this series, we urge you to Dream Big because stretching the limits is good for us all.“Stretching the And you may find yourself in very rare company without having even arrived. limits is good for us all.” For me, dreams are inspiring. I may have many of them, but I only set out to achieve the ones about which I am truly passionate. I aspire to do things that involve taking a risk and pushing personal limits. These dreams can live in both soft and hard metrics of measurement. For example: Soft Metrics to me would be becoming a better husband and father on a daily basis by actually taking conscious steps to listen, spend time, turn off the iPhone and just play with Thomas the Train. Another example is spending more time at work focused on how to be a better communicator versus relying on what may have worked in the past. These aren’t able to be measured against numbers; in fact, they may never be truly achieved in the sense that you continually work toward them or they have an indefinite timetable. On the other hand, Hard Metrics are like paying off my home, getting down to my “playing weight” of 195 or growing revenue at my company by 30%. My progress toward these can easily be measured against hard numbers and usually have finite timetables. Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 3 Back to Top
  • 3. Dream Big, Dream Smart (Continued) Given all the dreams we could have, I often try to remember and reset to ask the question – “What is the one thing that could make the most difference?” With this question in mind, I will give you two simple steps that are helpful in setting Dream Big goals and working toward achieving them. Make your dreams an adventure. Dreams should have some sense of not knowing if you can get there. A bit of a struggle is good for us. In fact, I’d argue that if the dream was too easy to achieve, then you haven’t set a BIG enough dream. Now, don’t go set a dream to become a billionaire. Sure, it’s a big, big dream—and you might even “I’ve never had a be able to achieve it—but what I’m talking about are dreams that willpiece of advice that positively impact your business and your life. Becoming a billionairecost me too much.” might achieve one of those without the other. Have some risk in your dreams, but also have a way that others can help hold you accountable to them. In our last series Dollars & Sense, I wrote about “Staying Ahead” and accountability is part of that, but remember to have an adventure and enjoy working toward the goal. Ask & Seek Advice. I’ve never had a piece of advice that cost me too much. It’s simple: don’t be a big shot and pretend you don’t need the help. Also don’t be too afraid about what the person may say when you ask. We all need help. In fact, most people are happy to provide it and sometimes in the oddest of places and circumstances if you seek it. There is a great TED talk called The Art of Asking – take 10 minutes and watch it. Please enjoy our series Dream Big, which will hopefully help you achieve your hard and soft metrics goals for your business and even for yourself. If at first you don’t succeed, make your dream BIGGER. Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 4 Back to Top
  • 4. Goal 1: Reduce Waste in My Marketing Spend Marketing budgets are full of wasteful spend. Especially with the heightened popularity of social media, companies are spending time and money without seeing a hard number ROI. Agencies are not providing adequate measurement to their clients and the result is wasted spend. Improving efficiency in your marketing budget begins with reducing this waste. The goal is ultimately to hold your budgets more accountable, and luckily, there are many ways to do this. I will go over a few of these tactics now: 1. Enhance tracking capabilities When you sit down at a marketing meeting and decide your strategy,“It’s imperative to the most important component is how you are going to measure success. “Brand awareness” is difficult to measure, so it’s imperative have goals that to have goals that have trackable action plans. Brand awareness is have trackable lovely, but if you supplement this intangible “awareness” with key performance indicators, your campaigns will be able to show their action plans.” true return on investment. In order to measure, you must first implement the correct tracking. How are you going to tell who called after seeing your ad on Google or Bing? How are you going to assess what platforms drive the most conversions on your website? How can you tell if someone submitted their resume on your careers page because they saw a tweet from your brand? Answering these questions is easier than you think, as there are tactics to measure almost any online action taken by a user. Implementing the correct analytics + tracking code is the first step you must take in order to best assess your digital marketing initiatives. 2. Optimize toward business goals Once you have implemented tracking code + analytics across all of your marketing initiatives, it will then be time to assess what is succeeding and what is failing. Optimization is an everyday practice. Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 5 Back to Top
  • 5. Goal 1: Recruit and Retain the Best Talent (Continued) That’s right; you should be optimizing campaigns constantly. If you are running a remarketing display campaign, check to see which ads and which platforms perform the best. Find what actions users are most likely to complete on your website according to these variables. Do not accept visits; optimize toward your most important conversions. This will help keep your marketing focused on driving your business and will help reduce wasteful spend. Refining your target audience might mean garnering fewer transfers to your site, but these visitors will be more likely to complete the action you want. If you have trouble staying focused in the midst of hundreds of metrics, try writing your overarching business goals on a post-it. If you are pitched“Marketing insights a flashy marketing initiative that is not measuring success of one or can improve more of these goals, reject it. practically every 3. Leverage marketing data to improve every aspect of your business facet of your business.” When we learn things from marketing campaigns, we tend to think it terms of applying them to future marketing initiatives. While this is a standard practice, we like to think of marketing data as a vehicle to drive operational change. Many companies keep their marketing, research + development, sales and creative teams separate. However, marketing insights can be applied to improve practically every facet of your business. A simple example of this would be if you noticed that transfers from paid search campaigns for running shoes were highest in the beginning of the year when New Years resolutions were still in tact. By applying this small insight, you could predict and better fulfill manufacturing, shipping + sales needs. Now imagine applying insights like: people living in the South are more likely to run outside and wear down their soles faster, which means their purchase cycle is shorter; or that people who live in a 300 mile radius of the warehouse receive their shoe shipment faster and are more likely to positively review your company online as a result. Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 6 Back to Top
  • 6. Goal 2: Recruit and Retain the Best Talent (Continued) These are just a few ways in which you can reduce wasteful marketing spend. Dare to get granular. Do not settle for convenience metrics– even on social media. Stick to marketing initiatives that accomplish business goals, not just marketing goals. Do not participate in any initiative without having a tracking + analysis plan in place. I can tell that your brain is already burning with ideas, so go get started! “Dare to get granular.” Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 7Back to Top
  • 7. Goal 2: Expand Visibility to My Target Audience We often talk to businesses that want to expand their visibility online, but are not sure what platforms accomplish this best for the smallest price tag. The truth is that there are tons of ways to improve your visibility and reach your target audience, but you have to evaluate the ones that work best for your company’s goals and are most efficient at connecting you with your customer. Here are some of the best ways to expand your visibility online. But before you get started, be sure that all initiatives align with your overall business goals and have an effective measurement plan in place: Where the Consumers Are “Be sure that all First you must assess who your ideal consumer is and where these people are most active. Chances are, they use search engines. Butinitiatives align with where else do they go to look for information? If they’re on social your overall channels, what platforms are they accessing most? If it’s a tech audience or tends to skew younger, there’s a good chance they are business goals.” active on Twitter. Older business professionals? Look into LinkedIn. Does your audience skew female? A Pinterest strategy could be worth developing. Is your audience a part of a niche? Get your brand involved on industry-specific forums or within blogs. If your brand is particularly great at developing video content, don’t forget YouTube. Here are some ways to capitalize on these platforms to increase reach + visibility: Paid Search Marketing As we have already mentioned, most active Internet users utilize search engines, with Google comprising about 70% of the market share. Therefore, these are not bad places for your business to show up. The trick is to finding the most efficient way to utilize paid search campaigns. In other words, it should pay for itself. Here are some ways to cut the cost on paid search ads but still reach a relevant audience: Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 8 Back to Top
  • 8. Goal 2: Expand Visibility to My Target Audience (Continued) 1. Match types 16% of Google searches are unique (have never been searched for before). Therefore, it is important that you utilize different match types that show the ad that is most relevant according to the search query. 2. Content Create ads with content that cater to not only different queries, but different demographics and locations to increase relevancy. “Optimizing the 3. Extensionssearch engine does From directions to click-to-call to product extensions, these are a great not mean gaming way to get ahead of the competition and get the sale or lead. the system” 4. Build out the long-tail Long-tail keywords are simply more descriptive (and long, go figure), which usually indicates that the consumer is lower in the purchase funnel. The times your ads will show may be fewer, but these people are more likely to convert. Search Engine Optimization SEO is another way to become more visible in the search engines. It is very different from paid search because it is a lengthier process and deals with organic results on the search engine result page. Optimizing the search engine does not mean gaming the system, but making sure that you are being proactive about developing fresh content and links, which increase authority and relevancy. Most SEO services encompass two distinct routes: on-site and off-site. Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 9 Back to Top
  • 9. Goal 2: Expand Visibility to My Target Audience (Continued) On-site SEO ensures that the content, structure and navigation of your site (as well as your internal linking strategy) is easy for the search engine to crawl, read and interpret so that each of your pages can be indexed correctly. Off-site SEO develops a linking strategy that helps your site gain authority. Social Communication“Digital exposure Social media is considered a “no-brainer” for many marketers and companies. But the truth is that in order for your company to can fluctuate be successful on social channels (e.g. garnering visits, attention), within minutes” your company has to have something to say that is share-worthy. Developing a content strategy is imperative here. Staying consistent with updates and maintaining a brand’s voice is critical in social channel management. There is also the element of social advertising, which marries the function of paid search to the virality of social media. The targeting can incorporate the standard demographic and geographic modifiers, but can also encompass interests or lifestyle, which can be helpful to some brands. Ongoing Optimization How might ongoing optimization of your campaigns and initiatives keep you visible? Simply put, your competition may not be doing it. Digital exposure can fluctuate within minutes, so it is important to be constantly optimizing messaging, content, links, paid search ads, etc. in order to stay in front of your targeted audience. Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 10 Back to Top
  • 10. GOAL 3: OPTIMIZE MARKETING + WEBSITE TO INCREASE BUSINESS SUCCESS OUTCOMES One goal we consistently hear from potential and current clients is minimizing cart abandonment and increasing conversions on their websites. Conversion optimization has many facets and can be different for various business models and largely depends on what the brand’s predominant key performance indicators (KPIs) are. The first step is determining your website’s KPIs. Adjusting your KPIs may be in order. KPIs are actions taken on the website that enable you to assess engagement + sales on your site. For eCommerce sites, the most important KPI is generally a consumer purchasing a good. However, for sites like a city’s Visitor’s Bureau, “Which actions on the most important KPI may be completing a form asking for more information about the region. All of these KPIs can be monetized and your site are the ranked by importance, but it is first absolutely necessary to decidelargest priority or of which actions on your site are the largest priority or of the most value; then you are able to optimize your website toward them. the most value?” The second step is assessing your collected data. There are two authoritative sources of data related to your website. One is the marketing and ads that are directing users there. The second is your on-site analytics. They each can reveal information about what your user wants and may help you draw conclusions about what your site is lacking. Marketing: Are your ads clear and relevant? If optimizing toward a purchase, list pricing, inventory, shipping and other availability details that could potentially filter customers, bringing in only those interested in purchasing after being given all of the information. In other words, an ad that reads: “Men’s Northface Jackets Now Available” may bring in more clicks, but an ad that reads “Men’s Black Northface Jackets – Now $89.99 may ensure a higher conversion rate. In the first example, a customer might click on the ad and get to the website and realize that the black jacket is out of stock or that it is (in Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 11 Back to Top
  • 11. GOAL 3: OPTIMIZE MARKETING + WEBSITE TO INCREASE BUSINESS SUCCESS OUTCOMES (Continued) their opinions) overpriced. They click back to the search engine and begin again, leaving your site with a higher bounce rate. Website: You’re examining website actions and user behavior in order to determine where the hang-ups may be. What is preventing these people from purchasing with you? Is your site’s navigation confusing or convoluted? Are your product descriptions as in-depth as possible? Is your purchase button easy to find on all product pages? Assessing website pathing reports is a great way to follow users as they navigate your site and find out if they are utilizing paths you intended. If they are going to disjointed pages, it is likely that there is a problem with your conversion funnel. This can be fixed by rearranging elements or changing functionality on the page in order to create a better user “Simple A/B testing experience and more clear path. Perhaps in an effort to streamline,can reveal a lot about you made things more complicated (it happens). user behavior” The third step is conducting on-site tests. To combat accidentally making things more complicated, you want to test changing various elements on your website’s “problem” pages or paths. Simple A/B testing can reveal a lot about user behavior and what experience they want when coming to your site. Once you have been able to pinpoint hang-ups in the conversion process, you are able to begin testing elements that could potentially affect the user experience. This can range from creating stronger calls to action across your site, changing the color of your conversion buttons, or adjusting settings on your shopping cart that will shorten the length of time users spend purchasing the product or service. Some users wish to create profiles on websites in order to save their personal information and shorten purchasing time, but others prefer to remain anonymous, what is often called the “guest checkout.” Since not all sites are eCommerce, let’s say for instance that your website’s main KPI is filling out a “Request More Information” form, as on many B2B websites. These are qualified leads that can lead to Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 12 Back to Top
  • 12. GOAL 3: OPTIMIZE MARKETING + WEBSITE TO INCREASE BUSINESS SUCCESS OUTCOMES (Continued) business growth, so it’s important that the option to fill out this form is not only easy to find on your site, but once there, the form is intuitive. If using a captcha, do not make it overly complicated or you could risk losing the user out of frustration. It is important to marry user experience with logic. Step four is implementing changes + following up. Not only should you implement changes (quickly) once you have the results from your on-site tests, but you should also follow-up with your customers to create brand loyalty. Customize your marketing efforts with email and remarketing display ads in order to keep your brand fresh in their minds, even when they are high in the purchase“Follow up with your cycle. Staying in front of your consumer, especially in digital, is mostconsumers to create of the battle. brand loyalty” When you reach a comfortable conversion rate, it is likely that the user experience is also positive. When this number dwindles, it’s possible that it’s time for a website and/or marketing initiative refresh. It is important that you do not consider the marketing and website as separate initiatives, however, because the data collected from site analytics can often be used to improve marketing campaigns and thus, your business. Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 13 Back to Top
  • 13. Goal 4: Use Big Data to Predict Business Trends Big Data is a hot topic. Heck, there’s a Harvard Business Review category dedicated to articles strictly about the “problem” of Big Data. But at ASQ, we like to think of Big Data as an opportunity rather than a problem. With all of the data that your website can collect, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where your business goals cannot be completely data-driven. However, there may be some sources of data you are not considering. We like to lump them into two groups: internal variable data (you’re probably considering) and external variable data (maybe you’re not considering). “We like to think Some examples of internal variable data include: calls, revenue, jobs, cost and marketing (including traditional, digital and social – unpaid of Big Data as an or paid). These are things that you consider to directly impact youropportunity rather business. And while you are right, they may not paint the whole picture. That’s where external variable data comes in. Some examples than a problem.” of external variables include: weather, stock prices, consumer confidence, material prices for your products, shipping costs, or anything else you might think indirectly impacts your sales. Shall we use a metaphor? All right then. Think of your business like a map. The question you want to answer is “where are we going?” The answers lie in where you’ve been, where you are now and the prediction for the future. Big Data can help answer all of these independent questions, which allows us to predict where you’re going. Just how is this accomplished? Well, first we connect the dots among your disparate data sources. Whether or not its an automated or manual process, we are able to layer your data sources and make them searchable. This gives us the “where you’ve been” picture. Often times, companies are collecting data across tons of platforms and they’re all housed in different places. Creating a program to access all of your data and pull them together is called custom database development. Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 14 Back to Top
  • 14. Goal 4: Use Big Data to Predict Business Trends (Continued) Now we are ready to assess the “where are we now” and “where are we going” pieces of the map. To do this, we compile + organize the historical data along with the other relevant external data variables, layering the information so that it is easier to access and analyze. Next we create a statistical model to predict trends for the future that influence your business. We are then able to manipulate factors in that model to determine how much it will impact your bottom line, thus the ability to find where your business can run on optimal efficiency. It is not enough to consider the internal variables, but to also include things that impact consumer decisions also. So why do we need to work with Big Data in this way? “Database Aside from the obvious positives already mentioned, database management management creates ways to communicate with every level ofcreates ways to professional in your company. Take, for instance, reporting. Analysts, management and clients need to look at the data in various levels communicate of depth, and the database creates the opportunity to do thatwith every level automatically and seamlessly. Additionally, different people pulling reports from different data sources can often lead to human error.of professional” Automating reports ensures better accuracy and more seamless trending over time, which leads to better models and predictive analysis. Big Data does not have to “bury” your company, as some have claimed it will. It is possible to aggregate + act upon it for optimal business efficiency based on a seemingly-endless number of factors. The question is now not Where are we going? but How soon can we get there? Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 15 Back to Top
  • 15. Goal 5: To Better Align my Business with Consumer Needs Consumers. You can’t always trust them to tell you exactly what they want, and it can be hard to determine their needs based on intuition. That’s why we always recommend making decisions about your business based on data. So what kind of data will help you determine a consumer’s wants and needs? We have a few ideas: Social Research + Intelligence Social intelligence is something that we really believe in. It entails social media monitoring (or listening) to public consumer updates on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, in blogs, forums and more. Whenever a consumer discusses your product, brand or competition, you can be “If there is an area privvy to what they say (as long as their comments are public). How does this help? Well, for starters, you can assess consumer sentiment where you need about your brand and products or services. If there is an area that you to improve, we need to improve, we can guarantee that a consumer is talking about it right now online. This feedback can be indispensable because it guarantee that a can lead you to make data-driven business decisions based on whatconsumer is talking consumers want. Instead of creating a focus group or interfering with their time on your site with surveys, you can obtain unsolicited about it right (ie: unfiltered) and real-time opinions that can help you make better now online.” business choices. What kinds of better business choices can be based off of social intelligence? Here are just a few examples: 1. Improve marketing. Sure, you know that your red velvet cupcakes sell the best, but do you know why? Perhaps it’s the icing consistency, perhaps it’s the price, or perhaps it’s the one that is always available at 3pm when most people crave sugar. There are so many reasons out there for you to consider. If you tap into the minds of the consumer, it may help narrow down your reasons, thus improving your marketing. Let’s say it’s the icing. You can start a campaign that tells consumers that this particular icing is now available on every flavor of cake. Let’s say it’s the 3pm availability. You can create a campaign that is targeted at afternoon snackers and tailor messaging directly to them. Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 16 Back to Top
  • 16. Goal 5: To Better Align my Business with Consumer Needs (Continued) 2. Improve customer service. Perhaps it’s not cupcakes. Instead, you are a dentist. As you glean insights from your social research, you notice that the waiting room comes up as a sticking point for most patients. In fact, it may keep them from returning to your business. You can then set out to improve upon this aspect of your business: you could implement scheduling changes to decrease the time customers spend in the waiting room, or work on making your waiting room nicer. Add magazines, a coffee maker, a TV, a vending machine–whatever! Now you’ve provided customers with an additional reason to come back to your business. 3. Find out what your competition is up to. Sure, there are plenty of ways to assess your competition, but none may be as detailed as“Glean information what you will hear from your customers. Therefore, it is important to about what create a social research strategy that encompasses your competition. customers think What are consumers comparing about your two businesses? How does each succeed and where can each improve? You can glean regarding your information about what customers think regarding your competitions’ competition” promotions, warranty and/or policies, guarantees and their loyalty to the brand. This will help you determine ways in which you can gain a competitive edge. Price Sensitivity Analysis Many businesses set their prices and forget it for years, but this does not optimize your business, as your margins and overhead fluctuate far more often. Price sensitivity analysis essentially aims to find the optimal combination of your cost incurred, your price point and consumer demand. Creating a graph that manipulates these variables allows you to determine at what price point consumers will buy the product or service from you (and not your competitors) and at what price point allows you to maximize profit. To assess how much consumers are willing to pay, you can look at historical data like trended demand over time, or simply submit a survey. Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 17 Back to Top
  • 17. Goal 5: To Better Align my Business with Consumer Needs (Continued) User-Experience Testing Our last idea for aligning your business with consumer needs is user- experience testing. This takes place online and is a way for you to tell how your website performs with consumers. Your website is usually the first impression a consumer has about your brand nowadays. If they have a bad experience the first time, they will find other places to visit the next time they’re in the purchase consideration phase. If they have trouble loading your site, navigating its pages, if they are subjected to ugly 404 pages or reach roadblocks in your conversion funnel, you can bet that they will not return. Therefore, it is important to marry your data and creative in order to create a “Your website is website that is aesthetically pleasing, search engine-friendly and, most importantly, user friendly. usually the first impression To do this, you must monitor users’ reactions and engagement with your website. Then collect and analyze user feedback in order to a consumer has create the optimal user experience. This will give you insight intoabout your brand” what consumers find most valuable about your site, which gives you the opportunity to expand that offering or component. You can gain insight about your website’s design, copy, navigability and more, which will allow you to make decisions that positively impact your business. Let’s say, for example, that you’re trying to sell a product, but most consumers are coming to your site just to get reviews and information. It’s time to discover ways in which you can enhance the profitability of the site and capture consumers who are lower in the purchase funnel. This can all be done with user-experience testing. Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 18 Back to Top
  • 18. Goal 6: Measure Impact of Offline Events + Ads One of the things that marketers, data scientists and advertisers alike love about digital is the opportunity to hold marketing truly accountable. That is, attribute true return on investment to digital initiatives. But you do not have to sacrifice accountability when measuring offline initiatives. There are plenty of ways to use digital tools to monitor the success of offline advertising. Below are a few simple ways to accomplish this: 1. Use vanity URLs By creating landing pages specific to an offline initiative, you can track how effective the call to action is. For example, let’s say that “Attribute true you’re running an ad for your Miami hotel in Travel Florida magazine citing your recent award as the Best Hotel on South Beach. Instead return on investment of including your generic website (www.miamihotel.com), send usersto digital initiatives.” to a specific landing page that will indicate to you from where they came. To do this, you can simply use a vanity URL that redirects to a page with more specific tracking code. An example might be www. miamihotel.com/bestonsouthbeach that redirects to www.miamihotel. com/?cmp=southbeach_trvlfl_feb2013. Using this tracking code allows you to see that the South Beach campaign in Travel Florida magazine in Feb 2013’s issue sent you x clicks and x conversions, without the consumer having to memorize a long and convoluted URL. 2. Integrate social media into offline ++hannels You’ve no doubt seen this everywhere. 70% of Super Bowl commercials incorporated a hashtag or Twitter handle. You may not be able to tell how many people watched your commercial, but you will get a good idea of how many social influencers saw it and had a comment. Additionally, these branded hashtags enable brands to see immediate, real-time response to offline initiatives. You won’t have to wait for a focus group to tell whether or not people liked your commercial, hated the new jingle or think your promotion Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 19 Back to Top
  • 19. Goal 6: Measure Impact of Offline Events + Ads (Continued) is amazing. For more information about how brands can integrate social and TV, check out this post on the second screen phenomenon. Hashtags can also be used in print ads. Though not as timely as TV, it can still drive consumer conversation online, where it can be better monitored by your brand. 3. Unique coupon codes People are always in search of a good deal. Since you’re in tune with your customer needs (right?), you are willing to give them a discount. However, it is not useful to use one discount code for every channel. To best assess which offline channels are driving conversions on “Measure the your website, use unique coupons and promo codes. If your ad is running in Lucky Magazine, give out the promo LUCKYMAG. Ifimpact of offline your ad is read aloud on Sirius XM’s Highway radio, use promo code versus online” HIGHWAY. This is a remarkably easy way to tell how people found your brand and how they were influenced to buy your product. 4. Use sound recognition apps to drive to your website You may have seen the Shazam icon pop up on your television every now and then when watching a commercial. If you open a sound recognition app like Shazam, it will take you to the website. This essentially works like scanning a QR code from a print ad. It’s great for those looking to measure engagement with radio or TV ads, but the users must also already have the app, which may impact the volume of consumers interacting on this platform. 5. Site intercept surveys Site intercept surveys are conducted on-site and ask the users a few questions about their website experience. Consider incorporating a question about how the user found your site. To measure the impact of offline versus online, offer options like: online search, television ad, Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 20 Back to Top
  • 20. Goal 6: Measure Impact of Offline Events + Ads (Continued) radio ad, newspaper, social media and friend referral. Though this will just be a sample of those who visit your site, it will give you a good idea about how people are becoming exposed to your brand. How likely to convert is a consumer coming from an offline channel versus an online channel? All of these tactics can help you measure the impact of your offline initiatives using digital tools as a means of accountability. They also give you the ability to make data-driven decisions about your marketing initiatives. Are you reaching the right audience on the channel that they prefer most? Granular tracking of your marketing is the only way to measure success beyond convenience metrics, attributing ROI down to specific campaigns, ads and platforms.“Are you reaching the right audience on the channel they prefer most?” Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 21 Back to Top
  • 21. Goal 7: Recruit and Retain the Best Talent Let’s assume that–since you’re reading this blog–your company aims to be data-driven. But you may not be approaching hiring in the same way. We’ve all seen the conventional model: find a person who has a decent amount of education in a given or related field, ask them a few questions about their strengths and weaknesses and negotiate a salary you can both live with. But that is not always the best way to go about hiring people. There are many factors that you have not yet considered beyond what this person’s title and role might be. For instance, which team will they work on? How are their specific skills going to balance and help that team become all that they can be? How is their experience going“There is much more to help shape where the company is going? What personalities will they work best with? Too often we assume that everyone will work to know about a well with whomever we put them with. Sure, they might get things person than what is done and they might be cordial, but designing teams based on individuals’ strengths and weaknesses can increase productivity and typed on resumes” output. Similarly, the quality of work might improve if you refrain from having several of the same personalities on one team. If there are several highly analytical and detail-oriented thinkers, perhaps they need a person to drive the bigger picture and think about the creative execution. There is now so much more to know about a person than just what is typed on their resumes. People are more than numbers, so I’m not exactly suggesting a Moneyball approach; however, considering more than the person’s resume qualifications could impact the team and the company positively. Here are a few ideas for recruiting and retaining the best talent: 1. More than keywords Many data systems will organize candidates by keywords you put in. Do not only focus on what the candidate might possess (a 4-year degree, 3+ years experience in your field), but what personality traits Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 22 Back to Top
  • 22. Goal 7: Recruit and Retain the Best Talent (Continued) you think would be the most beneficial to that role. Think outside the box and consider candidates that have an analytical background even if it’s not in the exact field for which you’re hiring. You can teach someone software; it’s considerably harder to teach them how to think. 2. Consider what you can offer Everyone always focuses on what the potential employee can bring to the company, but intelligent folks do not want to stay at the same level forever. Ascertain what your company can provide this individual not only in the way of salary and benefits, but career and personal“Ascertain what your growth potential.company can provide 3. Emphasize education this individual” Not only will this make your current and potential employees feel valued, but it will ultimately improve their understanding of the work and the quality of their output. Offering free online courses or even just webinars is a great (and inexpensive) way to continue your employees’ education. 4. Peer interviewing Most people are used to having a phone interview followed by an in-person interview with their potential bosses or HR Director. But these might not be the people that this candidate has to work with on a daily basis. Therefore, some companies are implementing a peer interview program that allows current team members to assess how well the candidate will fit in with their team and the company as a whole. People who are in the job every day and know what it takes may see something that you do not. Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 23 Back to Top
  • 23. Goal 7: Recruit and Retain the Best Talent (Continued) 5. Added benefits Studies have shown that the just-out-of-college generation is excited about working in a start-up atmosphere. Why is that? Because there are added benefits that don’t come with the average 9-to-5. Things like free parking, social outings, flexible work hours, relaxed work environment, pets at work, work from home options and free transportation are very appealing to this generation of workers, and they’re usually willing to overlook the longer hours and learning curve that comes along with the start-up culture. Ask yourself what your company can offer in the way of added benefits and promote them feverishly.“Set the bar high 6. Set the bar high for everyone” To get the best talent, you must be able to not only fulfill their personal growth goals, but also challenge them to be better. If you’re recruiting people who feel like they’re not being well-utilized, they’re going to be complacent or just quit. Set the bar high for everyone and the intelligent ones will rise to the occasion and strive to achieve what could be. Setting the bar low will only hurt the team and your company’s success. Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 24 Back to Top
  • 24. Goal 8: Convert Users Across All Screens In the last year, smartphone subscriptions increased by 55%. Just over 50% of mobile users now utilize smartphones, which means big money for websites and ads that are mobile-optimized. With the growing use of mobile devices for searching, purchasing and more, many companies have struggled to get mobile-friendly versions of their websites up and running. But there is an option for which an entirely separate and new site does not have to be constructed: responsive design. Responsive design essentially creates the website’s functions and images as separate entities which grow and change as the screen size changes. If a user on a desktop makes the window smaller, the“Gone are the days functionality of the website does not change. Similarly, the user who views the desktop version on the smartphone or tablet version can still when the mobile perform the same actions. Gone are the days when the mobile version version of a of a site is just a limited version with minimal actions you can take. site is just a SEOMoz‘s visual account of how it works is helpful. Here is the limited version” standard view with 9 elements on the site: Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 25 Back to Top
  • 25. Goal 8: Convert Users Across All Screens (Continued) Here’s what happens when you pull the screen wider: And here’s what the elements do when you narrow the screen (or view “What are other the site on, say, an iPhone): considerations before moving toresponsive design?” So what are other considerations before moving to responsive design? First, SEO. Mobile sites used to have to compromise the amount of information that was on the page due to lack of space. With Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 26 Back to Top
  • 26. Goal 8: Convert Users Across All Screens (Continued) responsive design, the elements are all there on the page. When users want to find information on their smartphones, your site will have good usability, which is important to search engines. Also, people probably will not type a 7-word search query, so keeping your pages targeted to shorter keywords and keyword phrases is smart. Second, user experience. While user experience may be enhanced for all the aforementioned reasons, it’s necessary to point out that with responsive design, your mobile site is confined to what is on your desktop site. For most businesses, this will be fine. However, for some, the mobile experience may need to be separate. Consider the reasons a user would search for your business on their mobile devices and why they would search for you on their desktops. If the reasons are quite “Consider the different, having the same site content and functionality might not bereasons a user would the best answer for you. search for your business on their mobile devices” Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 27 Back to Top
  • 27. Like what you read and want to learn more? Primary ASQ contributors Steve Parker, Jr. and Jeff Adelson-Yan are also the Managing Partners and Co-Founders of Levelwing. Levelwing is a business analytics and intelligence firm, mining and analyzing data to help businesses operate with greater clarity and profitability. Please contact us directly to learn how your business can benefit from our services. e: steve@levelwing.com p: +1.843.631.4587 Or visit our website at www.levelwing.com/services Dream Big, a Series from AskingSmarterQuestions.com 28Back to Top