Day 19 - Offline Marketing

CCarter

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Do not discount offline channels for online traffic. You might be 100% internet but the masses don't digital 24/7. The key to marketing is conveying a problem to a solution in a manner that gives your target that "ah ha" moment. With client work the one thing about offline marketing is most older clients are more comfortable with it and they can see and feel you out face to face. The art of the face to face is becoming lost in our digital world, but there is still a vast world that's not taking advantage of some old yet true and tried techniques.

Radio
Normal radio and digital variations are still huge with gaining traction within the masses. You can go smaller buy advertisements on college radio stations which exist on campus for local colleges or if you have the contacts even underground radio station. I remember once we were throwing a party in South Beach, and man getting to these moving underground radio stations and negotiating with some unscrupulous characters - an experience you'll never forget. You gotta think about the person that starts an underground radio in the first place, they already out there...

Television
The masses still watch TV about 5 times more hours than they are online, so getting TV spots, even local ones, can help your brand's awareness. Local small businesses still do it cause the majority of their audience haven't gotten hip to the internet just yet. Don't discount an older audience, they've got more money at their disposal than a younger audience. Also you know you can buy local ad spots during the Super Bowl and not pay the millions of dollars right? you know that right? :wink:

Billboards
This is still huge for users in local settings. Concerts and parties still use these to get the word out there. You can start off as long as 2 weeks to get going. It's cheaper if you buy a month minimum, and coordinate any marketing promotions like postcard drops, TV spots, and radio spots before hand. Remember never drop your mailers before your billboards are up.

Snail Mail
Regular mail or postcards mail - snail mail is still a great opportunity to getting something physically to your audience. If you collect address of your users, you can send them free promotional items and other goodies to keep your brand in their minds. I like the postcard approach for reaching new audiences. (Look up out EDDM - Every Door Direct Mail).

Every Door Direct Mail
This is a program by the United States Postal Office which allows you to send 5000 pieces of mail to a given location, just input your zip code with no need to purchase a mailing list. They've got prices as low as $0.185 per piece, meaning you can hit 5000 homes or business with a $1000 investment. I mean this is probably the easiest mail drop service I've seen in a long time. Check it out:




Business Cards
Good old fashion business cards can be left at thousands of places around your city. If you know a building is full of lawyers and you want their business, a snail mail drop to the whole building can get people talking. Follow up with a phone call and you're in the door. Your potential cold call is no longer cold. :wink:

Goodie Bags
Gift cards or goodie bags for events or as a local contest. If you know someone is throwing a contest or local event, try to negotiate with them, most likely you can get things done for free if you are providing some value like goodie bags to people that show up. They'll mention that in their promotion and give you further exposure. Throwing parties we did a lot of stuff to get on the radio and get extra mentions like buying the whole staff lunch for a week and then moved on to another station the next week, we were savages, no loyalty except to get the word out there about our events.

Non Profits
Helping out non-profits with your services for free can be not only a tax write off, but the non-profits will mention you as a sponsor, mention you brand & name to a room full of potential customers, within newsletters, and other promotions. There is a lot of politics at ALL of these organizations, but the key is to constantly add value and if you can go above and beyond to help the non-profit out, they'll introduce to their top donors and prominent individuals. The great part is you can use their logo, with their permission of course, on your website and wear it as a badge of honor that you help and provide free services for that particular non-profit. I suggest going for the known non-profits in your area, versus some start-up for the recognition.

Guerilla Tactics
Some bum marketing approaches like going to an event and giving out free t-shirts, and goodie backs at convention center have helped me in the past spread the word before I ever wasted time with SEO. I recall weekends where I'd pass out flyers on saturday and sunday and receive 5,000 to 10,000 visitors from this simple tactic. We'd go out every weekend and simply pass out flyers for our site and screw around on the beach, fun times, but it was work too.

Canvassing
Putting out inexpensive flyers or door hangers is an old school angle that still works. This is a numbers game like everything else. Back in my day we used to canvas for a pizza store I worked at, after the canvasing that night we'd get phone calls left and right for pizza delivery, simple and effective. (God damn how many of these offline tactics did I personally do, shit brings back memories).

Workshops
Offer free services or consulting at workshops - or start your own. Get the word out there to business that need your service and providing some free food will get people coming to hear about your service and what you can do to help them.

Classified Ads
Yeah son, this stuff works. People, especially older audiences still use the classified ads in newspapers and magazines to look up services and product.

Joint Venture
Get into strategic alliances with companies that compliment your services and you can go around the local area tag teaming events and showcasing synergy, while creating credibility by leaning off their authority.

Referral Program
Create a referral program so current customers or clients have an incentive to also give you additional business from their contacts. A nice sized referral program (the offline equivalent of an affiliate marketing program) can generate an individual with great contacts an nice side income, so the right person can send you clients left and right.

Speaking Events
Conferences, speaking engagements are all offline and perfect for creating unique online content with videos on youtube, pictures on social media and more. Speaking events will help you spread the word to your target audience. You can start at local levels at chamber of commerces events or non-profit events and network your way up the ladder while gaining clients that may need your help.

Special Events
Create custom signs and banners if the organizers allow you to and hang them up in prominent locations at special events (obviously you'll have to pay or sponsor the event). This can be local youth sports teams, at baseball games, etc. If sponsorships are available definitely check them out, you might be able to get a lot of exposure to a local region for less then a month's worth of Adwords, and you'll definitely have good will coming your way from within the community.

Meet-ups
Meet-ups are huge, in fact going to meet ups of every type and kind can get you exposure to outside your industry. Here is the trick, don't go to meet-ups of your industry. For example if you are an SEO and run an SEO agency, it doesn't make sense to go to an SEO meet-up, but you can go to an accountants meet-up instead. Go to meet ups outside your industry to gain clients that you need.

Print Publications
The online guest post is not a new tactic, editorials and guest writing has been happening offline since the dawn of the printing press, so find publications where you can add your 2 cents in for your industry and go for it. If you can get a column or section which you are willing to write for free that's just great free content for the publication and exposure for you. Find industry magazines and journals (from outside your industry of course) and utilize them to gain brand visibility and showcase your experience and expertise.

Print Advertising
Flip through magazines, newspapers, and other similar publications - is there still advertising in them? Than it's still a viable option. Testing different outlets, publishers, and figure out where your best bang for your buck lies. The key with this is to ask for their media kit and get the demographic information of their subscribers and audience, that way you know who you'll be targeting.

Trade Shows
Again similar to the meet-up tactics, don't bother going to your own industry's trade show, but rather go to other industry's events to get exposure to a new audience. At the very least you'll make contacts and start getting your brand known outside your industry. Word of mouth spreads within each industry, and if no other XYZ company is going to their events you can be king of the hill - IF you are able to provide a valuable service to that industry.

Church Bulletins
You notice after every mass they have those church bulletins they hand out - you can advertise in them! You can advertise anywhere, if something is being printed, you can advertise in or sponsor the printing of it for advertising spots. If you know a local event needs a print job done, offer to pay the whole cost with the exchange that you get to add your propaganda into the mix. People will eat that shit up.

Whether you realize it or not, most of your business will come from referrals and recommendations, and offline face to face are great ways to give people that warm feeling of "knowing" someone, even if you talked to them for 5 mins. Give them two business cards, one for them and one of a friend of theirs that might need your service. Don't discount offline tactics to getting online traffic. Word of mouth will spread far if you simple put your brand out there and can showcase real value to your audience.
 

CCarter

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Siri Optimization - Beyond Google SEO


Alright, I'm back again. Following my out of the Google box traffic generation thinking, I wanted to focus this thread on Siri, Apple's iPhone virtual assistant. Since Siri bypasses Google search, it's a potential to become a Google killer, not really, but possible. So as iphone/Siri becomes more and more prominent and capable, this is a scenario where Google SEO is almost irrelevant. This is not the end all to Siri optimization, but should be a foundation of the potential. My cheap ass still has an iphone 3GS, so I gotta borrow phones to research several things.

Fun Fact: Siri is a spin-off of the CALO (calonis meaning "soldier's servant")project funded by DARPA (Parent Agency: US Department of Defense). Hopefully you can read between the lines, Good luck bros. (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siri_(software)#Research_and_development)

So lettuce begin. I've traversed dozens of websites, resources, and some people that have been able to "reverse" engineer the data points of Siri, and one of the biggest ones is no surprise Yelp. Google Maps was also a prime source, but I suspect that reliance is dwindling down as they put together Apple Maps resources. Interesting enough Apple Maps pulls from the following resources (if you can figure out a way into these, that would be fantastic, otherwise I would move onto the next group):


Interesting enough Apple Maps pulls from the following resources (if you can figure out a way into these, that would be fantastic, otherwise I would move onto the next group):

Apple Maps Datapoints:

- TomTom (http://www.tomtom.com/) - Directions
- Acxiom (http://www.acxiom.com/) - Business Listing Data
- CoreLogic Inc. (http://www.corelogic.com) - Map Data and Property Parcel Data
- DigitalGlobe (http://www.digitalglobe.com/) - Satellite Imaginary
- DMTI (http://www.dmtispatial.com/) - Map and Postal Data
- Factual (http://www.factual.com/) - Business Listings Data
- Getchee (http://www.getchee.com) - Map Data
- Increment P Corp. (http://www.incrementp.co.jp) - Unknown (Japan)
- Intermap (http://www.intermap.com/) - Map Data
- LeadDog (http://goleaddog.com/) - Map Data
- Localeze (http://Localeze.com/ -> http://www.neustar.biz) - Business Listing Data
- MapData Services Pty Ltd.. (http://www.nowwhere.com.au) - Mapping data for Australia and New Zealand
- MDA Information Systems, Inc (http://www.mdaus.com/) - Map Data
- Urban Mapping (http://www.urbanmapping.com/) - Neighborhood Data
- Waze (http://www.waze.com/) - Map Data
- Yelp (http://www.yelp.com/) - "Reviews from Yelp"
- CanVec (http://www.geogratis.gc.ca/) - Map Data
- CGiar-CSI SRTM (http://srtm.csi.cgiar.org/) - Imagery Data
- Flickr (http://www.flickr.com) - Flickr Shapefiles Public Dataset.
- GeoNames (http://www.geonames.org) - Map Data
- GobalCover (http://www.esa.int) - Imagery and Map Data
- NASA (http://www.nasa.gov) - Imagery and Map Data
- Contains Ordnance Survey Data (http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/) - Map and GIS Data
- OSDM (http://spatial.gov.au) - Imgery and Map Data
- OSM (http://www.openstreetmap.org/) -Map Data
- StatCan (http://www.statcan.gc.ca/) - Statistical Data (Canada)
- U.S. Census Bureau (http://www.census.gov) - Statistical Data (USA)
- U.S. Department of State (http://www.state.gov) - Unknown
- U.S. Geological Survey (http://www.usgs.gov) - Imagery and Map Data
- VMAP0 (http://www1.nga.mil) - Imagery and Mapping Data

--

Siri itself has been reportedly pulling data from the following (Get your business in as many of these as possible!!!):

Restaurant and Business Questions and Actions
- OpenTable (http://www.opentable.com/)
- Gayot (http://www.gayot.com/)
- CitySearch (http://www.citysearch.com/)
- BooRah (http://business.intuit.com/boorah-restaurants/)
- Yelp (http://www.yelp.com/)
- Yahoo Local (http://local.yahoo.com/)
- ReserveTravel (http://www.reservetravel.com/ OR http://www.reservetravel.net/ - Not Certain)
- Localeze (http://Localeze.com/ -> http://www.neustar.biz) - Business Listing Data
- Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/)
- Yext (http://www.infogroup.com/)
- InfoGroup (http://www.infogroup.com/)
- Factual (http://www.factual.com/) - Business Listings Data
- AOL Local Search (http://yellowpages.aol.com/)
- Yellow Pages (http://www.yellowpages.com/)
- USCity.Net (http://www.uscity.net/)
- Local.com (http://www.local.com/)
- Ask (http://www.ask.com/)
- Local Search Guide (http://www.localsearchguide.org/)

Events and Concert Information
- Eventful (http://eventful.com/)
- StubHub (http://www.stubhub.com/)
- LiveKick (http://www.LiveKick.com/)

Movie Information and Reviews
- MovieTickets (http://www.movietickets.com/)
- RottenTomatoes (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/)
- New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/)

Factual Question Answering
- Formerly True Knowledge - Now Evi (http://www.Evi.com)
- Bing Answers (http://www.bing.com/)
- Wolfram Alpha (http://www.wolframalpha.com/)
- Wikipedia (http://www.Wikipedia.com)

Web Search
- Bing (http://www.bing.com/)
- Google (http://www.google.com/)
- Yelp! search (http://www.yelp.com/)

Additional Data:
- Yahoo! Weather (http://weather.yahoo.com/) - Weather Forecast
- Yahoo! Finance (http://finance.yahoo.com/) - Business, Stock Quotes, etc.

- Foursquare (http://www.FourSquare.com)
- Facebook Places (http://www.FaceBook.com) - Not 100% sure on this
- TripAdvisor (http://www.TripAdvisor.com)
- Travelpost - Google version? (http://www.Travelpost.com) - Not 100% sure on this
- Eopinion (http://www.Eopinion.com) - Not 100% sure on this


Most brick and mortar business are going to need to get into their respective location from the above. A lot of these are government databases for the mapping aspects. Yelp is going to be easiest way to get into Siri, and it's based on reviews. So if you're a pizza shop in Chicago, IL, your store being in Yelp is critical, the upgraded Yelp services "seem" to help, with the indexing. Get customers in your shop and locals in your area to give you a positive review. I suspect that geo-targeted data is important for the reviews to count, but am not 100%. Maybe a local SEOer can weigh in on this.

Keywords are a big factor in your description for your local seo service. An example that was given was "pants". Instead of simply putting that as one of your items use more descriptive terms like "jeans", "khakis", "shorts". Siri will know those examples are all "pants". The more descriptive you are about what your business sells/services, the more targeted results you'll get (This is just in general for local business listing). Make sure you are filling out as much - company name, address, phone number, website, category, hours of operation, type of payment. Make sure to have photos, reviews, and coupons as well. If you can update them weekly (for example promotional discounts), it'll help you overall listing - making sure it's not stale. Again, every local directory/business solution is different, so they have different algo according to the way they display data. Usually the biggest factor is going to be the reviews - in quantity and I suspect more and more in quality as time goes on (star rating for example).

Another thing I would consider is adding the Schema.org tags (Microdata) all over your website, especially the review tags (example a Pizza Shop). They information may not directly get crawled by Siri, but the data points Siri takes are using sophisticated crawlers. Schema.org has the best scenario for uniquely identifying key components such as addresses, phone numbers, etc (http://schema.org/Restaurant)!

Localeze.com - Now Neustar.biz is a primary factor as well. Get your business listed in there as well. Same with OpenTable, and really all the ones that pertain to your business/online website.

For the local search, you'll want to hit up all the locations I listed above.

Since there is not a direct "submit" to Siri, you'll have to hit up all the major data points it accesses to in order to get access to the vast iPhone Ecosystem. (Reportedly there have been more than 250 Million iphones sold, and estimated 74 Million are currently used). Getting into Siri can add a nice added bump in your walk in business, and sales.

One thing several people have noticed is there is a difference between the results when searching with Siri. "The Best" and "The Highest Rated" for example can get you different results for the same search. I'll continue researching and adding to this thread if people are interested in learning more about Siri optimization and any new findings. Feel free to add your 2 cents as well!

- CCarter ( @MercenaryCarter)
 
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The art of the face to face is becoming lost in our digital world, but there is still a vast world that's not taking advantage of some old yet true and tried techniques.
This.

@CCarter ’s guide was good, don’t get me wrong, but it's more of an overview of different channels than a guide on how to be successful in offline marketing. I love offline. I’ve been inspired to do a deep dive on how to really make offline channels perform.

I fully back CCarter's view on diversifying away from Google. I learnt this the hard way.

Two years ago, I was running marketing for a company when we hit our search cap on Google. We were left scrambling around for growth. Investors expected minimum 20% MoM growth.

Since then, I’ve experimented with offline channels such as door drops, TV, street teams, OOH (billboards), print, radio, events and partnerships.

I’ve gained some deep battle scars and learnt a hell of a lot. At the height of our growth, I was distributing half a million flyers per month via door drops and street teams.

Why Offline?

Everyone is focusing on online. I bet none of you have ever thought about it. People are too lazy.

The only people that are doing offline are your local Chinese takeaways or big supermarket brands. Digital driven companies forgot there was a world outside of the internet. Here’s an untapped path.

Before we begin, there’s some understanding that needs to happen here. Understand, that it may well end up more expensive than some digital channels. There’s more risk involved and you'll need to put the money upfront. Your ROI and data feedback loop will be longer.

This isn’t for everyone, which is what makes it so perfect.

Have you ever even looked one of your customers directly in their eyes? You’re about to engage with your customers on a whole different level. You’ll tap into communities that congregate for other reasons, than that they ‘like’ a page about memes. Real communities. I have 20 office blocks in London, which whenever someone in there needs my services, will book straight away. The possibilities are different when you step off the internet.

Giants have been built by taking this path.

Trivago, one of the biggest hotel comparison sites in the world, did only TV advertising for years. Literally, it was 4 years before they introduced any digital channels. They measured the ROI on every advert, every TV channel, every time of the day.

Let’s go...
For some reason, when companies first go into offline, they forget everything that they do online. They forget about optimisation, attribution, testing, iteration and just throw money into the wind and hope it works.

They get burnt. They quit.

What you need to do is take that online performance marketing mindset into the offline world...

Offline Performance Mindset

Let’s start with some broad principles that will make sure you dominate your offline marketing channels:

1) Track EVERYTHING. You need to be able to attribute the full impact of your campaigns. Without tracking you cannot optimise.
2) Know your variables and optimise them.
3) Use data to drive every decision that you make.
4) Continually test and iterate. Iterate creative like you would with Facebook/display ads.

This sounds obvious, but nobody does it.

You can apply this framework to any channel (offline or online).

Before you get started with iteration, you need to understand your variables (in other words, the things that you can change in order to alter the final outcome). For example:

The main variables for AdWords are:

AdRank = CPC x Quality Score (QS consisting of several other variables such as ad relevancy and CTR)​

Door drop is:

Target Area x Discount/Incentive x Creative/Copy​

TV is:

Channel x Advert x Time x Day x Program Genre​

When you start out, you’ll want to collect as much data as possible. Data is key.


For example, when I started TV, I bought a plan that spanned all day parts, all channels on one network, all genres and all days. I repeated the same two weeks later on the channels of a different network. This broad net gave me a lot of data to go off. From this, I was able to derive some initial learnings on what days worked, which times, what genres worked, which network worked, which channels worked within each network, which genre of TV.

You basically want to do the following:
  • Do a broad campaign
  • Collect data
  • Learn
  • Iterate and optimise on this data
  • Start testing more variables
Your first test will hurt. But stay strong, this is where most people run back.

Tracking and Attribution

It seriously amazes me with how many companies I talk to who can’t put a figure to the performance of their offline channels. Like, really? How do you know what you are spending on is working?

If you don’t track, you don’t know.

I am ‘aware' of one beauty product company who was running huge TV campaigns. To the protest of their marketing director, they stopped it for 6 months and guess what happened? Yep, nothing. There was literally no impact on their sales. TV was doing absolutely nothing for them all that time and they didn’t even know.

Ok, so you get the point, attribution and tracking are important if you are ever going to figure out whether you are pissing your marketing moneys up the wall, or how to optimise. Unfortunately, you don’t have the luxury of the same tracking tools that you do on the internet. You’ll need to get a little creative. Here are a few ways to go about it.

Discount Codes
Probably one of the easiest ways to attribute direct offline channels like flyering teams and door drops is through unique promotional codes. I create promo codes for each marketing channel and variable of the campaign. For example, a door drop campaign would have a different promotional code (same value) for each different location we were running it in. This would help us identify which area, discount and creative the sale came from. I'd send customers to landing pages where the promo code was already applied because it improves conversion rate, but you already knew that right?

- Landing pages:
If you aren’t discounting or running promotional codes then you can send users to specific landing pages then track this through Google Analytics. We found that the more you make the user journey continuously flow from media (flyer/ad etc) to landing page, the better the conversion rate. Rocket science.

- Third Party Tracking Tools:
There are loads of specialist tracking tools for offline channels. For TV, I recommend the lovely folks at TV Squared.

Uplift
When doing offline, you’ll also see general sales uplift because it builds your brand.

Take a look at this graph. It’s from a campaign where I did both door drops and flyering teams in the same area. You can see a general uplift in bookings from people who either find a generic promotional code or just don’t use any code. Also lag time on your the return, we did the campaign in July and people were still using the flyer code in October.

Customer Sauce
Asking customers where they have heard about you after they have made a purchase. This can often be a bit unreliable as people sometimes just pick random channels. It can be very useful for some underlying, harder to track channels such as word of mouth. Worth tracking for sure.

Iteration
Remember when I said you need to understand your variables… Only ever change one variable at a time. EG, never change the discount value, plus creative at the same time.

Creative
Just like Facebook, your creative can have immense impact on your bottom line. It’s the difference between someone throwing your flyer in the bin and taking action.

Whether it is TV, flyering or door drop there are some general rules that hold true across all channels. Basic creative design. Clear design and messaging win every time. Rule the temptation to give your whole life story and just include the basics that will get someone to take action.

Incentive
In order to get people to make the jump from offline to online, you’ll want to give them a reason to do so. Create a compelling incentive. Test a few.

The incentive can be one of the biggest leavers. Take a look at this…

This is from a door drop campaign. I tested 4 different discounts £19, £15, £10 and £5. Each discount had a significantly different conversion rate.

Obviously the higher discount you give, the higher the cost to acquire the customer. Maybe the higher conversion rate will offset the higher discount. Do the math.

I found that (unsurprisingly) customers on a £19 discount churned from the service I was selling pretty quickly and so the lifetime value for that customer cohort was very low compared to what we would expect. So despite a high conversion rate, this was unprofitable for us.

At £15 discount, we retained customers much better and the conversion rate was still high - this was our sweet spot. Discounts of £10 and £5 both had pretty terrible conversion rates and despite good retention profiles, the response rate was just too low


Good luck out there.
 

CCarter

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I found that (unsurprisingly) customers on a £19 discount churned from the service I was selling pretty quickly and so the lifetime value for that customer cohort was very low compared to what we would expect. So despite a high conversion rate, this was unprofitable for us.
This alone is the reason I don't do "discounts" but rather will do "bonuses" or "add-ons". There is a crowd of people that go for something just for the discount, but really aren't serious about the product/service and it leads to higher churns and reduced life-time value of the customers. And what it really does is erode the value of your brand (and at times your whole industry) in the minds of consumers.

For me it always happens around Thanksgiving, tons of people come "Hey I want to sign up do you have a Cyber Monday special?" "No." Realistically if you saw the value you would sign up regardless of a "coupon code" or it being a "discount holiday", so either you'll churn quickly (February in cybermonday's cases), cause me refunds/chargebacks problems, or cause me to lose margins on users that are ready to sign up for my services but now use a "coupon code". Basically all 3 things that erode my brand value - whether you care about it or not. If you aren't willing to sign-up regardless of a "coupon code" then I haven't conveyed the benefit of my service/product to you.

I will however give bonuses or add-ons which add value up to the brand without eroding margins on my side.

Great write up on offline marketing!