Each Thursday at 11am EST, marketers from around the world join the ExactTarget user community on Twitter for a conversation about trends and campaign ideas across the interactive marketing industry. We call the virtual coffee chat the ExactTarget Café.
Our featured guest for a recent chat was Kevin Kestler, Social Media Producer at Comcast SportsNet. Kevin is a regular chat participant so we were excited to host him as our featured guest! Kevin is a powerhouse who has does a bit of everything - social media, blogging, copywriting, community management, and design in a variety of roles. The end of the year is a good time to get back to basics and create goals for the upcoming year.
Here is a recap of our discussion:
@ExactTarget: Q1 In hyper-speed of marketing, how do you ensure that your grammar, spelling, and content is accurate?
@kkestler: I like to find a person (or 2 or 3) whose wordsmithing I trust to review my writing.
@kkestler: I find it's also helpful to take a short pause and re-read before clicking post/send.
@havronsm: A lot of review. All of our emails are reviewed by at least 2 people. The content is also reviewed before it is put in the email.
@kkestler: I've found several writing resources specific to online marketing. One of my favorites is this one: http://bit.ly/T0WBiQ
@briandshelton: For campaigns, planning ahead "slows things down." For real-time communication, spell check helps, but nothing is perfect.
@jvanrijn use a checklist!
@emailgirl: We have a rigorous QA process. It can take up to 2 hours per email to effectively test.
@ExactTarget: Q2 What's the difference between pushing content versus storytelling? How do you adapt the story for different formats (blog, site, email) so it's easy to read and follow?
@kkestler: Storytelling connects to the audience on a more emotional (vs purely rational) level. It is perceived as more authentic.
@havronsm: We change format from blog to email by not using all of the content & writing a different opener than the intro paragraph.
@kkestler: AFA content, ExactTarget Channel Preference Survey is a great resource for the channels where certain messages are best received.
@hippiebookworm: I think you need a good balance. I tell my copywriter, write a good email that engaging, but make sure there's a CTA.
@ExactTarget: Q3 Let's get back to basics with your audience. How do you create a strategy for audience and channels?
@kkestler: To start, you have to KNOW your audience's preferences—so ask!
@briandshelton: Research. Understanding. Thought. Execution.
@kkestler: It's also important to monitor existing conversations on each channel & familiarize yourself with their tone.
@emailgirl: View the promotion as a "campaign" and consider all channels. Start with the promo/campaign objective.
@emailgirl: What are we trying to do? Why should the customer care? How is this different?
@theeMailguide: One survey is worth 1000 assumptions
@kkestler: Relevant to Q3. RT @EmiiyCooper: Social Sharing Tips For B2B & B2C [INFOGRAPHIC] via @alltwtr
@net0gre: every mailing is a survey! RT @amandaberkey How often do you survey your subscribers for preferences (frequency/channel/content)?
@ExactTarget: Q4 What is your approach for goal planning for 2013? How do you decide the KPIs and metrics that you will follow? Will you do something different?
@briandshelton: They should always be in lock-step with overall business goals. "Make more money" is not (alone) a strategic business goal.
@kkestler: Many marketers don't even HAVE a solid plan. Here's a 1-page starter: http://bit.ly/Wj7QCb Ideally you want a comprehensive (objectives, strategies, tactics, budget, integrations, etc.) plan.
@kkestler: Cookie cutter metrics are rarely helpful. Customize metrics & KPIs to your specific business. http://bit.ly/VtZ9Fo
@kkestler: Opens & clicks are great indicators, but don't tell the whole story.
@ExactTarget: Q5 At what point do you recognize that your email marketing program might be dying? At what point do you change or reinvent your program?
@kkestler: To spin off of Q4, if you're tracking the right metrics, you should see this coming (if it is).
@kkestler: You'll likely see a decrease in CTR & conversions and increase in unsubs. http://bit.ly/QFbX7h
@hippiebookworm: When there's no list growth, and continuous decline with little interaction, it's a sign.
@emailgirl: You shouldn't expect to be able to do the same thing repeatedly. Constantly innovate to keep your email program healthy
@kkestler: Hopefully, though, this would correspond with an uptick in other channels (e.g. social). Change isn't necessarily bad.
@getcustomized: Our challenge is convincing management to change the program. Even though its dying, they are scared of change.
@ExactTarget: Q6 How do you approach the creation of creative elements to tie in with your marketing strategy? How does that change for the different channels that you're using?
@kkestler: I try to avoid stock imagery at all costs. Make your creative distinctively you!
@emailgirl: I predict email creative is about to change drastically. W/ mobile consumption so high u should completely rethink email design
@kkestler: Certain channels are decidedly more visual (e.g. @pinterest) and great places for, say, infographics and product images.
@ExactTarget: Q7 What is your viewpoint on formal education for the interactive marketing field?
@kkestler: As a current graduate student, I have to say I'm in favor. http://bit.ly/VA2XVN cc/ @wvuimc
@emailgirl: However, I still don't see much in the way of formal email marketing training. We have built our own program in house
@kkestler: I attended a great certification at Academy Day before #ET10 (Connections 2010). Highly recommend it!
@amandaberkey: Many marketers that I talk to have self-taught themselves and dove into interactive marketing.
@ExactTarget: Q8 How do you make time for your technical skills and growth? Any tips for marketers regarding HTML, CSS, coding, web development?
@kkestler: I'm a big fan of online at-your-own-pace education, like this web development course I'm currently taking: http://bit.ly/PP4LGf
Please join us every Thursday at 11am EDT for the #ETcafe chat!