Applying Lean Methodology On a Corporate Business Scale

In his book The Lean Startup, Eric Ries discusses iterative product design, development and launch, which he describes as “lean.” But, as many businesses are seeing, lean methodologies don’t just apply to startups. Even big businesses have plenty to learn by acting with a bias toward action.
You see, many larger, more established businesses quickly become stuck in a “behind the times” holding pattern. They have the newest, most up-to-date technology in place when they start building the company, however, these technologies change quickly. By the time a Pinterest profile is created, the company’s target demographic may have already adopted Snapchat, or some other buzzed about social media tool their audience is already excited about.

[quote]One of the ways marketers may be able to avoid missing the technological mark is by incorporating lean marketing methodologies into the process.[quote] The goal with these methods is to get the company moving forward, so that the business doesn’t stall at the dozens of rounds of approvals it takes to get a project off the ground. Instead of waiting for the stars to align, lean marketers are constantly introducing new ideas, performing ongoing tests and iteration until the project or campaign reaches peak performance. In some cases, this may mean forgoing rounds and rounds of ad review, and instead moving forward and then monitoring performance. For instance, the marketer can A/B test an ad and further optimize its performance.

Of course, following this school of thought means a company may be subject to mistakes. Sometimes these can be embarrassing, such as the social media fails we hear from big brands in the news from time to time. But remember, most of those brands are still in business, some with sales revenue that remain as high than ever. Save for a few outrageous errors, most customers are willing to forgive a company for a bit of a blunder. But that’s not the point: many of these massive fails are the result of hundreds of million dollar campaigns – so surely making a couple of tweaks isn’t going to destroy your business forever.

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For more ideas as to how your company can implement lean marketing methodology, contact us today to see how we can help!

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The benefit of testing and iterating process in marketing is to initiate a learning experience. In launching a massive campaign with a huge budget, you might have some indication that it’s going to be successful based on field research and a plethora of other factors. But, you can never really be certain. Just ask the team behind New Coke or any of one of a number of other major marketing blunders. So, by starting small, lean methodology allows a company to begin by testing, and then moving full-steam ahead with a campaign once results have afforded the marketing team with enough data to further drive the campaign.

By setting smaller goals and iterating in the moment, companies may work more efficiently, and can have successful programs to hit the market more than once in a blue moon. This lean marketing methodology is catching on all over the world, as businesses realize the impact of starting small to then go big.

If you’re looking for a business breakthrough, why wait when you can start right now? Let us help you apply lean marketing methodologies within your company – contact us today!

Venturing Beyond the Fold in Web Design, Exploring New Designs

It’s time to have the talk- yes, the talk about scrolling. Everyone does it. You do it. We do it. Your grandmother does it. We all scroll through web pages- especially if we love the content. One of the biggest concerns brands have regarding their website is content exposure. The big question is, “Are visitors scrolling through my website or just glancing above the fold?”

Scrolling is Habitual

Today, scrolling down web pages is second nature to many computer users. [quote] Apple felt so confident in this statement that they removed the scrollbar from their recent Mac OSX update.[/quote] Scrolling plays a key role across all social media platforms. The 1.82 billion social users prefer to expose themselves to more and more content by scrolling through feeds. Sites that have parallax scrolling features have the cleanest conversions in terms of usability across desktop and mobile platforms.

Exploring Below the Fold

Back in the golden age of print media, newspapers would be folded in half on newsstands, and the top half was designated for the juiciest news to a grab reader’s attention and the same goes for websites. The information you want your audience to see should be placed at the top of the page, but it is important to follow certain design principles to keep visitors intrigued to keep scrolling for more. Major brand website’s like that of Burberry have less content above the fold to encourage users to venture beyond the fold by use of its alluring hero image. CX Parners notes: “ The screens show two different design treatments for the hero slot on the homepage. The surprising thing we have learnt was that actually having less above the fold (one large content block as opposed to 2 smaller ones) encouraged exploration below the fold.”

Less is More

Adopting a cleaner and simpler style, such as parallax scrolling, will not only make your website better-looking, but it will also assist in positioning your brand as modern, up-to-date, and innovative. If users visit your site and are curious in the content you have above the fold, they will scroll away. However, to ensure website visitors are doing what you want them to do, be sure to follow design principles including less is more, avoid horizontal lines, and avoid in-page scroll bars.

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Looking to optimize your site layout? Let BIGEYE improve your website to be even more user friendly! Contact us today, and we can guide your vision toward success!

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Know the Difference, Content Creation vs Content Curation

At our Orlando marketing agency, we know we live in an era where content is key. Good content can help engage your community, keep your business relevant in the eyes of your audience and can even impact your business’s ranking in search. But, good content doesn’t come without a cost, and even within that framework, different types of content generate different types of results.
However, one of the questions we come across most frequently in talking about content is whether it’s more efficient to create content, or to curate it. First, let’s discuss the difference between content creation vs content curation.

Content Creation

Content created by your marketing team or business helps you get your own perspectives into the hands of your audience. This is typically comprised of things like original tweets, blogs, Facebook posts, infographics and all other content that someone creates on behalf of your business that you could potentially share via social media, website or email marketing.

The benefit of this type of content is that if it’s shared, it’ll directly point others back to your business. Some studies show that original content is more helpful in creating conversions. This may be because original content about your area of expertise helps to build trust with the audience who will ultimately purchase from your company.

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Don’t have the time to create your own content? Let BIGEYE‘s copywriters handle it. Contact us today, and we will set up your business for success!

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However, content creation can take significant effort to maintain. Many people start businesses and plan to incorporate blogs, only to find that blogging takes a lot of time and resources, resources you may not have if your business is working with a small staff. Still, these businesses seek to continue to create content in order to help maintain visibility and establish trust with their audience.

Content Curation

Content curation is the act of sharing content created by others. This might mean an interesting article, a great visual, an interesting tweet or even just a funny gif.

Sites like Twitter make it extremely easy to share others’ content, but even sites like LinkedIn fill their content base by relying mostly on content created by others. For companies that primarily curate content, people can come to rely on your business as a great way to seek content on a variety of relevant topics that reach your target audience.

Content curation typically takes less effort than content creation, but it’s still important to take the time to read each piece of content to make sure it’s completely on brand, and proposes an opinion you’re willing to support.

Posts linking to third-party content tend to get more clicks. Realistically, the best content on the web probably comes from large media organizations with high brand recognition, so it makes sense that links from smaller sites might not have as many clicks.

Content Creation and Content Curation: The Sweet Spot

Many effective strategies apply a mix of each of these. Businesses can supplement some original content with content from third parties in order to help keep the original content flowing. This is a solid balance between the struggles of maintaining original content and the more passive engagement of curating content.

In terms of conversions, companies that balance both types of content seem to generate the most conversions, according to Convince and Convert.[quote]Simply curating content doesn’t do enough to generate interest in your own brand, while creating all your own content comes across as self-promotion.[/quote] Companies should aim to link to others’content 50-75% of the time. This means that in additional to posting original content on your feeds, you should also be following your favorite companies, brands and influencers, and be willing to share their ideas in order to help your business become a go-to spot for the most current and up-to-date content in your industry.

The team at our Orlando ad agency can show you numerous ways to use content to help generate conversions for your business. Contact us, and let us show help show you the sweet spot for content creation and curation that will help generate the most conversions.

How to Maximize Budgets with Website Testing Tools

If you’ve been working in marketing for a while, you probably understand the importance of testing, at least on a theoretical level. When it comes to all things digital, website testing can help you optimize all your processes. But in the real world, when is there ever time to test? Unfortunately, failing to test means you’re relying on blind chance that your marketing plan will work. By failing to take the time to test your strategy in order to improve it, you could be costing your company tons of time and resources.

At our Orlando marketing agency, we believe testing is one of the most important aspects of marketing, yet I see many marketers that allocate only a fraction of their budgeted resources to testing. If you’re not testing your marketing strategies, then you are missing out on chances to greatly optimize and improve your marketing and advertising activities.

If you haven’t already, I implore you to sign your business up for Google Analytics. It is incredibly easy to sign up for Google Analytics, and companies that have not already implemented this data are at a disadvantage in understanding their audiences, user activities and the effectiveness of their marketing strategy. Then, start changing things on your websites to see if you can notice improvements. Does simply changing the verbiage of a call to action increase your site’s conversion rate? You’ll never know unless you test!

Engagement metrics such as pages-per-visit, time on page and micro-conversions are great for measuring your whether people are investing their time and energy into your content strategy. Setting up goals is a great way to help track what you’re doing. This can be an email metric, an actual financial conversion or filling out a lead form. And, if you aren’t seeing results, then try making minor adjustments to the site content to see what helps.[quote]Sometimes something as simple as changing the color of a call to action button on a landing page can help to increase clicks.[/quote]

Facebook also shares data about the demographics of your users, and by pulling out the demographic data from Facebook it becomes easier to design a comprehensive content strategy. Sharing metrics can also help gage the effectiveness of individual pieces of content. Compare something humorous to something simply informative. Do you see a difference in response? If so, then perhaps you’re learning that your readers’tastes, and knowing what resonates with your audience can help improve your conversions over time.

You can also help boost the reach of your content by investing in your content marketing. Promoted tweets and sponsored stories are great ways to amplify your efforts. Extremely focused keywords can be very cheap, leading to a very cheep per-visit rate. These stories should be interesting, rather than self-promotional. As much as possible, it should seem thoughtful and organic. Test these by trying variations of different posts, and see which ones maximize results. Most platforms that offer promoted options also offer analytics to help review the effectiveness of your paid media.

In testing the effectiveness of your marketing, marketers should also plan to invest in A/B testing. A/B testing involves replicating the exact same test, with a single variable that looks different to different audiences. Ideally, it works best to try only one variable at a time, but we know that in the fast-paced world of marketing, that’s not always possible. Still, any insights you glean from A/B testing can help validate ideas about how your audience reacts to different messaging and imagery. One of the easiest places to start A/B testing is with email marketing. MailChimp.com and ConstantContact.com both make A/B testing easy.

Failure to test can cost companies thousands of dollars per year. By making sure you content is optimized for your audience, you can persuade even more people to use your product or invest in your service. At our averting agency in Orlando, we believe that if you want to be the best, you have to test! The resources it takes to test early on can help save your company money in the long-term.

BIGEYE offers a plethora of website testing services including website conversion optimization where we can help you to establish goals, launch A/B testing, deliver monthly reporting and analysis and more. Contact us today to get started!

6 things to Look For When Selecting Email Marketing Services

Recently, a entrepreneur reached out to me, seeking my opinion on the best email marketing services for his business. It would have been easy to offer up a few answers and tell him to just choose the cheapest option —but at our Florida advertising agency, we’re also strategists, and we know there’s much more to it then choosing the company that’s offering the cheapest deal right off the bat.
In this case, this business owner was in need of advice to assist his startup with a small email list. His plan: to generate messaging via a weekly or monthly email newsletter. Sounds simple enough, right? Many people would have directed him immediately to MailChimp, an email marketing service that offers its services for free for up to 2,000 subscribers and up to 12,000 emails a month.

And, indeed, MailChimp would be the best service had he been looking to never grow beyond 2,000 subscribers. But we’re marketers, and we know that one of the goals of initiating an email marketing plan is to gain quality new subscribers. There’s a reason MailChimp operates under a freemium business model —its team knows that once you’ve put in the work to build your email list up to more than 2,000 people, you aren’t likely to swap email marketing services because you’ve already taken so much time to learn all of MailChimp’s features.

[quote]When deciding which email marketing service works for your business, it’s important to think long-term.[/quote]Where do you expect your business to be in a year? In five years? If you’re a growing commerce business with a popular product, it’s likely that you’ll have well over 2,000 subscribers within the year.

So, which email marketing service is best for your business? Well, it depends on your business needs. Many of the email marketing services offer free trials, so it’s worth it to sign up with those and do some investigating on your own. That said, we understand it isn’t always realistic to do months of testing to choose an email marketing service.

Here are 6 essentials to look for when investigating the most appropriate email marketing service:

1. Templates: How easy is it to build a sleek, well-designed email? And, once you have that template, how difficult is it to optimize it? If you find yourself wasting valuable time trying to work out the kinks, then you might need to go with a different provider.

2. Analytics: What kinds of analytic data can the service give you about your customers? And, how easy it is to navigate the numbers? Does the tool offer suggestions to help you improve those metrics? Be sure to have a baseline familiarity with the service provider’s analytic features before you commit to the provider.

3. Mobile Optimization: How do your emails look when someone opens them on mobile or tablet? In some industries, more than 50% of email opens are on mobile or tablet (and that number is growing every day).

4. Service: How does the email marketing service support its customers? Even as a marketing pro, you probably still don’t know as much about email marketing than the team that handles your business’s email marketing. That’s why customer service is essential —an email marketing service with pro coaching can help you optimize your emails to get optimal conversion rates.

5. Pricing Plans: Which service provider can give you the most bang for your buck? Because there are so many variances in features and capabilities, it’s important to think long-term rather than going with the cheapest option. Figure out your goals, and then choose the best solution to help you reach them.

6. Ability to Grow: As your business continues to grow and evolve, you’ll become aware of the need for more and more features. Some email marketing service providers remain in close contact with their clients, adding new features regularly to keep up with changes in the email marketing landscape.

While we don’t want to advocate for any email marketing service that may not be right for your business needs, here are a few worth checking out.

Constant Contact

Boomerang

MailChimp

iContact

Aweber

Campaign Monitor

Are there other things you look for when selecting an email marketing service? The team at our Orlando marketing agency wants to know! Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Unleashing the Power of LinkedIn for Business Development

It’s no secret that LinkedIn is an incredibly valuable networking tool. However, like all social channels, LinkedIn isn’t simply about the number of connections. Business owners that know how to leverage LinkedIn can build it into their business development strategies, helping them to create strategic partnerships with people who have compelling experience or interesting skills to help grow the business.

Business owners who want to use LinkedIn for business development efforts may accomplish this in a variety of ways. LinkedIn offers areas for sponsored content, which means that if you can provide interesting content specific to your industry, you can use paid LinkedIn marketing to grow your business and your personal brand by solidifying yourself as a thought leader in your area of expertise.

However, while paid placements can be tremendously valuable, the platform is really about the engagement.[quote]It’s more than simply posting updates and interesting articles, though that’s a great starting point.[/quote] If you want to be truly effective at using LinkedIn, it’s important to incorporate it into your overall business development initiatives.

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One of the easiest ways to get started using LinkedIn to help grow business is to develop a strategy. This way, you can create goals and desired outcomes, and can even create a playbook of best practices.

Because LinkedIn is a professional social media outlet, as opposed to Facebook or Twitter, which are designed more for general interest, it’s easy to overlook the effectiveness of creating a LinkedIn campaign the way you’d create a Facebook or Twitter campaign. But, if you’re planning to attend a conference soon, you can develop a creative LinkedIn campaign to do outreach, with an attempt to set up meetings prior to the conference or introduce yourself to noted speakers. Or, if you’re pushing out a new product, you can reach out to your network on LinkedIn for feedback and validation. Hearing from people in your related field can prove much more valuable than the feedback you might get from friends and family. Active involvement with LinkedIn groups and engagement with your favorite companies is a great way to make the most of LinkedIn.

In using LinkedIn as an effective business development tool, it’s important to consider the value proposition you’re offering. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time, and this holds especially true if you’re reaching out to a person in a powerful position to help you achieve your business goals. If you’re asking someone for a meeting, think about what you can offer him or her. Is it as simple as a cup of coffee, or can you offer to introduce that person to someone else who might be in a position to help them? Having an idea in mind of how you can help them is a great way to facilitate contact, and creates a more tailored experience than just a sales pitch.

Like any campaign, using LinkedIn as an outreach tool requires testing and optimization. Experiment with InMail subject lines and outreach strategies. Creating goals can help you measure the success of your campaign, and can help you revise future campaigns to make them more effective.

If you’re having trouble managing your contacts due to the sheer breadth of them, look into using tools such as Contactually to help store and manage your contacts. This program provides easy ways to keep in touch, so that your contacts remain on your “hot leads” list until you close a deal.

Contact our team of strategists today for more LinkedIn expertise!