Free WordPress Tutorials

By | Advertising | No Comments

I often get requests from customers and friends who are trying to learn their way around WordPress. It’s such a powerful Content Management System, but sometimes its features and functionality aren’t 100% intuitive. This collection of free WordPress tutorials from the fine folks at iThemes is a great place to start learning about WordPress.

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While not free, check out these additional WordPress learning sites. They boast high quality production, introduction to more technically advanced skills, deep dives on specific WordPress features and functionality, etc.

The Best Email Subject Lines

By | Email Marketing | No Comments

The best email subject lines are obviously the ones that pique your recipient’s interest enough to open the message. Personalizing subject lines, using images in the subject line, and being thankful are all ways to coach a higher open rate. But, ultimately, we have to keep testing and look at the data to understand what works best.

Adestra is a British email services company that is also a trusted source of global email research data. Their 2015 Subject Line Report includes some insightful email marketing data. I thought this infographic about subject lines was useful. It’s the “thank you” that continues to shine through as the most effective subject line keyword!

2015-Subject-Line-Report-Infographic

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Crisis PR

By | Brand, Content Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

I’m in the process of moving offices. You know how it is when you move anywhere – you end up sifting through lots of old documents, notes, and so on. One of the notes I found was from a breakout session at some conference talking about communication, and it had to do with “Crisis PR.” I don’t remember the source, who was speaking, or any of the credible information that should be attributed to this advice. But it sounds cogent. So here you go:

How should you think about a communications plan when your company is suddenly on its heels because of a negative product issue or service problem?

  1. Communicate early and often. Communicating quickly and efficiently is paramount. Prioritize by communicating with key constituents, like business partners, coveted customers, employees.
  2. Provide consistent and accurate details. Describe exactly how the situation is being handled. Offer reassurance that your product or service will be available again soon.
  3. Use all available forms of communication.
    • Email
    • Phone
    • Press release
    • Social media
    • Live broadcast (Google Hangouts, Skype for Business)
    • Talk to reporters who cover your beat. Are there local media who would like to know?

So it’s really quite simple! The secret is to not be secretive. Best of luck with your next catastrophe.

After the dust settles…

Use the crisis as a segue to formulate a reinforced communication strategy.

  • How can your organization plan ahead for events like this even more effectively?
  • How can you make every communication count even more?
  • Do you need to assemble a thoughtful plan around convincing customers to return to you?
  • How can you personalize your organization? Can you put a familiar face and name along with it?
  • Are there ways you can blend your communications efforts?

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Pure Play E-Commerce Does Not Work

By | E-Commerce | No Comments

According to L2 Founder Scott Galloway, pure play E-Commerce doesn’t work. Galloway cites examples of large online retailers like Amazon that are struggling with keeping warehousing and shipping profitable. He remarks that bricks and mortar companies are still trying to figure out what their online presence should be, and online pure plays are still trying to figure out what their bricks and mortar presence should be.

My opinion is that organizations need to remain true to their core product distribution model. Regardless of whether we are discussing a titan like Amazon, or small business, companies need to use the internet to become more efficient and not necessarily replace their strategy.

If your product is information, or brokering a transaction, perhaps you can get away with being an internet pure play. But if you have physical product the Internet may only represent a way to become more efficient. Where are the bridges for online and offline? For Amazon or Google Shopping Express, the Internet is all about how they can make their product delivery more efficient and minimize warehousing. Automation efficiencies are worth a lot here. But online is solely used for product information.

Most B2B organizations are looking at their online presence as a lead generator. If their product isn’t software or information it is probably a physical product, service, or combination of both. B2B companies just want more leads from their Web site.

To Galloway’s point, most B2C product organizations need to determine what their physical world touch point is going to be and how to become more efficient with fulfillment. Then, how can the internet be used to make that experience better? If your a B2C company that sells through channel distributors, how can you equip your channel partners with excellent sales tools? What is your digital marketing strategy going to be? How will you complement advertising efforts and avoid the all-too-common advertising cannibalization scenario?

Relying solely on the Internet works for very few business models. Product or service fulfillment typically happens in the physical world. How can the internet help your organization make that a better experience?