/ Digital Marketing

3 Digital Marketing Trends We Hope Are Going Out of Style in 2017

Cari Rosenberger

marketing meeting

For me, going home for the holidays often means three things: lots of laughter, lots of good food, and lots of time going through old photo albums filled with family memories and lots of questionable fashion choices.

For some reason, a good portion of my childhood was spent obsessed with wearing patterned vests, a high pony tail secured by not just one, but at least three scrunchies, and a fanny pack, which, while useful for holding my Bonnie Bell Lip Smacker® was terribly hideous.

But these crimes against fashion weren’t completely my fault. After all, that was the trend.

Every industry has fads that come and go. Marketing is no exception. There was a time when direct mail ruled all. There was another time when flash-based websites were all the rage. And then there was another time when inbound marketing had a big moment.

There’s no doubt that 2017 will bring its own set of new marketing fads, particularly when it comes to digital marketing. But until then, here’s some trends we hope end up the way of patterned vests, scrunchies, and fanny packs—gone for good.

Using Clickbait to Get More Traffic

It’s old news that brands are producing more content than ever. And with content production reported to increase 600% by 2020, many companies have resorted to using clickbait strategies with the purpose of getting more eyes on their content and increase traffic to their website.

While clickbait strategies started with publishers, it has since moved on to include major retail and consumer brands, as well as B2B brands. This type of content often includes clever headlines alongside eye-catching creative. However, upon viewing such articles, consumers are often left with content that lacks quality information, and many times, don’t live up to their headlines.

While these clickbait strategies do increase website traffic, the benefits pretty much stop there. An increase in traffic that can be credited back to the content you’re producing is only worthwhile if it’s working to increase engagement, and ultimately, conversions.

Instead of using a clickbait strategy, focus on creating content that is based on your audience needs and wants. Every piece of content should have value and help maintain, if not increase, your brand reputation. And most important of all, every piece of content should have a grander end goal behind it. You may get less views, but the quality of those views will be much higher.

Using Pop-Up Banners on Mobile to Gain Subscribers

You perform a search on Google using your smartphone. You find a website that seems to fit your need. You click on the result and begin reading. And just as you’re about to scroll down to find the information you wanted, the screen of your mobile device is suddenly blocked by a pop-up asking if you want to subscriber to that brand’s e-newsletter.

True, lightboxes and pop-ups have shown to be effective in helping brands gain new subscribers. For years, this has been the go-to method for many email marketers as a way to steadily increase their list size.

The downside to this method is that many website visitors enter their email addresses hastily, using it as a way to close the lightbox and return to what they were doing. In turn, this can lead to adding subscribers that aren’t necessarily going to engage with your emails in the future, driving down your ROI.

And soon, these types of pop-ups could have an impact on your mobile search rankings. Starting in 2017, the use of lightboxes or pop-ups that make content less accessible to visitors will be added to the long list of ranking factors Google uses when determining whether or not to show your website in search results. With a reported 60% of all searches being performed on a mobile device, that little pop-up could cause big problems.

Instead of blocking your content, opt for smaller banners that can be easily dismissed and don’t poorly impact the user experience. Here are some formats Google recommends in lieu of traditional pop-ups.

Creating Content for the Sole Purpose of Going Viral

Blog posts, news articles, photos, infographics, videos—these all have the potential to achieve that “gone viral” status that every marketer, whether they’ll admit it out loud or not, hopes to achieve.

There are a number of tips that experts put out there to help increase the chances of helping your content go viral. They include things like understanding your audiences needs and wants, creating content that creates an emotional connection, creating content that is useful, connecting with influencers to promote your content, etc.

Essentially, the tips for going viral are the same best practices you should be putting into every piece of content you put out there, not just those you are creating for the sole purpose of “going viral”.

Instead of thinking in terms of viral content, which, when achieved, result in short-term traffic spikes, think about how every piece of content can work to help you reach your audience in a slow and steady manner. In other words, focus your strategy on long-term, steady growth instead of temporary spikes that don’t have a long shelf-life.

Of course, when a digital marketing trends fades away, it is quickly replaced by something new. No matter what trends emerge in 2017, it’s important to remember that not every new fad is right for every brand. Always take the time to fully strategize and formulize a clear goal around any new marketing efforts, whether you’re exploring an established digital marketing best practice or just playing around with the latest trend.

/ News

Pierry Inc. Opens Innovation Hub at Louisiana Tech University

Pierry Inc.

New Pierry Office at the Tech Pointe Enterprise Campus Brings
Silicon Valley to North Louisiana;
~
Pierry will Host an Open House for Students, Faculty & Media
Thursday, January 19th, from 5pm-7pm in Tech Pointe, Room 219

Redwood City, Calif., January 12, 2017 – Pierry, an industry-leading marketing software and solutions company, today announced it has opened an office in Ruston, Louisiana, on the campus of Louisiana Tech University. The office, which is expected to employ a mix of students and full time employees, will serve as an innovation hub for the Company and the University, implementing state-of-the art digital software solutions for a variety of clients in the region and throughout the United States.

“Pierry is extremely pleased to open this office at my alma-mater, Louisiana Tech, as it provides us with on-the-ground implementation resources, establishes a foothold in the Southeastern region of the US, and gives us a first-look at some of the amazing talent coming out of the University,” said Ben Lee, Chief Marketing Officer of Pierry (LA Tech ’04). “Our LA Tech outpost is also an opportunity to bring a bit of Silicon Valley to North Louisiana, giving the students an opportunity to get real-world experience in the rapidly growing field of digital marketing, and get a taste of what working with a start-up tech company is like.”

Named the 538th fastest growing company by Inc. Magazine in their 2016 “Inc. 5000” list, and #6 Fastest Growing Company in the San Francisco Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times, Pierry – which began as a team of 2 people in the emerging digital marketing space in 2008 – now has employees in offices throughout the United States and in Japan, and serves a wide range of clients, from start-ups to multi-billion dollar global brands. Pierry coined the term MaaS (Marketing as a Service) to describe the unique way it helps its clients design, develop and execute marketing solutions that dramatically improve efficiency and impact, and increase ROI.

“The partnership between Louisiana Tech University and Pierry Inc. brings together two innovative and entrepreneurial organizations. It’s great to see Ben Lee, a Tech grad, reaching back to his alma mater to connect Ruston and Silicon Valley,” said Dr. Dave Norris, Chief Innovation Officer, Louisiana Tech University. “We are excited about what a leading-edge company like Pierry can bring to our campus and to the community.”

About Pierry

Ranked #6 in the “2016 Fastest Growing Companies” by the San Francisco Business Times, and #538 in the 2016 Inc. 5000, Pierry helps companies optimize their digital marketing campaigns through Salesforce Marketing Cloud implementations, email campaign creation and management, creative services, and marketing strategy. Founded in 2008 by Josh Pierry, the company has grown into a global preferred digital marketing partner for companies in all sectors, and now has offices in Redwood City, CA, Boulder, CO, Cleveland, OH, Ruston, LA, Albany, NY and Kyoto, Japan. For more information about Pierry, visit www.pierryinc.com.

Media Inquiries:
Colby Zintl
czintl@pierryinc.com

Louisiana-Based Inquiries
William Dearmon
wdearmon@pierryinc.com

/ Digital Marketing

UTM Codes: Tracking Down Success

Michael Egan

Woman typing on keyboard

It’s marketing dogma that if at first you don’t succeed, test and test again. But if you’re not properly tracking the performance of each of your marketing efforts, what to test, and how, will be based on notions, not facts.

In order to properly surmise which of your marketing efforts are succeeding, as well as areas to test, test again, you need a way to easily identify each element of your website, social media campaigns, and e-mails. For that you’ll need a little something called UTM codes.

WHAT IS A UTM CODE?

UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module and is named after the software company bought by Google in 2005. These codes are segments of text that are added to URLs and allow programs like Google Analytics and other analytics tools to track performance at a link level. They also allow you to pull additional data from your digital marketing campaigns across different reporting platforms.

For example, say you make a Twitter post that includes a link to content on your website. By adding a UTM code to the Twitter link, you can track how many people clicked the link to visit your website. This might sound like small potatoes on its own, but when you’re running multiple campaigns to attract traffic to your site across different platforms, it’s incredibly useful to know exactly what source or campaign is helping to drive traffic.

DECODING UTM

UTM codes are made up of bits of text called “parameters” that track particular data sets. The most commonly used parameters are:

• utm_campaign = (internal campaign name)
This code gathers the data pertaining to one of your campaigns.

• utm_source = (google, newsletter)
This code identifies which website is the source of incoming traffic.

• utm_medium = (cpc, social, email, display)
Social media? Guest post? E-Newsletter? This code identifies what medium directed the traffic towards your site.

Other commonly used parameters include:

• utm_content = (ad title, ad dimensions)
• utm_term = (cpc keyword)

It may not seem like it at first glance, but setting up UTM codes on each individual link can make it easy to sort through all your data later on.

CREATING A UTM CODE

What do you want to learn from your traffic? That’s the first question any marketer needs to ask themselves before creating any UTM Code. The answer to this question could range anywhere from wanting to know if a particular content marketing campaign leads to more conversions than another. Those with e-Commerce tracking could use UTM codes to better understand not only the individual source of revenue, but the campaign that drove it in.

UTM codes are also great for helping to better understand where your most engaged audience is hiding—be it social, email, organic, or paid.

Once you know what you’re hoping to learn, you can start building out your UTM parameters. Keep in mind, consistency is key in helping you get the most accurate metrics. For example, let’s say you want to track the performance of a whitepaper that you’re promoting across multiple mediums, including paid, social and email. Here’s how you might set that up for each channel:

Source = adwords or twitter or promo
Medium = PPC or Social or Email
Campaign = MyWhitepaper11.16

Because you are mainly concerned with understanding how each individual medium contributed to the success of your whitepaper campaign, only the “medium” parameter needs to be different in this scenario.

And as a result, you’ll produce 3 URLs that looks something like this:

https://www.sample.com/?utm_source=adwords&utm_medium=ppc&utm_campaign=MyWhitepaper11.16
https://www.sample.com/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=MyWhitepaper11.16
https://www.sample.com/?utm_source=promoemail&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MyWhitepaper11.16

For more granular results, you can adjust the source accordingly, so that, for example, you could see how social as a medium performed, as well as how each individual social channel you’re on performed as well.

Again, consistency is key – make sure that you’re using the same UTMs within each individual effort. Assigning distinct parameters will make them much easier to track. Once you know the various layers you want better insights to, all you have to do is plug them in to a tool like Google’s URL Builder or the Effin Amazing Plugin to quickly generate your links.

PUTTING UTM CODES TO WORK IN ANALYTICS

Once in place, you’ll be able to use tracking tools like Google Analytics to put in data based on the source, medium, and/or campaign parameters you’ve established. And from there, the amount and types of data you’ll be able to find are essentially endless.

And if you follow the golden rule of consistency, you’ll be able to create custom reports based on the parameters you’ve set that, in some cases, can be set up once, and will update automatically. And since UTM parameters can be used across essentially any available reporting tool, you’ll have the ability to easily import that data when and where you need it for analysis.

So, as you’re planning out your next campaign, remember to include a plan for utilizing UTM codes. over time you’ll be able to determine which of your campaigns is most effectively driving traffic to your site, and use that information to adjust your approach. After all, it’s not enough to know that people are visiting your site. To be really successful, you’ll need to know how and why they got there, so that you can keep them coming back.

/ Social Media

Social Listening During The Holidays: Your Customers’ Gift To You

Michael Egan

Group on Social MediaThe holidays are the time of year when people open up and share their joy and appreciation for each other with celebrations and, of course, gifts. With so much of our social lives now online, and e-Commerce steadily growing as the preferred form of purchase among consumers, the holidays provide an incredible opportunity for digital marketers to learn more about their customers. All it takes is a little bit of listening—social listening, that is.

Social listening involves monitoring mentions of your brand, your products, or your services across social media platforms, and using those conversations to learn more about your customers and how to connect with them. Good social listening is essential for a marketer, mainly because your customers tell you exactly what they like and dislike about your brand.

BEST PRACTICES FOR SOCIAL LISTENING

With the right social listening program in place, brands can harness the power of social listening to guide their marketing and sales efforts through the holidays and beyond. But it is essential to follow a few best practices:

Know where to look – While most discussion of brands happens on the major outlets like Facebook and Twitter, customers can mention your brand anywhere on the web. It’s important to do some legwork and find out where and how your customer base communicates. Something as simple as setting up a Google Alert for your brand keywords, or other terms that would be related to your products or services can help uncover mentions of your brand by up-and-coming bloggers, resellers, third-party review sites and more.

Stay organized – Your brand’s relationship with your customers will not always be straightforward. People can interact positively or negatively with your product, and it’s important to create categories to keep track of what kind of reactions your brand inspires.

Analyze – This is where your social listening efforts pay off. By pooling and analyzing mentions on social media you will get a clear picture of the impression you’ve made on your audience. Use this data to fine-tune your future social media efforts.

GETTING YOUR SOCIAL LISTENING PROGRAM READY FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Having a social listening program in place year round is great. But even the most established programs have to make adjustments during the building holiday season, particular in November and December when shopping is expected to increase by 3.6% this year. Here are a few key practices to keep in mind particularly during this busy retail season:

Ride the holiday schedule – You really need to ramp up your social listening efforts right at the peak of the holiday season, which is generally the last week of November to the first week of December. In other words, if you start hearing “Jingle Bells” on the radio, it’s time to start listening.

Monitor individual products – Social listening tools such as Social Studio from Salesforce Marketing Cloud can help you set up keywords and phrases around each of your products, allowing you to compare the frequency and type of mentions, as well as the sentiments behind them. Many people use social media to find recommendations for gifts or special deals, so pay attention to what products are being suggested.

Pay close attention to the language consumers are using to talk about your products as well, as it can give you insights into how you could better communicate the features and benefits of your offerings.

Follow up – Social listening isn’t just about listening. Sometimes when customers mention your brand online it’s because they’re often interested and trying to learn more. Capitalize on frequent product mentions by engaging them online and replying to their posts. And of course, any direct questions posed to your brand online should always be addressed, as social listening provides incredible customer service opportunities, allowing your representatives to directly interact with customers and create a relationship between customer and brand.

THINKING BEYOND THE HOLIDAY SEASON

The holiday season will be over before you know it, but that doesn’t mean you can tune out on what consumers are saying about you online. Keep your social listening program on high alert well into the new year as consumers are using, returning, or looking to exchange products they received from your brand.

And remember, the opportunity to learn more about how your brand is being perceived online never ends. You’ll gain valuable insights when you monitor how the conversation shifts month over month, year over year, and season over season.

/ Email

The “Pixel Perfect Email” and 5 Other Common Email Myths

Lauren Jacenty

office and business work elements

Much like Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster, the ability to code the perfect email—one that renders perfectly and consistently across all platforms—is a complete myth. While some claim they’ve seen it in the wild, these tales are few and far between. And to email developers, these stories feel more than just a bit far-fetched.

Email marketing is known for generating $38 for every $1 you invest in your program. And this great ROI may be what keeps brands coming back to email year-after-year. It’s a proven way to keep in touch with your customers and prospects. And when done with the right strategy, you can see a great ROI for your program.

But just because something is effective, doesn’t mean it’s easy. Which is why we all need to stop believing in many of these common myths about email development, testing and deployment.

Myth: When My Email is Sent to Me for Testing It Should Look Perfect.

Fact: Not Necessarily. In some cases, your email will come to your inbox looking exactly as you expected it to. But in most cases, that’s not how it works.

The Q&A or testing process is meant to help uncover rendering issues on as many email platforms as possible. At Pierry, we often include clients in this process as they may be using a different email client, viewing on a different browser, etc., than we are.

During the testing process you should expect to find problems—and embrace the ones you have. The more that’s found during this testing period, the less issues you can expect post-deployment.

Myth: If My Email Looks Good on One Email Client, it’ll Look Good on Every Email Client.

Fact: Every email client renders email differently.

Your code will often look different from platform to platform. For example, when looking at your email using Gmail on a Chrome browser, a button that has been coded to have rounded edges will appear to have square edges in Outlook 2013.

Why? Because every email client has different standards for the types of code it supports.

Myth: I Can Design My Email so It Renders Perfectly Across All Email Clients.

Fact: Technically, maybe. But you would be very limited in your design.

Single column emails have the highest likelihood to render well across devices, but even the simplest designs have no guarantees. Many falsely believe that an entirely imaged based email will be their best bet; however, not only will this greatly limit your email designs, but having a fully image-based email can increase the chances your messages will be flagged as spam.

Instead of worrying about rendering perfectly across every email client, consider how it will render across top email clients’[ such as Gmail, Apple iPhone, and Outlook 2013 and 2016. And remember, there will be variances across how it looks across each of these clients.

Myth: Once My Email Looks Right on an Email Client, it will Always Look Good on that Email Client.

Fact: When Email Clients Release Updates, this Can Change How Your Email Renders.

Email clients often release updates that can affect how an email renders. Popular clients such as Gmail and Outlook, in particular, are famous for releasing updates that affect how the code is processed, which can throw the design of your email out of whack.

In some cases, though, these changes can be a positive. Recently, Gmail announced that their latest update would support responsive design.

And because changes can happen at any time (and many times without warning) it’s important to properly test your email using both an email preview tool, such as Litmus, and by sending to test email accounts across several clients including Gmail, Outlook, AOL, and Yahoo! when possible.

Myth: If it Looks Good in an Email Preview Tool, it’ll Look Good Live.

Fact: In 98% of Cases Email Preview Tools Are Accurate.

Okay, that 98% isn’t a scientific number, but if you’re running your email through an email preview tool, such as Litmus, you’re likely to get the most accurate view of your email across 35 different email clients.

But sometimes these tools don’t receive recent email client updates fast enough, which again, is another reason you want to test your email across test accounts on several email clients.

In rare cases, you can follow all proper testing procedures for an email, wait 24 hours to send, and still run into an issue you hadn’t anticipated due to an update that was released at some point between testing and deployment.

Myth: My Email Should Look Exactly Like the Mock, Down to the Pixel.

Fact: It’s Nearly Impossible to Have a Pixel Perfect Email Across all Email Clients and Devices.

Again, because of how different email clients render email code, you’ll never achieve this. And that’s okay! At the end of the day, you just want to make sure your email is visually appealing and renders in a way that doesn’t impact the user experience.

Until we have email coding standards, it’s best for every email developer, digital marketer, and CMO to stop mistaking the many myths surrounding email as facts. Instead, focus on designing and coding your email around providing the best user experience possible for the largest number of people.

And don’t be afraid to test new things just because it may not render properly across every single client or device. Interactive email components like gifs, live inventory updates, or loyalty point information may not always be supported across all email clients, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them. Instead, make sure you put the proper media queries and contingencies in place to show users something that is supported by their email client of choice.

/ Pierry Gives Back

Pierry Gives Back: Re-Plate

Jessica Macintyre

Collecting food donations

What’s for lunch? This is a common question heard around the office, particularly on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when we have lunch brought in for free. Not only is having free lunches in the office twice a week a great perk for Pierry employees, but it also gives us all designated time to sit down, take a break, and share a meal together.

But meals don’t come so easy for many across the U.S., especially in the San Francisco Bay area where an estimated 1 in 4 go hungry every day, surpassing the estimated national statistic of 1 in 6. That’s why Pierry’s Redwood City office decided to team up with Re-Plate, a nonprofit food matching service that combines three of our favorite things around the office—technology, food, and giving back to the community.

Through their platform, Re-Plate is working to lower the Bay Area’s 1:4 hunger statistic by matching extra food from businesses and individuals with the communities that need them. Donating your food is as simple as filling out a form and waiting for someone to pick it up. That’s it.

While many times the lunches we have delivered are eaten immediately, we often find ourselves packing the refrigerator with our leftovers. And even though we encourage employees to finish what’s left the next day, they often sit there until the refrigerator is either overflowing with food, or has gone stale.

Our behavior is not atypical: Nearly 365 million pounds of food is wasted daily in the U.S., food that could go to someone who isn’t readily able to provide it for themselves. It’s a sad, eye-opening statistic, to say the least.

Since January 2016, Re-Plate has created over 77,000 meals and recovered nearly 93,000 pounds of food. We’re excited to be a part of helping to increase these numbers!

Currently, Re-Plate is available to those in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Oakland, New York City, and Brooklyn, with more to come. To learn more about Re-Plate, including how to donate food, visit www.re-plate.org.

/ Email

Keeping it Organic: How to Grow Your Email List the Healthy, Natural Way

Michael Egan

Small plant on pile of soil in the garden

Growing your subscriber list is a process that costs time and energy, but the rewards can be huge, helping you create repeat customers and build a stronger brand reputation. Of course, the choices you make when building your list can determine how well you’ll connect with your subscribers.

While you want your email list to grow, you also don’t want subscriber numbers to increase just for the sake of increasing. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to rapidly expand your list to as many people as possible. Customers who don’t know or care much about your brand will quickly unsubscribe, or worse, will consider your emails spam, which can damage your sender reputation—meaning those who actually want to hear from your brand may never actually see your messages.

Rather than stuffing the list with disengaged contacts who aren’t likely to bring return business, take the time to organically grow your list by attracting engaged customers who want here from your brand.

Get Their Attention (And Incentivize Them for It)

When done right, having a lightbox or pop-up on your website can be your #1 tool in growing your email list. In fact, one tester found that using lightboxes led to 1375% growth in subscribers.

But be sure to use your lightbox gracefully, or it could come off as annoying. Consider using scroll-triggered boxes that appear once a visitor has shown interest by scrolling down the page to read more. Or only have the lightbox appear after a set number of pages has been viewed. For example, a retailer could ask for visitors for their information after they’ve viewed 3 different products.

And remember, no website visitor will give you their information just for the sake of giving it. (Or at least they shouldn’t!) Your lightbox should get right to the point. Make sure your copy is punchy, clearly visible and includes a call-to-action that encourages visitors to subscribe to your list. This should include some kind of incentive such as 15% off their first purchase in the case of a B2C, or access to an exclusive downloadable ebook, in the case of a B2B.

Regardless of what you offer, make sure you have a clearly marked “close” button on the lightbox to prevent customers from getting frustrated.

Make it Easy to Subscribe

Your website’s layout and design can influence the amount of customers who elect to subscribe to your list. Add a subscribe button to your navigation or footer. Make sure the option to opt-in is immediately noticeable without being obtrusive or distracting.

If you have an e-commerce website, add an “Opt-In” button in your purchase process that customers can click to be automatically added to your subscription list. Be wary of “Opt-out” buttons, which customers must click to avoid being added to the list. These have been found to be much less effective, as customers may not see the button, and may not realize they are being automatically added to your list. Let them make their own conscious choice to opt-in—they’ll likely be more engaged in the long-run.

Ask for Referrals

Never underestimate the power of the email forward. Word-of-mouth recommendations are powerful and have been shown to have a huge impact on customer decisions. According to Nielson, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people—even if they don’t know them personally—over promotional content that comes directly from brands.

Provide shareable content in your emails and newsletters and help give your customers the opportunity to organically discuss your brand in a way that doesn’t feel forced or inauthentic.

And don’t be afraid to ask for a more direct referral. Something as simple as “Like this? Forward to a Friend!” can encourage your engaged subscribers to pass your promotion, newsletter, etc. on to someone they know.

Take the Call to Subscribe to Social Media

Facebook Ads or Twitter Lead Generation Cards can help you find new subscribers based on demographics, interests, and more. In other words, it can help you reach an interested audience and connect with them both on social and via email.

The advantage to this approach is that you can reliably expect your ads to be viewed by a large number of social media users, targeted to your specifications, and include the option to opt-in right in the ad.

The downside to this approach is it’s not exactly free. While the cost-per-click rates of social ads are much lower than that of traditional paid online ads, such as those run through Google Adwords, they are still an investment. The more successful your search, the more expensive it will be. Consider your resources when planning out a paid traffic approach, and make sure that your goals are clearly defined.

Make Connections the Old-Fashioned Way

Website tricks are nice for growing your list over time, but it’s hard to beat old-fashioned face-to-face brand advocacy. Making personal connections with potential subscribers can kickstart the relationship between brand and consumer. Consider opting-in subscribers networking events, tradeshows, or at your brick-and-mortar locations. You can even forge relationships with communities by partnering with local nonprofit or charity events. Think outside the box when looking for new subscribers and you might be surprised at the results.  Just make sure you’re always following the golden rule—build based on quality, not quantity.

It takes time to grow your list, but don’t give up! Over time you can iterate and refine to figure out the best approach to connect you and your customers. And remember, you only want subscribers on your list that have the highest likelihood of being engaged with your brand. A growing email list is nothing if you aren’t seeing an increase in opens, clicks, and conversions.

And of course, keep in mind that when customers subscribe to your list, it’s because they’re engaged with your brand and the relationship you’ve created with them.  Subscribing is just the first move. It’s up to you to ensure that relationship is engaging and rewarding for everyone.

/ Digital Marketing

5 Steps to Moving Your Digital Marketing Goals Out of the Shallow End

Cari Rosenberger

digital marketing dataThink about the current goals you have for your digital marketing program. Do they include boosting sales? Growing traffic to your website? Increasing subscriber engagement? And how are you measuring the success of these goals? Are you using metrics like page views, email opens, and total revenue stats?

If you answered yes to any of the above, I’ve got bad news for you. Your digital marketing program has no depth.

While digital marketing is no longer in its infancy, the way many marketers define its success certainly seems to be. Goals like “growing traffic” or “increasing engagement” are all we had to measure against in the onset of the digital marketing boom; all we really wanted was to see our website getting visitors, our social channels getting followers, and our email lists growing. The access to the data we had was limited. And we used this limited data to create strategies and establish benchmarks.

Today digital marketing gives us the ability to know more about our customers than ever before. We can see how they are interacting with our marketing materials, anticipate their needs, and provided a 1:1 experience that is targeted and relevant.

So why are so many of us still relying on vanity metrics like “page views” and “email opens” to drive our marketing strategy? It’s time to move your digital marketing program forward.

Here are 5 steps you can take to add some depth to your goals and keep them out of the shallow end:

1. Define the purpose of your digital marketing efforts.

This may seem trite, but have you actually ever thought about the purpose your digital marketing department serves and its impact on your organization as a whole? Much like every business has a mission statement, your digital marketing department should have one as well.

Your purpose should go beyond the basics of maintaining a digital presence for your brand. Think about what your department is trying to achieve through that digital presence. This could include things like building and maintaining a positive brand reputation and/or bringing awareness to the benefits of your brand’s products or services in order to bring in the highest quality leads for your sales team.

Don’t feel like you need to limit your mission to a single focus. Your department likely serves multiple purposes. And keep in mind, those purposes may change from year-to-year, so revisit your department mission statement each year to re-evaluate and update as needed.

2. Establish your KPIs.

What, numerically, are you trying to achieve? This is your key performance indicator, or KPI. And establishing these up-front can help shape both your goals and the preceding strategies you’ll put in place based on those goals.

KPIs should be specific in how they will impact the mission of your digital marketing department. For example, let’s say one purpose of your marketing department is to help increase sales. Your KPI may be to increase top of the funnel leads by 15% in the next 12 months.

It’s not enough to just set a KPl to help increase sales. You need to be more specific in how you define that increase, whether it’s a percentage or a dollar value.

3. Define metrics for regularly measuring success/failure.

Once your KPIs are established, you need to determine which metrics you’ll examine on a regular basis to determine whether or not you’re on track to reach them. The metrics you choose should help you directly measure your KPI.

If you’re looking to increase leads, you’d look at conversions and conversions-to-close ratios. You might also look to see if the content you’ve created to drive in more conversions is being engaged with by visitors, as well as path-to-conversion metrics.

Sometimes identifying metrics isn’t so clear-cut. Let’s say you establish a KPI to increase brand awareness by 30%. There’s no direct data point in Google Analytics, or any other analytics program, to directly measure that. Instead, you have to get a little creative. Reach metrics and follower metrics from your social media networks are one way to help measure brand awareness. New visitor metrics in Google Analytics can also give you some insights.

Think about the data you have access to and find the most direct way to use it as a point of measurement. Rule of thumb—if you have a KPI around it, you need to have a logical way to measure it. And sometimes that measurement may have to come from a few different areas.

4. Outline a brief marketing initiative for each KPI.

What will you need to do in order to reach each individual KPI? This could include things like additional content, new pages on the website, an A/B testing initiative, a new email newsletter, etc.

You don’t have to outline your whole strategy. Just give some thought to what you would need to implement in order to reach those KPIs.

5. Put it all together.

Now that you’ve taken the initial steps, setting non-vanity driven goals will be super simple. All you have to do is take what you’ve learned from the steps above and put it all together—Marketing Purpose + KPI + Metrics + Initiatives.

So for example, “In order to help increase company sales by 15%, the digital marketing department will create a new section of the website designed to help more top of the funnel sales convert and monitor the performance of these pages via engagement metrics, conversion metrics, as well as conversion-to-close metrics.”

Okay, it’s a bit of a mouthful compared to goals like “increase traffic to the website”, but it’s also a lot more impactful as it more specifically outlines what you are trying to achieve, where you want to achieve it, how you plan to achieve it, and how you’ll measure it.

Don’t let your digital marketing department run based on shallow goals that don’t mean anything. Instead, outline goals that clearly demonstrate what you’re looking to achieve and how. When you work with goals that have depth you’re better prepared to put together a truly robust digital marketing strategy, and you’ll have access to the types of information you need to adjust your strategy month over month, and year over year.

/ Pierry

Catching Up with the First Graduating Class of “Pierry Academy”

Jessica Macintyre

Pierry Academy GraduatesIt’s no secret that in the digital marketing world, the skills of developers are in high demand—particularly the skills of developers familiar with Salesforce and Salesforce Marketing Cloud. However, many the curriculum of most undergraduate programs and coding boot camps don’t have the opportunity to cover the many intricacies of these complex marketing platforms, meaning employers are left to fill that gap, often resorting to developers having to learn as they go on live-client accounts.

Needless to say, this system is not always ideal, especially when your client base is on a constant increase.

To remedy this, Pierry introduced “Pierry Academy” an intense 4-week pre-employment training program designed to train developers in the Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform and various integration processes.

All participants in the Pierry Academy were recent graduates from San Francisco’s General Assembly, a global network of campuses that provides technical, creative, and business training programs designed to prepare students for today’s technological needs. Each participant was interviewed by Pierry staff and chosen to participate in our Pierry Academy with the understanding that successful completion would result in permanent employment.

Over the course of four weeks, the Academy participants came to the Pierry headquarters in Redwood City, CA, where they participated in intense training sessions, while also gaining exposure to real-life, hands on client work.

We are happy to announce we had a 100% passing rate among our academy participants, giving them the knowledge and experience to not only work in Salesforce, but also some real-world experience dealing with the multiple, often complex implementation issues that our clients require

But what made Pierry Academy so successful? We caught up with three of our recent grads (Hila Vaisler, Ayush Jha and Bryan Smith) to discuss life after post-Academy:

What was your biggest takeaway from Pierry Academy?

Hila:

I really appreciated the technical knowledge that I gained from the class, especially since I haven’t worked in Salesforce and Marketing Cloud before. We learned its uses and how to create data extensions, Journeys etc. It was nice coming in as a group with people you went to school with, getting trained as group and working on projects together. It felt like a continuation of General Assembly because we were all together in a class setting.

Ayush:

I liked the opportunity to collaborate as a team, and having experienced implementation consultants come in and show how the teams behave and work together was helpful. Everyone was very accommodating and Pierry’s organizational structure made it easy to get to know everyone quickly.

Bryan:

I feel I got a much better understanding of the Salesforce atmosphere.

What was your favorite part about “Life at Pierry”?

Hila:

The people! It’s a younger environment with a lot of collaboration. And someone is always there to help when questions come up. Everyone is willing to drop what they are doing and help out, even if they are busy. All the functions outside of work are fun also– getting to meet the team in a more casual environment, plus having the dogs around is great.

Ayush:

The open atmosphere. I like knowing that as long as I work hard and am responsible for my tasks, then everything will go well. The youthful environment is great because people are more open to new ideas for tasks and projects.

Bryan:

The vibe and the people. It’s a work hard / play hard attitude.

What has been one of your biggest challenges since working at Pierry?

Hila:

Dodging all the nerf bullets!

Ayush:

Getting ready for the certifications has been tough and getting trained up on the tools takes time.

Bryan:

Working through the technical issues since I am new to the Salesforce platform.

What advice would you give to new hires at Pierry?

Hila:

Talk to everyone and ask questions, ask for examples of similar work that they have done in the past.

Ayush:

Focus on getting familiar with Salesforce and ExactTarget. Everyone is super helpful and is willing to help you.

Bryan:

Practice makes perfect. Make sure you go through the program and understand how it works and is set up.

We’re excited to see our recent Pierry Academy graduates working on projects and fully integrated into the day-to-day. As we continue to grow, we’ll be working to build more programs like Pierry Academy to not only help empower potential employees to build upon their skills, but to ensure every brand and company we partner with at Pierry has the resources to make their marketing technology needs a reality.

Congrats to the first graduating class of Pierry Academy! Excited to have you in the Pierry family and to see what you can do!