How Long Should Your Marketing Videos Be?

Over the past few years, video has been steadily gaining dominance on social media platforms. What’s more, many social media platforms have introduced increasingly video-focused algorithms meaning that social video is fast becoming a tool that businesses can’t ignore.

Video engagement can be a tricky business when your audience’s attention span is less than that of a goldfish’s (one second less to be exact). To that end, the guys at One Productions have created an informative infographic which outlines how long your next video should be. It includes key information about the state of video engagement in 2018, as well as some great tips and tricks advising how to tailor your video’s length to each social media channel, it also outlines how analytics can be used to monitor your video’s performance and shape future video content.

Do One Thing Every Day

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There are times in everyone’s career when we get bogged down in the day to day. When it seems like our to-do list is too long, and too full of tasks that don’t matter. When we feel helpless against the neverending slog of menial work.

It is precisely at those times when we need to execute a purposeful prioritization of our time.

Time management is key to becoming successful. It is key to ensuring you continue to have a positive impact on your company.

Reconsider Your To-Do List

The first step in breaking out of this struggle is to have an honest conversation with yourself about your daily tasks. Chances are, you have taken on more and more items over the weeks and months, without ever questioning them, and without ever removing items that were already on there.

That is a surefire way to over commit yourself.

Now is the time to consider them one by one. Is this something that has to get done? Is this something that I should be doing? Is this something that can be automated?

Asking yourself those questions should expose some of your daily tasks as frauds and time-wasters. Eliminate them until you get to a more manageable list, which gives you room to grow and have a larger impact – personally and professionally.

Define Your Goals

Next, you have to consider where you can have the greatest impact. Your time is the most valuable thing you have. You need to learn to use it wisely.

What are your specific goals? I like to bucket these into two different groups – personal goals and company goals.

Personal goals might include items that will help your career, your earning potential. Company goals are the areas you are responsible for when it comes to growing the business.

Clearly defining these goals – even to the point of writing them down – will help you identify those tasks you should be working on in support of your goals.

What’s Your One Thing?

Do one thing every day that brings you closer to your goals. This is not the same thing every day, but rather a new thing each day.

For example, if you goal is to improve the ROI of your email marketing programs, today’s one thing might be rolling out a new split test. If your goal is to learn data science, today’s one thing might be watching a 30 minute lesson online.

Whatever it is, make sure you make time for it. Accomplishing just one thing each day that matters will do two things for you.

First, it will help you get over the feeling that you’re not making progress. Suddenly, you will be able to see and experience the impact that you are having on your life and on your company’s performance.

Second, it will help you identify other areas where you can have an impact. You will find that there are ways to optimize your schedule and your routine to free yourself up to accomplish even more.

Commit to doing one new thing every day that takes you closer to your goals, and you’ll rediscover your sense of purpose.

Develop a Sure-Fire Referral Program

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Successful referral programs are like a winning lottery ticket. When you have one, its guaranteed money for life. Except there is one main difference:

Winning the lottery is luck. A successful referral program is the result of a lot of careful planning and strategy.

Every company talks about how to get more referrals, but very few are able to develop and launch a referral program that scales their business. Here’s why.

  • They only see things from the company’s perspective. By ignoring the customer or user experience, not enough thought goes into how useful the program is.
  • They set it and forget it. Companies rush to put a referral program in place and simply assume that because they have one, people will use it. They ignore the need to measure the program’s effectiveness and optimize it over time.

To develop a sure-fire referral program, companies need to do three things well.

1) Build the referral process into the experience itself

Too often, the refer-a-friend option takes people out of the normal flow of the customer experience. But the most successful referral programs are designed within the day-to-day experience of your user base.

Ecommerce and subscription models make this even easier, by providing ready access to the referral process in the checkout or deliver process. Dropbox allows you to share files with friends who might not already have an account. Spotify allows you to invite friends to a shared playlist or to share an album who might not already have an account.

When the referral options feel like part of everyday use of the product or service, they are more likely to get used.

2) Give your customers a reason to refer people

Incentives work wonders for any referral program. Customers want to know, “what’s in it for me?”

Some of the most successful referral programs have a monetary incentive. One of the earliest programs to go viral was a deposit program from ING Direct. The bank’s customers would receive deposits of $25 or $50 for everyone they referred who opened an account.

By offering special discounts or other perks, you are giving your customers a reason to refer people beyond the simple joy of telling your friends about a great product. You are tying your own success to their interests.

3) Automate the referral program for scale

Let’s face it, in order for your referral program to really drive growth today, it needs to be automated. A process that relies on manual oversight or execution is fine, but it is not going to efficiently scale your business.

When you automate the process, relying on software and other tools to manage who is referred, the delivery of the referral, the tracking and delivery of the reward or incentive, you create a system that works without human intervention. When this is done right, you truly can set it and forget it. It will work for one person, or ten, or a hundred.

When a 5-star Yelp Review Doesn’t Help Your Business

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If you run a business, Yelp can either be your best friend or your worst enemy.

Stories abound about the businesses that have been ruined by Yelp reviews. And I’m sure just as many local businesses have flourished, in part because of the positive experience of customers who raved about their experience on the platform.

The truth nowadays is, managing Yelp is a part of managing a business. Whether you like it or not, customers use it. They are going to review their experiences, and others are going to read those reviews when they are deciding whether or not to try you out. So the best thing you can do is have a plan, or a strategy, in place to solicit positive reviews and respond to negative ones.

But not all reviews are built the same. Some have a greater impact than others. And some have no impact whatsoever.

One would think that a 5-star review is a great thing. If you are managing a business, or it is your job to manage the reputation of a company on Yelp, a 5-star review is the holy grail.

Here’s where it gets a little shady.

Over the years, Yelp has consistently changed their policies on reviews. Early on, those business that advertised on Yelp had a lot of control over what reviews showed up on the platform and which did not – giving an unfair advantage to businesses with deeper pockets. A lawsuit ended this practice, or at least drove it further underground.

Today, Yelp relies on an algorithm to determine which reviews are “recommended” and which are not. Reviews that are not recommended are hidden. Businesses can still see them, but they do not show up for users, and they do not impact the overall rating shown on the Yelp listing for that company.

So some 5-star reviews (and some 4-star, 3-star, and so on) don’t count.

Yelp tells companies that a review will not be recommended if it is done by an inactive user. They also say the algorithm will identify reviews that were clearly provided because the company asked for it, anything that looks too much like a testimonial.

(Anyone that can tell me the difference between a testimonial and a positive review knows more than I do about the English language)

Yelp’s official policy is that companies should not ask for reviews from their customers (though they still supply window decals and other signage that suggests the opposite is true). So the only reviews their algorithm is supposed to recommend are the ones that look natural, like a frequent user supplied an unbiased review without any suggestion from the business.

To those of you out there whose job it is to manage a presence on Yelp, I feel for you.

Are You Leaving Money on the Table?

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Earlier this week we wrote about scale. Specifically, we wrote about scaling those marketing programs that you know are working.

Too often, marketers leave money on the table. And they don’t even know that they’re doing this.

Why? Because they aren’t scaling. They aren’t even trying. And there are a few reasons for that.

1. Next Big Thing Syndrome

Whether this says something about the type of people who wind up in the marketing field or the way technology has hurt our collective attention span, there is a tendency in many marketing departments to spend far too much time chasing the latest and greatest solution.

You might think that this is a good thing, that we should be moving forward and staying on the cutting edge. Unfortunately, most companies don’t have the budget or the bandwidth to operate this way. And what happens too often is that we sacrifice those programs and channels that are proven and reliable, ignoring opportunities to grow.

Before moving onto the next big thing, make sure you’re getting as much as you can out of your existing campaigns.

2. Budget Mismanagement

A common issue in companies of all sizes occurs during the budgeting process. When we put together the marketing budget for the upcoming month, quarter, or year, we do it backwards. We start with at the top, picking a number of dollars to spend, and then work our way down to individual campaigns and programs to determine what percentage of our money we should spend where.

The proper way to build a marketing budget is to start at the bottom and build up. Create line items for each channel or program that ensure you are maximizing those opportunities before moving on to the next one and adding them all up. If you are limited by budget, the things that get cut should be the ones that don’t have the ROI or the scale to support your business.

To avoid leaving money on the table, get smarter about how you budget.

3. Lack of C-suite Buy In

It’s not the CEO’s or CFO’s responsibility to make sure your marketing is optimized. It’s the marketing department’s job to convince them that what you’re doing is working. If you are able to do that effectively, there will be no hesitation to spending the money.

What often happens when there is opportunity to double-down on efficient marketing programs is that marketing stands there with their hands out, but those in control of the finances say no. It’s not because they don’t want to grow. It’s because we didn’t do our job to sell them on the potential of our plans.

To get C-suite buy in for those marketing programs that are working best, it is important to learn how to develop detailed plans and presentations. You want to show them exactly what value you can provide the business if they invest in your ideas.

4. Poor Execution

The last, and, unfortunately, most common reason marketers leave money on the table is simple lack of execution. In this case, the marketing team gets the buy-in they need, correctly measure ROI and chooses to invest in the right areas. But they go about growing their budgets in the wrong way.

To effectively scale, it is important to recognize what has succeeded to this point. Simply spending more money isn’t enough. You have to spend it in the right way. This means identifying the specific reasons for success – whether it’s the proper targeting, the right creative, or offers.

If all you end up doing is spending more to get the same results, you will have failed in your efforts to grow the business. So learn how to execute at scale if you want to succeed.