Content Marketing World 2014 Wrap-Up: The Importance of Storytelling and the Future of Content

We all know that with all of the available content out there, it’s hard to differentiate your message from the next. Consumers nowadays have shorter time spans and with content clutter, it makes it difficult to create compelling content that people notice. More often, you get lost in the crowd of content overload, and your hard work isn’t rewarded with the attention it deserves.

At the Content Marketing World event last week in Ohio, lots of tips and tricks (and chocolate covered espresso beans!) were shared on how to make your company more relatable and how to make your content more digestible. But where do you start?

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Session Themes

Aside from his love of the color orange, content marketing guru Joe Pulizzi advised that it all begins with a strategy. Effective content marketers write their strategy down to provide direction, and they are able to execute more efficiently with clear goals and plan in front of them.

While writing down strategy is definitely effective, you also have to make sure that your strategy is centered around relevant content for the relevant audience.  One of my favorite speakers at the event, best-selling author Andrew Davis, told us about the four key elements to producing powerful content:

  1. Building suspense

  2. Fostering aspiration

  3. Driving empathy

  4. Harnessing emotion

The content you create must produce a moment of inspiration for the consumer; it must entice them to do something, say something, create something, think something, etc. He showed a powerful example of empowering an audience through content with a video about Cain’s arcade. Check out the video clip below and see for yourself!

What struck me the most throughout the conference is that the purpose of creating content is so much more than developing brand recognition or driving lead conversion; it is about sharing your story and creating a movement much bigger than yourself. Great content is equivalent to storytelling. When marketers tell stories, they have the opportunity to make people listen and care. When people listen and care, they are more likely to act. One of the most memorable quotes from the conference came from Shane Snow in his session on storytelling. He reminded us all that “those who tell stories don’t just rule the world, but they can change it.” A central theme at CMW was the emphasis on just how much power content marketers actually have- and just how little we have actually tapped into this power!http://www.newbalanceoutlet.cc joes new balance

Keynote speaker and actor Kevin Spacey wrapped up the event by re-emphasizing the importance of storytelling. He noted that people want to hear our stories, and all we have to do is give it to them. If we know our audience, we can create relevant and compelling content that will motivate and inspire them. Kevin noted that people are attracted to honest and relatable stories, and can often sense when a company is producing content for the sake of producing content. The three elements that he recommended we all begin with are creating conflict in our stories, being honest, and learning more about our audience. Easy enough, right? But how do we learn more about our audience?

Letting Content Guide Your Buyer’s Journey

SnapApp’s CEO Seth Lieberman and SilkRoad’s Director of Digital Marketing John Westby spoke on the concept of creating dialogues with your audience, and the importance of creating two-way communication in the marketing world. Their talk, “Make Your Buyers Journey Smooth as Silk By Building Interactive Customer Dialogues and Experiences”, gave a closer look as to how SilkRoad is successfully using interactive content to deliver more value to their customers at each stage of the buyer’s journey.board

 

They emphasized how the number one job of a marketer is to deliver value to your audience, and interactivity allows your audience to easily digest and find value in the content you create. By breaking down your lengthy content into bite size pieces, like assessments, personality quizzes, surveys, or interactive whitepapers, you are able to provide valuable information to your audience- and at the same time get some value back! Give your audience the chance to provide information about themselves, and you will be able to provide content that is more relevant and compelling for them.

 

 

Moral of the conference: The future of content marketing is mastering the art of storytelling!

The SnapApp platform can help you begin your journey as a storyteller by creating a dialogue with your audience. Want to learn more about how interactive content can help learn more about your audience?

Request A Demo

 

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Start A Dialogue At Content Marketing World

At SnapApp, we are ready to help marketers #EndMonologues and instead #BuildDialogues!

So we’re taking our message to the road as Gold Sponsors of Content Marketing World in Cleveland, OH September 9th-11th.

martechContent Marketing World is the LARGEST content marketing event on the planet and this year the keynote speak is Kevin Spacey (hopefully his alter ego Frank Underwood doesn’t show up and try to take over the event…). SnapApp CEO Seth Lieberman will also be presenting with SnapApp customer SilkRoad on creating amazing audience experiences. The session entitled: Make Your Buyers Journey Smooth as Silk By Building Interactive Customer Dialogues and Experiences is happening Wednesday, September 10th at 9:45am.

The SnapApp team will be at booth #34 to show attendees how to create amazing dialogues with interactive content. We’ll also be passing out conversation starters: chocolate covered espresso beans, tumblers, and more! Additionally, we’re raffling the latest form of storytelling: a GoPro! There will also be a surprise quiz for you to test your marketing knowledge….how much do you really know about content marketing?

Find out during Content Marketing World!

Take our quick poll to enter yourself into the raffle, then come visit us for another chance to win!

 
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3 Marketing Training Tips to Stay at the Top of Your Game

JumpropeWhen you work in marketing, it’s easy to get swept-up by the latest trends and fads. After all, we always want to be the best and ahead of our competition. Yet, as the field of marketing develops and evolves, core best practices around audience, content, and engagement remain the same.

So strap on your training shoes and let’s explore 3 base drills you should be doing all the time to make sure your marketing is at the top of its game.

1. Never Forget The Most Important Person: Your Customer

Marketers need to always be customer-obsessed. Our messages need to place the customer and prospective customer front and center. By highlighting content that fits their needs and challenges, we are validating that they are the most important person.

For your training drills, review your buyer personas and make sure that your marketing targets your customers. Then map your prospects and customers’ experiences with your content. Review their buyer’s journey and spot any gaps.

2. Find Your Voice, With Content

Marketing for Budweiser is very different than marketing for Stella Artois because each brand has a distinct voice and brand identity. Does your marketing match your own brand voice and identity? Are you leveraging that voice and identity in all your campaigns? Your content should match your voice whether it’s “cute” or “advisory”, your content should support who you are.

For your training drills, review your company’s mission statement and review all collateral and social channels to ensure consistency in voice. Then try creating some smaller pieces of content like a blog, poll or a quiz that help support your brand identity.

3. Provide Value And Drive Engagement

Your content should provide value and begin a dialogue with your prospects and customers. Whether is long-form evergreen content or quick short blog posts, every marketer needs to ensure that their audience gets something out of the interaction. Whether it’s an assessment, or ROI calculator, or white paper make sure you’re not wasting your audience’s time.

For your training drills, compare two pieces of content – your best performing and your lowest performing pieces – and contrast the value the customer receives from those pieces. Then take your best performing piece and outline other engaging content you can derive from it. For example, turn it into a blog post, create a guide or infographic, develop a personality test, or other type of content that engages your audience.

Get a jumpstart on your training with SnapApp’s 5-Day Marketing Bootcamp!

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Or schedule a personal training session!

Request A Demo

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SnapApp Of The Week: Endicia – 3 Essential Facts About USPS Price Changes

Endicia’s Interactive Quiz Simultaneously Provides and Collects Information

Many consumers spend a lot of time researching new products and services prior to making a purchase.  This research tends to be the first step in the buyer’s journey and is a great way to understand exactly what you are  getting before you invest.  In preparation for the September USPS rate increases, Endicia has made it easy for consumers to understand what this rate increase means for them.

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Endicia is an electronic postage solution which helps businesses endicia 1save time, money, and resources through more manageable and affordable mailing software solutions.  In an effort to prepare their customers for the USPS rate changes, Endicia has made it a priority to provided their customers with details about the implications of the changes.  The “3 Essential Facts about the USPS Price Change” not only provides information, but tests users’ knowledge of USPS priority mail pricing.

Using Creativity to Engage Audience

Endicia did a great job utilizing the functionality built into the SnapApp platform to make their informative quiz even more interesting.  Using non-question content pages, they have provided information between question pages to keep the audience as informed as possible.  They also used page transitions to make their app stand out.  To maintain consistency about the app’s theme, Endicia kept their header on all of the content pages, but switched out the rest of the content including information, images, and questions.

Eloqua Integration Seamlessly Delivers Leads from SnapApp to Database

In order to easily view the lead data that this engagement has helped collect, Endicia has integrated their SnapApp with Eloqua to collect information and update their mailing list.  This simple lead form requests that users register in order to be provided with the “Understanding Your Priority Mail Options” Guide.

Interactive Content Achieves Results for Customer and Audience

In just 3 short weeks, this interactive quiz has achieved a 57% question completion rate, 75% lead submission rate, and a 64% linkout click through rate.  By layering questions between important pieces of information, this SnapApp proves the true value of interactive content and its relevance to both customers and audiences.

Take a look at the quiz here!

Are you using interactive content marketing apps to engage your users like Endicia? Learn how you can get started now!

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Here at SnapApp, we love seeing the amazing, creative content that our customers build using SnapApp. From photo contests and bracket competitions to giveaways and sweepstakes, the SnapApps our customers build everyday continue to amaze us. Each week, our account managers will introduce you to one of the SnapApps we can’t stop talking about around the office.

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A SnapApp And Marketo Webinar – Filling Your Funnel With Interactive Content

How did SilkRoad – leading HR platform – generate thousands of leads and over $250,000 of new pipeline value? Through interactive content!

What’s their secret? Find out in a joint SnapApp and Marketo webinar. You will learn the keys to their success and learn how to:

  • Deliver valuable content experiences across the web, mobile, social and email
  • Increase lead volume and generate more inbound leads
  • Score and route leads more efficiently and effectively through marketing automation and engaging content
  • Create many types of interactive content to educate, entertain to convert prospects to the top of the funnel and engage them to keep them moving down the funnel
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So what are you waiting for? Discover how leveraging SnapApp and Marketo can help you deliver the right experience, to the right person at the right time.

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SnapApp Of The Week: eInvite – What Kind of Wedding Invitation Are You?

eInvite-ResultMake The Wedding Invitation Process Fun For Everyone

We all have to go through it whether we realize it or not: obtaining some presentable means of written or postage-sent correspondence. It may be for those dreaded thank you notes, to send an invitation to some exciting get-together, or perhaps you are just old fashioned and like to send snail mail notes to your friends. Some people truly don’t care what they are sending – just so long as it accomplishes what it needs to.

Get Creative By Finding  Your Inner Invitation

However most tend to be pretty particular when it comes to designing something like their wedding invitation. And to make this daunting task a little more fun, the experts at eInvite created their What Kind of Invitation Are You? personality assessment to lead participants to specific design suggestions based on their responses. In addition to seeing an image of your design match, users are also prompted to fill out their information to receive a free sample of the invitation.

eInvite Didn’t “Mail-It-In” With Their Personality Assessment

Besides giving their audience a fun engagement to interact with, eInvite is receiving a ton of additional value from this content. The personality assessment allows eInvite to showcase products that make sense to the user, as opposed to showing them a host of design styles at random. The user’s contact information combined with their response data, is allowing eInvite to build an intelligent profile about their audience.

With close to a 50% lead submission rate, they now have baseline information on things like favorite color and preferred style, which allows for more tailored marketing campaigns. Finally, eInvite may make deductions about their audience as a whole, perhaps influencing their brand messaging or choice of featured products.

So what kind of invitation are you? Find out here.

Are you using interactive content to engage your users like eInvite? Learn how you can get started now!

Here at SnapApp, we love seeing the amazing, creative content that our customers build using SnapApp. From photo contests and bracket competitions to giveaways and sweepstakes, the SnapApps our customers build everyday continue to amaze us. Each week, our account managers will introduce you to one of the SnapApps we can’t stop talking about around the office.

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MarTech 2014: A Celebration Of Unicorns

martechWhat do you call a marketing technologist? Five years ago, you might have called them a unicorn or another mythical beast. But a lot has changed in five years and at the MarTech conference, there were over 400 unicorns ready to learn how to become better marketers and use technology to solve problems – not have it create more of them.

Marketers are embracing technology and using it for powerful insights, and now have the ability to connect the dots to become more customer obsessed than ever before.  And while technology is evolving, the core of marketing – connecting with your audience ­– has not changed. The influx of technology and data should not drown marketers, but instead give them the power to make smarter decisions and try new, forward thinking technologies.

The risk of trying something new was a core message of the conference. As CEOs divert more resources and control of the technology budget to marketing, we must not be paralyzed. One of my favorite metaphors from the conference came from Mayur Gupta, Global Head of Marketing Technology and Operations of Kimberly Clark. He spoke about how the technology landscape is changing rapidly to meet the demands of consumers and how marketers today are standing on cracked ice. Moving forward is less risky than standing still.

The idea of trying something new and getting more creative with technology flowed throughout the conference. MarTech inspired marketers to ideate and reminded us that it is okay to fail or have a bad idea. The point is to keep trying. We all had a laugh as well when Mayur Gupta showed how easy it is for some to kill a good idea. Check out the video clip below and see for yourself.

SnapApp’s CEO, Seth Lieberman, also spoke on the importance of trying something new and delivering more to your audience. His talk, “Engaging Content for the Buyer’s Journey: Create Dialogues, Not Monologues”, touched on how imperative it is to find technology that supports interaction and engagement with your audience. We are all tried of getting messages pushed at us, so let’s create experiences that delight, question, and push us – in a nutshell, talk with your prospects, not at them.

As much as marketers love a good 15-page white paper, when was the last time you can honestly say you had the time to sit down and read one? Seth encouraged attendees to think outside the box, and try creating a personality quiz, assessment, survey, or interactive white paper to deliver VALUE to your prospects and customers. It will also turn that hard to digest white paper into easy, consumable pieces (think a giant tuna vs. sushi).

We cannot be afraid to try something new and use technology to enable us to more.

The SnapApp platform personifies forward thinking marketers and inspires them to create rich dialogues with their audience. Want to learn how and see interactive content in action?

Request A Demo

Attend our webinar with Marketo and SnapApp customer SilkRoad on Tuesday, August 26thRegister here!

_Webinar__Interactive_Content_Marketing__The_Future_of_Your_Funnel

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SnapApp And The Lessons I Learned In Spin Class

shutterstock_207786967As I work with customers to build strategies and develop programs around using interactive content, I have come to draw several parallels to the idea of joining a gym. Or, in my own personal case, joining a spin class.

Up until earlier this year, I never really saw the need to focus on working out consistently. I did the tri-varsity thing back when I was in high school, and now that I am an “adult”, I have felt that I simply “do not have time” to put working out into my busy schedule.

However, I know that my life could be better and I could really benefit from some more physical activity: simply being in shape, building strength and muscle, boosting my well-being with some more endorphins, and the rest of the laundry-list of benefits that are apparent from exercise. From there, I decided to purchase a membership at a spin studio.

Consider demand gen marketers and content marketing folks – they know what they are doing and for the most part it is working. But the now-popular buzz words such as “content marketing” and “interactive content” gets marketers thinking, “Could I be doing more? Am I behind the curve here?” Thus, they explore, test, and ultimately purchase a solution like SnapApp.

So how does my spin class relate to SnapApp?

apptype_pollMy spin studio isn’t magic. Just because I purchased a monthly membership, it does not mean that I am going to automatically see results. I have to actually start investing time into going. If I go once a week, I might notice a difference. However, if I go to class 4-5 times a week, I can expect to see better results, faster.

In that same light, the type of class I attend will impact the results I see as well. I’ll certainly see improvement if I go to the standard conditioning class. But, think about the results I’ll see if I go to Sculpt & Tone as well as the 60-Minute Endurance ride – Tour de France here I come!

The same is true when you purchase a SnapApp license – it is not magic. Just because you purchase an annual license, it does not mean that you are going to automatically see results. Creating a voting poll with a lead generation form and embedding it into a blog post will probably yield decent engagement, collect some new leads, and generate some social uptick; depending on how compelling the content is of course.

But that is only for one campaign. Imagine embedding a piece of interactive content into every blog post, so it is now a characteristic of your content. Think about the effect of creating a short assessment as a part of every email campaign promoting a webinar.

The moral of the story is that just as I had to invest time into folding spin class into my daily “Ali activities”, marketers need to invest time into developing a program and around folding interactive content into their marketing activities. And what I have come to realize is that it is not that hard to do when you keep your goals at heart. Once I know which classes will fit into my weekly routine, I sign up and there is no turning back.

For marketers, all you need to do is find out where interactive content fits into your marketing activities, schedule them accordingly, and stick to that campaign plan. Working with our customers to identify those campaigns where interactive content makes the most sense, is a major focus for the customer success them here at SnapApp – we look forward to working with you.

So what are you waiting for? Learn how you can get your content “Marketing Fit” with SnapApp.

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SnapApp Of The Week: Discovery’s ‘Shark Personality Assessment’

Shark_Personality_Quiz___Discovery_Channel

Stay Out Of The Water…It’s That Time Of Year Again!

When you think Summer, do you think about the beach, BBQ’s, warm weather, and…shark week? If so, you are not alone - hundreds of thousands of people do. For one week in August, friends and families glue themselves to the TV to watch captivating stories and learn interesting facts about all different types of sharks. To the surprise of some, Discovery’s ‘Shark Week’ is the longest running cable TV show in history, and its popularity only grows stronger year after year.

Discovery Sinks Their Teeth Into Engagement

Last year was their first time Discovery incorporated interactive content into the campaign on their website as well as the live show, ‘Shark After Dark’.  With such high levels of engagement on apps like ‘Sharks in Film: Fact or Fiction’ and ‘Shark Feeding Frenzy Quiz,’ Discovery wanted to replicate and build off that success for this year by creating a ‘What’s Your Shark Personality?’ assessment.

Shark Week’s Interactive Experiences Circle The Globe

This year’s collection of Shark Week apps proved to be no exception.  The ‘What’s Your Shark Personality?’ assessment alone has generated:

  • Over 20,000 clicks
  • 92% completion rate
  • Over 800 shares
  • Over 2,000 referrals

Keeping in line with their other goal of offering unique sponsorship opportunities to advertisers, Discovery has be able to leverage sponsors like Volkswagen and Great Clips.  Because of the success these interactive experiences have had in America, Discovery Communications have decided to take their success global by adding these quizzes and personality assessments to domains in Romania, Latin America, France, and Germany.

Does your personality match that of a hammer head, a great white or different type of shark? Find out here!

Are you using interactive content to engage your users like Discovery? Learn how you can get started now!

Here at SnapApp, we love seeing the amazing, creative content that our customers build using SnapApp. From photo contests and bracket competitions to giveaways and sweepstakes, the SnapApps our customers build everyday continue to amaze us. Each week, our account managers will introduce you to one of the SnapApps we can’t stop talking about around the office.
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Interactive Content And The Buyer’s Journey

The last time you booked a trip, did you use a travel agent?

Chances are, probably not.

Most of us don’t use agents anymore. We prefer to research, plan, and book travel ourselves using the tools available to explore ideas, review other’s opinions, identify options and compare prices. This phenomenon – of doing our own research and evaluation without the ICBJWP COVERhelp of an agent – is not unique specifically to travel.

Most technology buyers approach purchases the same way. In fact (according to a Forrester report), technology buyers go 90% of the way through their buying journey before they ever talk to a salesperson, which has huge implications for marketers. Today’s modern marketers are now required to educate prospects, share specific solution information, and cultivate relationships, as buyers become more and more independent with their initial research.

So how can marketers more effectively generate leads and push them towards sales? Is it possible to really understand each prospect’s unique requirements, share relevant information in a timely manner, and build credibility and trust as a marketer without even talking to prospects? And what about cutting through all of the noise as more and more companies produce content? As marketers ponder all of these questions, one thing is certain:

Interactive content can help.

The steps you take to plan a vacation are a great example of a buyer’s journey, and the role content plays in helping you determine your destination. You have to decide on the vacation type, research possible destinations, and make a decision. Imagine receiving information on vacation destinations that perfectly fit the type of vacation – relaxing, cultural, or adventurous – you are envisioning. Talk about an experience!

But how does interactive content align with the buyer’s journey?

In our recently co-released white paper with Oracle Marketing Cloud, we explain how interactive content can help improve the overall buyer’s journey, how it works at each specific stage, and how it can enhance your existing marketing mix.

By adding interactive content into the marketing mix, modern marketers are creating new, engaging and educational experiences at each stage during the buyer’s journey. They are turning their information monologues into dialogues as they replace static content with dynamic exchanges. They are having conversations and closing customers. They are replacing the travel agent.

Want to discover how you can utilize interactive content to engage your potential buyers at each stage of their journey? Get started now!

 

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