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9 Tips for Storytelling Success on Social Media

Do you remember that as a kid you would never sleep without listening to the little stories that your mom and granny would tell you? Years have passed, and we tell those stories to our kids now. That’s the power of stories. They make us feel connected and they are always a great success because of good narration. Years have passed, but people’s connection to good narration never seems to fade. An infographic by Idigic- Social Media 101 – How To Turn Your Small Business Into A Huge Enterprise tells us that it is possible to connect to users on a personal level by sharing the day to day happenings and difficulties you face at your company.
Today, the concept of storytelling is widely used in online marketing and again it’s proven to be a big success. To illustrate it with an example, let’s say your friend had just bought a new mobile and he is happy with it. He tells you about the features and why it’s the best phone in its price range. You take the phone in your hand, and have a look at it and then you start thinking… “this could be the best gift for my wife. I have to buy this for her”. Here, your purchasing decision was influenced by your friend’s review and not a salesperson ‘buy now’ pitch.  
What if the friend in this scenario is a company that’s actually selling (but without selling) the same product. Wouldn’t it deliver better results? Now that’s what effective brand storytelling is all about. Here are some tips to brand your company more effectively on social media.  
1. Know your BRAND POSITIONING
Before you start promoting your [...]

By |June 1st, 2016|Blog|Comments Off on 9 Tips for Storytelling Success on Social Media|

Overcoming (Career) Inertia

Martha Carrigan | President & CEO 
Big Shoes South
Abridged from “Overcoming the Inertia of the Couch” TEDx 2014. The author finally got off the couch and edited content for this blog.

Growing up in a family of 11, we had a small couch where my parents corralled us together for the annual family picture. (It was a tight squeeze.)

The couches throughout a home have different purposes:

The family room couch – for watching a football game or taking a Sunday nap.

The daybed couch in the den – a place to isolate a sick kid so no one else will catch the bug.

The guest-only, plastic-coated living room couch – “Get offa’ that couch, it’s for company only!”
The basement couch – to escape from parental view with friends.

The couch is a place to take important pauses in life: watching, healing, entertaining and escaping. Sadly, it’s also a picture of getting stuck. When we stop moving forward and plop in the couch, it’s hard to overcome what medical pros define as inertia.

Have you experienced it? When I worked as a high school college advisor, students put off starting college applications or writing essay answers. In our business connecting companies with talent, people don’t realize they are stuck in a dead-end job. In my own early career, I was stalled in a job search. I’d come home, drop on cushions and channel surf. A couch potato.

The simple version of inertia expressed in Newton’s Law of Motion is: “The tendency for an object at rest is to remain at rest and for an object in uniform motion is to continue in that same direction or motion…unless acted on by an outside force or energy.”

What is that outside force in [...]

By |April 15th, 2016|Blog|Comments Off on Overcoming (Career) Inertia|

Email Analytics: Charting newsletter opens

This week, I’m going to introduce you to analysing your email data using SQL and a Redshift datastore.
Using data sent to a Redshift database from Vero, we’ll put together a chart that will help you start to conceptualize how you could build out a detailed and accurate Email Dashboard for your organization.
This will also further the skills you need to analyze your email marketing data using your own data warehouse and SQL charting tools.
A few weeks ago, we talked about how you could graph your Net Churn using SQL. This was to introduce you to the world of data warehousing and detailed analysis using your own data.
The post generated huge interest so this week we’re focusing on email, an area in which we aim to set the benchmark for what’s possible.
Charting open rates for your latest newsletter campaigns
Here’s an example of the chart we’ll be building.

What you’ll need to do this yourself
Here’s the setup we use to get accurate and complete data and to chart it beautifully:
We use Vero to send all of Vero’s emails. Vero’s campaign management platform helps us create and manage our customer journey so we know who we’re sending what, and when. We send both automated and manual (newsletter / blast) email campaigns with Vero.
Segment’s integration automatically plugs into Vero and allows Vero to send back data on all email deliveries, opens, clicks, unsubscribes and so on into their platform.
RJ Metrics’ Pipeline product syncs all of our Segment behavioral data to a Redshift database.
Our data warehouse is hosted on a basic Amazon Web Services (AWS) Redshift cluster.
We chart our reports using Periscope Data.
We also use our own [...]

By |March 23rd, 2016|Blog|Comments Off on Email Analytics: Charting newsletter opens|

Migrating to Vero from Mandrill

If you’re a Mandrill customer, last week you will have read that Mailchimp is unifying Mandrill with its Mailchimp product suite.
We have immense respect for the Mandrill platform, particularly as it is used by many of Vero’s customers. With the upcoming changes, we understand that some of Mandrill’s transactional customers will have questions around what Mailchimp’s new changes mean for them and many of you have asked us whether Vero is a replacement for Mandrill.
We’ve put together this post to answer your questions head on. Here we explain the benefits of moving your email campaigns to Vero so you can make an informed decision on what is right for you.
We’ve got you covered
Here are the four key reasons you’ll be in good hands if you migrate from Mandrill to Vero.
Migration help. Our team of awesome engineers is here to help you with the ins and outs of migrating from Mandrill to Vero, no matter how specific your questions. Our detailed Developer Portal and Getting Started Guide will also help you get started immediately.
Amazing customer support. With team members around the world, our support is second-to-none. Customers regularly say kind things like “Your support is amazing”. We’re proud to work hard every day to help our customers send emails reliably and improve their customers’ experiences with every send.
Transactional, Behavioral and Newsletters in one place. Vero’s UI gives you the tools to collect your customer data in real time (our REST API), segment that data and send all of your emails from a single UI. Alongside sending transactional emails, you can empower your newsletters and build workflow automations to achieve even more.
Template and user management. Vero’s UI tracks [...]

By |March 10th, 2016|Blog|Comments Off on Migrating to Vero from Mandrill|

Graphing net churn using Redshift and SQL

In 2015 two important trends emerged that everyone working to create great products and customer experiences will be interested in:
It is easier than ever before to synchronise data from your SaaS tools into a data warehouse (often Amazon’s Redshift).
There are more and more great tools (Periscope, RJ Metrics, Looker) that allow you to query and chart the data in your warehouse in a sophisticated way.
We’re big proponents for both of these trends at Vero. In this article, I’m going to introduce you to capturing and analysing data directly from a database using Amazon’s Redshift and Periscope Data. In this post we’re going to chart some basic SaaS metrics.
I’ve included a version of some actual SQL we use at Vero, and I’ve broken down how it works so you can use it, get inspired by it or build upon it.
You can apply the same approach I use here to chart virtually anything.
Note that this is a slightly new direction for our blog. If you want to learn more about SQL then let me know in the comments. I’m interesting in breaking down how to chart other SaaS metrics, product usage, email interactions and so on. We’re passionate about this here at Vero.
Charting upgrades, downgrades, new revenue and churn
Here’s an example of the chart we’ll be building, note that news means new revenue in this chart:

What you’ll need to do this yourself
Here’s the setup we use to get accurate and complete data and to chart it beautifully:
Stripe handles 90% of Vero’s payments, so that’s the originator of the data in this graph.
RJ Metrics’ Pipeline product syncs this payment data from [...]

By |February 15th, 2016|Blog|Comments Off on Graphing net churn using Redshift and SQL|

Why Most Newsletters Fail

2015 was the year of the newsletter.
Tools like Curated, Goodbits and TinyLetter made it easier than ever to start a newsletter. Many people took advantage of these great tools and began building lists and curating content.
The problem?
These tools don’t suddenly make people care about what you have to say. Marketers, the chief offenders of bad emails, took it too far this year. Most newsletters flopped, whether the creators are willing to admit it or not.
Here are a few reasons why most newsletters fail along with some suggestions on sending email that actually works.
They don’t start at the beginning.
Most newsletters send recent posts to subscribers. Regardless of when the subscriber joins, everyone receives the same information at the same time. Dropping a reader into the content slipstream is the easiest way to send a newsletter, but it’s certainly not the best.
A new visitor to your site lacks context. How has your blog evolved? How do you help people succeed? What do other readers know that they don’t?Answering these questions goes a long way towards earning loyal readers.
New subscribers to the Vero blog receive a six-step campaign. The first email welcomes the new subscriber and shares the Vero blog “Hall of Fame.” These aren’t our most-trafficked posts, they are the highest-converting posts.

Next, we send a series of five emails explaining how we can help them succeed. We offer content as well as tips for using our app to send better emails. Within the first few days of subscribing, we send four emails. We want to provide the most useful information we can while the reader’s curiosity is piqued. After this campaign ends, subscribers simply receive our normal weekly [...]

By |January 4th, 2016|Blog|Comments Off on Why Most Newsletters Fail|

The MeUndies Lifecycle: Send Great Emails Before and After the Sale

Photo: MeUndies
Most email marketing happens before the sale, but that’s just the beginning of the customer lifecycle. The most successful businesses send their best emails after the signup, purchase or conversion.
Creating lifecycle emails require that marketers look at the whole customer, not just the sale. I was reminded of this after making a recent purchase from MeUndies. The post-purchase emails are surprisingly pleasant – it’s the right blend of clear copy, sharp design and personalization. The tone and style that I liked so much from my pre-purchase days is still there, but the messaging has changed to meet my new needs.
It’s helpful to look at the entire lifecycle to understand how MeUndies is communicating with customers and driving sales. I’ve separated the emails into pre- and post-purchase categories to make it a little easier to see the whole picture.
If you like these emails as much as I do, give @MeUndies a shout-out on Twitter.
Before the Purchase
Style blog Racked calls MeUndies’ marketing “irreverent,” but it’s certainly been effective. The four-year-old company has raised more than $7 million and is growing quickly.
Underwear is a commodity, which is both a challenge and an opportunity for MeUndies. On one hand, this $15 billion market is ripe for disruption, but on the other, they are fighting decades of underwear apathy. Branding and design are fundamental ingredients for their success, which is exactly what these emails set out to achieve.
Laying the Foundation
Whether you subscribe or buy, the first email is a message from Jen that sets the tone for your relationship. (The MeUndies team won’t reveal Jen’s identity and there are billboards begging the question “Who is Jen?” around Los Angeles.)

The [...]

By |December 21st, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on The MeUndies Lifecycle: Send Great Emails Before and After the Sale|

The 5 Biggest Take-Aways from Orlando iX 2015

By: Ashley Bravo

First and foremost, what is Orlando iX?

As described on their website, Orlando iX is five power-packed days of dynamic keynotes, panels, exhibits, and entertainment, that showcases leading advancements in entertainment technology, interactive media, and digital arts. The conference targeted different industries within the Central Florida community including gaming, start-ups and digital.

So let’s get to the point- these are the 5 biggest take-aways from Orlando iX.

1. “We are not another Silicon Valley, we are so much more!” -Mayor Teresa Jacobs

This was clearly seen through out these five days. All who attended were exposed to indie games, tactics on start-up, the future of digital media and so much more. We are more than Disney theme parks, and it was evident that the digital talent and energy present in Orlando is ready to be taken seriously.

2. K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid

I learned this tip at the “Two Minute Pitch Deck” speaker session.  I find this to be extremely relevant in all aspects of Marketing, not just when you are a start-up. You need to find a way to create and communicate a solid and direct connection between your brand and your audience, preferably using K.I.S.S. strategies. “We are like the Starbucks of frozen yogurt,” was an example that was given. In this particular example, a recognizable brand was used to explain what a new brand represents- all in one simple sentence. Another example is what AMA-Orlando uses to describe what we stand for, “We are an organization that brings marketing professionals within the Central Florida community together.” Short. Simple. Sweet!

3. Develop brand guidelines

During the “When Creativity Meets the Corporation” panel, the speakers talked about creating brand guidelines. Whether you are a freelancer, work for [...]

By |October 7th, 2015|Blog, Events, Other Local Marketing Events|Comments Off on The 5 Biggest Take-Aways from Orlando iX 2015|

5 Reasons to Attend Social Fresh

By: Amber Bloom

If you look at the calendar of any marketing professional, you’ll see it’s full of networking events, meetings and conferences. We’re busy people! So it’s no secret that we’re selective when it comes to which conferences we choose to attend. We need to know that our time (and money) won’t be wasted, and that we’ll walk away eager to take what we learned and apply it to our careers.

That’s where Social Fresh comes in. As the longest running social marketing conference, industry leaders consistently cite it as the best social marketing conference of the year. Bringing together social media thought leaders and experts from companies like Twitter and Priceline, it’s one conference you won’t waste your time on.
If you need a little more incentive, here are 5 reasons why you should attend:

Brush up on your social media skills: Social Fresh is a fast-paced, two-day conference that covers a huge range of social media topics. Speakers are only given 30 minutes or less, so you’ll get to dive deep into a specific topic without all of the “fluff” that comes with normal presentations. Attendees will walk away with actionable tips and resources they can take back to their teams and implement easily.
Network & meet new people: This is a highlight of any conference. We all have unique skills and areas of expertise. Take the time to get to know those at the conference with you – you never know what they can bring to the table for you down the road!
Learn from experts in their fields: From New York Times best-selling author, Chris Brogan, to professionals from Patron, Buffer, The Today Show and Twitter, Social Fresh isn’t short of experts. [...]

By |June 30th, 2015|Blog, Other Local Marketing Events|Comments Off on 5 Reasons to Attend Social Fresh|

Help Us Curb Hunger in our Community. Volunteer with us at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida on April 25

By: Amber Bloom, PR Chair

On April 25, the AMA-CFL chapter is heading out to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida to lend a hand in efforts to curb hunger in our area. While we’d love to think the fact that you are volunteering at a local food bank with AMA would be reason enough to sign up, we thought a few stats on the current state of hunger in our community would help set the stage.

Imagine driving down I-4 at 70 miles per hour. Along the side of the road, kids are lined up shoulder-to-shoulder. It would take an hour before you passed them all – 200,000 kids in total. That’s what childhood hunger looks like in Central Florida.

It’s hard to imagine that in such a food abundant country, so many people, (and people in our community no less), struggle with hunger every day. It’s even more surprising to learn that those struggling with hunger include people who have jobs, raise families, pay taxes, and are working toward an education.

Last year alone, Second Harvest distributed enough food for 53 million meals, all collected through community food drives, grocery alliances, local farms and government food commodities. To help move that food through it doors, more than 21,000 volunteers contributed 67,000+ hours to sort and repack food donations.

Here’s another picture for you. If you lined up those 53 million meals on a standard dinner table with each plate spaced 3 feet apart, that table would begin in Orlando, stretch across the Mississippi Delta, the Great Plains, over the Rocky Mountains, through the Sierra Nevada, make a U-turn at the Golden Gate Bridge and find its way back to Orlando. That’s a lot of meals.

The AMA-CFL [...]

By |April 2nd, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Help Us Curb Hunger in our Community. Volunteer with us at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida on April 25|