What is Content Marketing?

Content Marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience for brand awareness — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.


A content marketing team is a valuable asset to any digital company.  If you are looking for some justification or responsibilities on a content marketing team, here are a list of potential responsibilities then could own.


Content Marketing Team Responsibilities
  1. Blog Editorial Calendar
    1. Promotional
    2. Seasonal education
  2. Content Specific Social Platforms
    1. Google+
    2. LinkedIn
    3. Digg
  3. Digital PR
    • App releases
    • New partnerships
    • Leadership Interviews
  4. Site Content
    • Customer Testimonials
    • Referrals to Blog
    • Loyalty Program Education
  5. Video (Educational and Promotional)
    • Youtube
    • Vimeo
  6. Guest Posting outside of Blogs
  7. B2B Education
    • Whitepapers on Industry
    • Webinars?
  8. Temporary Actions
    • SEO Backlinking
    • Sitemap Prioritization Recommendations
    • Recommended Meta Descriptions
CRM Metrics and KPIs

Top CRM Metrics and KPIs

So, you’ve been considering getting your CRM strategies off the ground and into action, but you are wondering what KPI’s and Metrics you should be looking at first.  Well, here is a list of some important metrics just in case they could at least be some fuel to get you going.

  1. Unique Active Registrants (UAR) 30 day Engagement:  How many unique customers do you have that have actually been active in the past 30 days.  Active could be counted as App Opens, Email Opens, Social Followers or Browser App clicks.
  2. Asset Engagement Ratio (Marketing Tools):  Do you have an Email channel, and maybe a Mobile App driving traffic to your site?  Add them up, and bounce them off of your total visits to the site, and you now have a KPI that shows if you Marketing Tools are providing a great benefit to your traffic.  Here is a hint, if its lower than 15%, you need to get optimizing.  It can also allow you to perform some smart ROI analysis on your asset traffic.
  3. Owned Media / Paid Media Ratio:  Similar to the Asset Engagement Ratio, take all your Paid Media Channel data (PPC, Display, Re-targeting, Blogger Channels, Video), and bounce them off of your Owned Media Channel data (SEO, Direct, Email, Blog Posts) to see how your brand is doing.  If your Paid ratio is dominant, it definitely will show you that you are either getting beaten by your competitors, or your “product” is not organically interesting enough.
  4. 90 & 180 Day Retention Rate:  Depending on if you have a strong acquisition strategy or a poor one, you have got to know how engaged you keep them in your on-boarding flows.  Find a way to count the amount of visits, opens and influences each of your new customers have within 90 and 180 days of account registration.  Notice, you are ONLY counting engagements with this one.  A 30 day Retention Rate will get you even closer to understanding if you loose them quickly or further down the line.
  5. Recency/Frequency of Buyers:  For you old school Marketeers out there, this is the closest to RFM that I am going to get.  This is similar to 90 & 180 Day Retention, but you are specifically looking for purchases and purchase behavior.  Understanding the average days between purchase and Frequency of purchase by channel will allow you to see which channels are underperforming
  6. LTV (Lifetime Value):  This one is similar to ARPU (Average Revenue Per Unit) with a little shift to it in the way that you count the value.  Grab total revenue over your customers rolling 12 or 18 months, then divide it by total customers.  Once you have the full value, then segment out the customers by frequency to see if your LTV of customers is moving between younger customers, and your true brand adapters for many years.  Most typical response is to take these numbers and apply them straight to ROI calculations for media spend, but I would suggest this shows your CRM efficiency even more so.
  7. Ave Influence per Order:  Every customer has a journey before they purchase or convert with you.  Some only have 1 digital channel that influences a purchase (customer comes Direct To Site), and some have over 10 (PPC gets them to your site, Email sends out a promotion, they actually convert on a mobile app notification, etc).  Find a way to count how many channels a customer has visited your site or your marketing assets by each individual ID.  You can then associate the average amount of channels it takes for customers to purchase with you.  You’d be surprised to see how many it usually takes.  I’ve managed sites that are as little as 3 influences per order, all the way up to 11.  Once you get up there, you definitely need to start considering if you are overspending to win customers to your site.

Interstitial vs Popup vs Modal

It’s quite often I find myself educating people on the difference between an Interstitial, a Popup and a Modal.  So much that I thought a quick and easy definition of each could help others.  The difference of each are significant, and the strategies around each are important for organizations to understand to reduce confusion and creep in projects.


Simple Definition: An interstitial is a temporary experience (page or modal) from a UI perspective before the customer is redirected to a desired landing page. Interstitial typically have a moving object (called a Throbber) that shows the customer that something is about to happen, or your system is working.  Probably one of the most popular Interstitial is Priceline.com that occurs after your give your flight search requests.

Priceline Interstitial

Strategy:  Typically you show this when you have a longer response time to a long API call or system action (so they don’t think the website is stalled), but it you can also use it in a time where customer education or advertising (no CTA) is needed.


Simple Definition:  A new window based on action that prioritizes over active tab or window, typically sized smaller than your usual new tab experience.


Strategy:  Yeah, these are dying (appropriately) due to browsers getting smarter with their Popup blockers, but they can still be effective tools for customer education, or if you’d like to keep your brand on your customers mind when forwarding your customers onto another website as a referral.


Simple Definition:  A modal is a scripted effect that allows you to overlay an element over focused content.  Typically a modal frosts the existing window to show that another message needs to be read.

Walmart Modal

Strategy:  Primary tactic is to make sure that the customer sees an important message because of an action on page, but can also be used to show progression in a conversion flow.  For ex: Need to ask a customer for their zip to calculate shipping, but can’t put it inline, or don’t want to move from the cart?  …throw a modal. Proactive modals based on customer data or actions are also a smart way to encourage email signups, personalization or cross sells.
Hope this helps.  If it doesn’t, then congrats ..you are too cool for school.

Email Marketing Metrics

Email Metrics & KPIs

In a digital marketing world where we are often found in analysis paralysis, I thought it might be benefitial to simplify to a select few metrics or KPIs used for Email programs specifically.  Obviosuly ALL the others out there are important as well depending on the goals you are pursuing, but these are a few that you cannot miss.

– Status Ratio:  Gotta count your actives, inactives, held, and unsubscribes to make sure your engagement is going the right way. Your unsubscribe ratio is one you specifically should be watching.  If this is growing, you are doing something wrong.
– List Counts: A couple lists you should keep your eyes on are Total subscribed, Total Sent to (which can get you ave emails per customer), Total Openers within 180  (and 90) days, and clickers within 180 days.  Need to know the opportunities to send to for any marketing campaign.
– Retention Rate:  Count how many of your new subscribers have opened, clicked, or visited with a 90 & 180 day window.  This will tell you if your onboarding is helping or hurting.
– Delivery Rate:  No brainer.  This will tell you how good your acquisition strategies are or how clean your reputation is.  …note, this is not Inbox Delivery…which is a GREAT metric if you have access to ResponsePath or something similar.
– Open Rate:  Industry standard is around 25-30%.
– Click Rate:  Industry standard is around 5-10%
– Complaint Rate:  If you don’t know this one, you will learn the hard way.  Ave complaints are absolutely in every ESP deliverability algorythm.  If you have high complaints, you will NOT get delivered to inboxes.
– eRPM:  Grab the revenue per mille and compare it up against your CPM to make sure that you are far from frustrating your leadership with bad ROI.

Starting with these will get you to a good Digital Stride with your customers through email.  Let me know if you think I’m missing any.  Enjoy!

Creative Digital Marketing Interview Questions

I’ve worked for some cool companies, and have had a lot of great opportunities hiring great people to influence great digital marketing efforts for the overall benefit of the company as a whole.  Someone recently asked me how many people I have hired, and my answer was an estimate of just under 100.  Seems like quite a few, until you think about how many people I had to interview to get to that many hires.  With all the experiences I have had, I do know how to get quickly to the point on learning if a person is a good fit.  We likely all know the big questions we should be asking in regards to digital marketing (strategies, analytics, prioritization, etc), but I wanted to post this article in response to some creative questions that will really help you learn quickly if they are the right fit.

  1. “How do you organize your personal closet?” or “How do you load your dish washer?”  The answers to these questions can easily point out if the candidate is organized or not.  For example:  If the candidate says that thier closet is always a mess, or they have no rhyme or reason for the dish washer…you can trust that their organization skills are less than ideal, and you just may not want to hire them as a Web UX specialist.  A good answer would like fall down the lines of “I keep all shirts up top, and pants on the bottom, and segmented out by color and by season.  Now that is a intentional planner and organizer.
  2. “If you could go to lunch with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?”  You can learn MANY things with this question including characteristics like chemistry with your existing team, thoughtfulness, laziness, intention, etc.  Try it out.  I promise you will learn something significant about the candidate.
  3. “What is 20% times 2 dozen?”  This is simple math that any analyst should be able to get.  If they don’t get it, you might want to reconsider what you are hiring them for.
  4. “How many manholes are there in the United States?”  Crazy hard right?  You obviously should not expect that the candidate is actually going to be able to get it, but it is important for them to try.  A response of “I have no idea” can prove a lack of creativity with analytics, whereas someone with a drive in discovery might say “I grew up in a town of 5k, and there were about 20 manholes, so since there are over 300 million people in the US …60k X 20 = 1.2 million manholes.

If anything, the answers will bring some enjoyment out of interviewing again.


Samsung Gear Live Review and Tips

I got my Samsung Gear Live watch about 5 months ago before the madness of the iWatch and I gotta say that I love it.  The biggest gain that it has made in my life is just the simple matter that it allows me to leave my phone in my pocket, hands on the wheel, and attention only slightly distracted to my wrist vs completely focused on my phone.

I’ve seen a bunch of reviews on it, but thought I would share some of my favorite quick tips/tricks that I use it for on a daily basis.

  1. “Ok Google, Send text to …”, “Send email to …” really is as easy as I could ever imagine.  You do need to have your contacts lined up for it to recognize the correct email or phone #, but I have never been able to text my wife “I love you”, faster than I can now.
  2. “Navigate to …” Navigating to a Starbucks has never been easier.  It will give you the option to see the navigation on the watch, or send it to your phone for full viewing.  I hardly ever need to use my phone with it.
  3. “Show me a picture of a …”  Ever need to immediately see how many floors there are on the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy for a game?  Try this statement, and you’ll have a picture on your wrist in seconds to show all your company.
  4. “Start Camera” (Wear Camera):  You can immediately see the camera view from your phone (front or back) using Wear Camera.  Easily take pictures old timer style of your family, use it as a nanny cam with your kids, or simply get a better view by holding your phone anywhere and taking the picture from your wrist.
  5. I am a big Google Keep guy, and I will typically say “Ok Google, Take a note to buy new bike helmet for race coming up.  The note will immediately be placed into your Google Keep account (after a couple of setting changes) for review later.
  6. Coin Flip:  Need to resolve something quick with a quick flip of a coin?  You no longer even need the coin.  Download Simple Coin Flip and it’ll emulate the perfect coin flip fast.  I personally play this with my son every once in a while.
  7. Custom Watch face:  Don’t like the stock watch faces on your app?  WatchMaker is a breeze to learn and allows a lot of fun great customization from local weather, to current steps, and even next calendar agenda item from Google calendar.
  8. Steps and Heart Rate:  Google Fit comes stock on the watch, and I am a full on believer at this point.  It syncs into my strava account, and also watches all walking and running (in the airport) that you do and calulates it all together and mashes them up against the goals you give Google Fit.  Ever wonder what your steps or heart rate are at a select time?  “Ok Google, How many steps have I taken today” “…whats my heart rate?” It is pretty money.
  9. Set timers or stopwatch:  Ever BBQ a steak?  Nothing is cooler than talking into your wrist “Ok Google, Set a timer for 12 minutes” to let you know when your steak is ready to flip.  Never needed to touch a single screen to get the timer going.
  10. “Whats my Agenda for today?”  Hook up to Google Calendar, and you have your whole agenda available to you in just a couple words.  You can even flip the screen to show more details, or edit easily.
  11. Reminders:  “Ok Google, Remind me to get Milk at King Soopers“.  Yes, it is that simple to have a smart reminder hit you up when you are near a specific location.  If it is not a familiar location, you may need to teach it at first, but it will nail it next time.  This is a function of Google Keep, so it comes through very simplified just like the note taking.
  12. Music:  I have a Spotify account, and since you control Spotify from your phone, it is now easily controllable from your wrist with your watch and allows you to turn music volume up and change songs even if you are far away (BlueTooth distance) from your phone.

I know there are a BUNCH of tips out there, but these are my favorites, and thought that it could help others fall in more love of their watch a bit more.  Enjoy!

UX Specialists Responsibilities

UX/UI Specialists Responsibilities

Let me guess why you are reading this…

You’ve been told for a long time that a true eMarketing Company cannot make it without having a dedicated UX/UI Specialist for all your customer interfaces, so now you are considering getting one.  Well, before you hire one, consider what you will actually use them for.  Here are typically the primary reasons.  1) User Experience Design  2) Information Architecture  3) User Experience Analyst.  Every company needs something a little different, but as EVERYBODY in your company should be focused on bringing a better User Experience to your Site, App, Digital Marketing Channel …it definitely helps to have someone dedicated around to making sure that every bodies pursuits are organized.

Below is a list of responsibilities that I prioritize when considering a UX Specialist.

  1. Full Site/Mobile App review and audit – Take advantage of a fresh set of eyes on EVERYTHING that your company does or sells.  Have them go through all flows and funnels and detail the opportunities.
  2. Manage the current UX 1-N List:  You must have a list of things you’ve been thinking about doing.  Make sure that each of them now has justification and analytics on each of them so you know you are working on the right projects.
  3. Conduct User Testing: There are SO many ways to get feedback from customers.  Make sure the services that you typically use are on the list of ways they can go compile data.
    • Focus Groups
    • Interviewing Employee relatives
    • UserTesting.com
    • Face to Face Interviews
    • Field Research
    • Testing labs
  4. Detailed Analytics:  This person has GOT to know how to tell stories with data.  Once they have it, make sure they are…
    • Providing weekly UX meeting to show high Level findings and results
    • In depth funnel reporting
    • Heatmaping readouts and shifts on the site
  5. Design Team Requests:  They can’t do everything, so this person should be able to help provide Prototyping, Layouts, Wireframes, and whiteboard sessions based off of Analytics to make thier jobs even easier and reduce less guess work.
  6. Creating User Personas:  Do you actually know who your customer base is?  If not, UX should be able to help do this for you based off the data that you do have.  It might need to combine Google Analytics with several other data points, but having your complete company on the same page about who your customer is, will benefit you in the long run.
  7. Customer Journey Map: Knowing the most important channels and methods that your most valuable customers get to your site is CRITICAL.  Unleash thier ability to go look at customer logs, and attribution to allow them to tell you what journeys are the most valuable to the company.  These stories are not easy if you are trying to find value, but they are so worth it for purposes of ROI, Attribution, and effective Digital Stride with your customers.

Daily Digital Customer Device Journey

We all know what devices we personally use throughout the workday, but there is something really cool about being able to count it and watch it.  That is the beauty of digital marketing.  If you have been recently challenged with desktop/tablet/mobile conversion rates, or can’t seem to understand what your audience mindset is at a specific time of the day, hopefully the below can help whether you are retail, entertainment or information.

I used an index to find the variance of sessions by device (desktop/tablet/mobile) throughout the day, along with lining up the hour of the day.  The hour data in the below graph is in MST, but primary visitors are east/west coast …just like everybody else. The reality is this:

  • Devices to your site by time of dayMorning:  The majority of a customers digital journey starts at work (on a desktop) as they are either shopping/researching items that they thought about the night before, or during bathroom preparation.  You’ll notice a small blip in tablet in the morning thanks to commuters, or people reading up on news during preparation.  Stride Opportunity:  Delivery your promotional emails early, because the more emails read on a mobile device, the less the conversion and those come later in the morning.
  • Afternoon:  During the lunch hour, people are mobile.  Whether they are driving, sitting in a restaurant, or in a park watching the world pass by.  So it makes perfect sense that we would see a spike in mobile sessions.  Stride Opportunity:  Drive engagement with the intention of brand recognition.  You may not want to have big spend initiatives here, but rather viral or share-ability.  Also a great opportunity to pitch mobile app downloads to your viewers (by way of App Takeover) because viewers will likely not convert, so focus on getting your marketing assets in front of them.
  • Nighttime:  We all do it.  Netflix, Hulu, YouTube from your couch, dinner table, or bed on your favorite of 3 tablets in the house.    Stride Opportunity:  Make sure your promotions are clear, loud, and optimized here because these shoppers will either be tough to convince, or really easy due to laziness.  It depends on your audience and customer segments.

Bottomline, know your audience, try to understand thier journey, and deliver the right message to them knowing what device they might be on for the best opportunity of conversion.


10 Ideas for Website Personalization

I recently had some time with a company that was struggling to find some great personalization ideas to use on their website.  I have used personalization heavily on several of the sites I have worked on, so this topic came easily for me. I decided to document them and see if it could benefit anybody else by providing some fuel to do personalization well.  Personalization isn’t for everybody though, you do need to know plenty about your customers in order to utilize it well.

  1. Landing pages:  Depending on if they are a returning customer or not, you can control what type of banner/content is displayed to them.  New Customer:  Educational message about what you do.  Returning customer:  Banner specific to best products and services.
  2. Landing pages:  Do you know what products or brands they have interacted with in the past on your site?  Make sure you have a direct tie into those products when they first arrive to reduce bounce/exit.
  3. Customer Interest:  Have you asked the customer any explicit questions about their interests during account registration? Make sure these categories are captured on homepage, landing pages, email programs, social posts and any customer engagements you attempt to make.
  4. Marketing Assets:  Does the customer already have a couple of your marketing assets? If they already have your mobile app, be smart and don’t ask them to download it again. What other assets can you have them download? Browser app. Email sign up, Mobile App, SMS list, Social channels, etc.  You can do this easiest through a proactive lightbox or modal, that way it is not intrusive to the customers flow.
  5. Customer Interest:  Make sure to have a widget about recommended products or brands. Best locations for this are either in your emails, internal search results, blog, or on your 404 page.
  6. Customer Interest:  Do you know what gender your customers are? Customize experience with colors or products at the top of the page based on their answer. If you don’t know what gender they are, take some liberties with the first names on your list and bounce it up against a gender matchup to understand your customers a little more.
  7. Customer Interest:  If you send a welcome email, make sure that it matches well with the referral topic (referral code) that they signed up with? It needs to match their expectations or else you will lose them fast.
  8. Customer Interest:  If you have a strong email campaign, results have shown adding localisation, gender or known technology (ie. iPhone) to your subject line and content.  I’ve personally seen engagement go up to 40% when you can appeal to their personal journey.
  9. Customer Interest:  If the customer has purchased with you in the past, maybe they need an accessory to the item they purchased? Or maybe they are looking for an easy way to repurchase, so give them a fast path to purchase again.  Ease is critical to our online shoppers.  Always give them an appropriate path based on their potential comfort with conversion by motivating with dynamic CTA language.
  10. Customer Info:  Use the customers account information to show that you know who they are.  You definitely do not want to me “big brother” and share an email address globaly, but if you know the customers first name, show that you know something about them.  Put it in your super-header, put their name near the sign out, but make them feel like you know who they are.

That’s my quick list to help fuel your pursuit. What am I missing?