Very useful Linked In Guide

I found this very useful guide to Linked-In which I thought I’d share. It seems to contain lots of posts from Linked-In insiders and from the Linked-In blog so gives a good view of what it can do for you and the latest features. Anyhow check it out.
I’ve yet to really get to grips with Linked-In but this is a good start!
Click the link for the doc –

Email marketing – my first campaign – part 3

Well I did it! I clenched my buttocks, closed my eyes and jolly well pushed the button. And off my carefully crafted, highly targeted and, hopefully, meaningful email went.

It was a pretty long route to get here. It made sense to me to be as targeted as possible. I don’t want to spam anyone. What I wanted to do is work out exactly who I was targeting, what I wanted to say to them that was meaningful to them (if it’s not meaningful to your target audience a)it’s totally wasted effort/money b)it’s spam and c)they’ll probably hate you forever. So whatever we did, it had to be useful to all readers.

At least that was the intention.

So we spent a good deal of time working on defining our single, targeted  message and getting the email text just right. We tested one short email and one with longer text.

I found it ever so difficult creating a short version. You’ll find you’ve got so much to say (that you’re convinced your target customer REALLY needs to know) that the tendency is to cram in lines and lines of text. The problem is, you’re desperate to impart your exciting benefits, but they really can’t be arsed reading it. We’re all so busy with our daily grind, unless it properly grabs our attention in 5 seconds, we don’t want to know.

Which is very hard to assimilate when you’re copywriting the email.

email campaign - digital marketing virgins

The gyst of most email marketing campaigns...

Cutting down is the hardest thing to do (yes, it does sound like a lumberjack song title :)) But it really is viatal.

We also actually tested out our emails on one or two of the target audience to get their feedback before we sent it, and modified the email accordingly. It was fantastic feedback – but it’s a fine art working out which suggestions are valid to your target audience and which are personal preferences – suggestions we all like to offer but which should arguably have little impact on the finished email.

We wanted our target reader to receive the email and respond to it in any way they wanted. So we included a phone number, a website link – and they could also click ‘reply’ and email us back.

Which meant we also had to create a landing page. We created copy which would go into more detail than the email they received – and again, they could then contact us through the website, or telephone us from there.

Phew! That was lots of work. But it ultimately took me to the point at which I could press that pesky button and send off the emails. I’ll take a look at the actual sending in the next post (the exciting bit!).


Email Marketing – Importing your list in Dotmailer – Part 4

I did spend quite a bit of time looking at lots of different email marketing packages. But you’ve got to remember that I’m a virgin at all this – and we virgins don’t really know where to turn.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. We do what everyone does – we turn to Google and punch in random searches that throw up a glut of non-relevant and time-consuming dead-ends.

And after trying a few of these and getting a sense that there’s more hidden costs and less functionality than initially meets the eye, I eventually opted for an online demo and trial account of Dotmailer. I’ve posted about the initial impressions before – but hadn’t used the software in anger till now.

So time for an update. And again, this is entirely independent, warts and all. And bearing in mind that I’ve nothing to really compare it against.

Uploading the List
If you’re email marketing, you need a list of contacts to send the email to. You need to get these into a spreadsheet as Dotmailer will happily import csv files. You browse to the list within the software and click the upload button. Next on screen, you’ll see three of your contacts displayed in columns – and you need to map these columns of data to the way Dotmailer needs to have them named. Essentially, you need to name each column the same as Dotmailer does – e.g if the first names in your file is in a column named ‘first’, then you need to map it to the ‘firstname’ column in Dotmailer.

It’s pretty intuitive and doesn’t take too long. I’ve attached my own Excel input file below. If you name each of your Excel columns the same as the Dotmailer names, the software automatically matches the two and the import is much simpler – if you get it totally right, it’s more or less automated.

Dotmailer email list import file

Note however that you probably don’t need to import all the fields to run your campaign. I just really needed the email address, names – and that’s pretty much it!

So that’s how you import your contacts.  I’ll leave it there for now but look at setting up the campaign next.

Linking Google Adwords to Analytics – digital marketing campaign

Well, I’ve started a new adwords campaign to kick off another digital marketing campaign (more of that in a future article) but I’m having problems getting my analytics and adwords campaigns linked. I can see I’ve been getting clicks within the Adwords dashboard, and the clicks are getting reported in Analytics – but Analytics reports zero visits to the site!

That can’t be right? Clicks being made but no visits?

I’ve got autotagging turned on, the analytics code is on the page (and pointing at the right analytics code). I’ve discovered that apparently Adwords counts unique visits as separate from visits – which makes sense – but can therefore lead to a unique visitor coming to a page, with subsequent pages they click through to not display as visits (giving some initially startling reports of more visits than unique visitors!)

So I’ve checked a few things – but so far to no avail.

I did come across an interesting video showing how to setup analytics with adwords so thought I’d share it here.

Now. Back to sorting out my problem!

Blog Power

Here’s a funny story that really brought home the power of the blog (and the speed of Google indexing!)

We went to see a well-respected author called Malcolm Gladwell appear live at a local theatre. I’d not really heard of the dude before (all you Gladwell fans will be astonished to hear) but I’d heard good things so popped along with the crowd.

We took our seats, the lights went down, and on came a rather likeable soul who sounded like Bill Gates on helium and looked like a malnourished Art Garfunkel.

Anyhow, I didn’t know what to expect at all – but what I got wasn’t it! A rambling, disjointed and, ultimately, entirely pointless and gloomy little story issued forth which had us gnashing teeth and slapping foreheads in despair.

And so, the next morning, one of our group tapped a warning into his blog and thought nothing more of it. You can see the blog here.

Well, it wasn’t until a few weeks later that he noticed he’d had a few comments, all supporting Gladwell – and one in particular pointing him to a YouTube video.


He clicked the link with trepidation and the video loaded up. It’s astonishing to think that an early morning rant into the privacy of a blog would lead to something like this. You see, Mr Gladwell was up early that same day and decided to Google himself. And the speed at which the blog had been indexed – and I guess it’s relevancy – meant it had soared to the top of page one. And it was this blog to which Gladders was drawn.

Cut to a few days later, and Malc came on stage up in Newcastle. And lo and behold, started to recite his experience – and perturbation – of reading said blog. Live on stage! About 5 minutes worth!

Wow! Check out the video:

The power of the blog eh? Don’t underestimate it – and the power of the rest of social media.

And at least Malcolm Gladdwell now has some decent material to start his rubbish stage show with!

A virgin’s guide to creating a digital marketing plan – part two

OK, Now we’ve worked out who our most, and least profitable customers are, it’s worth taking the time to list out the sectors they’re in. Digital marketing, like any marketing, is about communicating the right message to the right, receptive group of people. If you don’t, any message you try and get to resonate with a group, just won’t. They’ll be disinterested and you’ll have failed.

So it’s worth taking a little while looking at each profitable grouping and seeing if you can build up a profile on each. That way, you’ll understand a little more about them and be more likely to produce comms that ‘stick’ when you try and target them.

Make sense?

So what I did was create a stack of questions which will help me understand a bit more about the groups. I’ve listed them below – with a brief outline of why you’re asking the question and what it’s for:

Typical Job Titles/Occupation (Gives a first view of who your customers are so you can start to see what benefits you can bring to them. First analysis of what most of your customers do)

Typical Age Ranges (Gives an understanding of how you can tailor your comms, sales methods & product delivery)

Gender (Gives an understanding of how you can tailor your comms)
Language they use(What words do they use when looking to buy your product/service. Procurement, buying etc. do they use jargon words?)

Geographical (People often like to buy local – they feel more in control should something go wrong and they need to see you face to face)

Typical Job Sectors (You can tailor the benefits you offer to your customer’s requirements. As for occupation, understanding their sector – allows you to understand more about what they do and tailor your offering appropriately)

Any common interests/goals – work or non-work? (Finding common interests amongst client-groups could be used to tailor your product offering to that grouping. Probably more usual to find professional interests/goals – and probably more lucrative)

Their aims and values? (More ‘core’ than above. Matching your target’s aspirations and values & goals makes you more relevant and meaningful to them)

Their business needs (Discover what battles they fight and how you can help make their lives easier – not just core offering but around the offering)

Why they buy (What are they going to do with your provice? Who’s the end-user? What’s the driver for them deciding to buy. Understanding this may identify common drivers, common sources of the buying decision (which you can then target more effectively) and who holds the purse strings)

When they buy (Is there a particular time customers buy? Might help you target that time for your selling?)

What they buy (If you offer a range of provices, specifically what does this type of client buy from you?)

How they buy (Do your customers buy online, face-to-face or through mail order? Understanding how they are comfortable buying will help you tailor how you sell to them)

Budget (Match what you provide to their budget. Makes your offering more relevant and increases conversion. Affordability and increasing value perception is key to conversion)

What makes them feel good when they buy (So you can match what benefits you bring and the shopping experience to what they like – and make it easier for them to do business with you)

What do they think of your rivals (It’ll help you stay ahead & better your chances)

Referrals? (If you offer a good provice, is there chance of being referred to other customers by this customer?)

Cross/Upsell (What further provices could we sell to this customer?)

Have a go and see if you can get some useful information about your target sectors. It’ll effectively start to act as a brief sheet whenever you’re looking to write any comms targeting a particular group.

Email Campaign Solutions – Dotmailer

I’m new to email campaigns. Indeed, I’m only half way through my first campaign (see, I told you I’m a digital marketing virgin!). But I think I’ve found a good solution. is an email marketing system from a company based in Manchester. I’ve looked into a few and Dotmailer seems to be a good one and has all the functionality I can think I’ll need – including simple email list importing, template creation, step-by-step campaign set up – and lots of reporting functions (though I’ve yet to put the reporting to the test).

When you’re looking round for an emailing solution, there’s Soooo much choice it’s quite baffling. So when I stumbled across these guys at AdTech in London the other month, I was pleased that I’d found what looked like a decent vendor.

Plus, they do a free version where you can sample their software for up to 500 contacts. Which is great for us digital marketing virgins so we don’t have to pay a penny. James at Dotmailer took me through an online demo and was very helpful and personable.


Dotmailer control panel - nice, clean and simple


All in all, I’d recommend their solution (as far as I’ve used it). And remember, this is totally independent musings on their software (though if anyone at Dotmailer does read this and want to give me an entry level paid-for version, I’ll happily give it a go!)

I’ll post again after my campaign and let you know how we got on!