5 Negative Marketing Techniques to Make a Positive Impact

You work long and hard crafting “feel good” ad campaigns with positive messages. However, a little negativity can be a good thing when used judiciously. Below are five ways to channel your inner grumpiness when marketing your business.

1. Identify the customers you DON’T want. While you likely focus on attracting the right type of customers, it is equally important to know which customers you do not want. In some cases it’s a simple matter of a mismatch between needs – or lack thereof – and your solutions. In others, certain personas may be too costly to acquire or prone to high churn rates. Some audience segments may be unprofitable. Whatever the reason, it’s important to be aware of the types of customers you do not want so that you can avoid inadvertently marketing to them.

2. Be controversial. Nothing gets people buzzing like a little controversy. However, you’ll need to be prepared to manage the conversation – and the emotions that are sure to arise. Controversy doesn’t need to be of a serious nature such as politics or religion; it can be much lighter such as “Coke vs. Pepsi.” Before you begin, consider what position, if any, you will take. It’s fine not to take a side and serve as the moderator of any discussion that occurs. Obviously, if you work for Coca-Cola, your position would be that Coke is better than Pepsi. Similarly, if you work for Pepsi your position would be that Pepsi is better than Coke. However, what if you’re a distributor who sells both products to restaurants? You might opt to stay neutral and let your customers share their likes and dislikes about the two products. Choose a topic related to your brand that people are passionate about. When handled correctly, this negative marketing tactic can generate buzz and traffic.

3. Create a shared negative experience. People tend to dislike many of the same things: sitting in traffic, endless office meetings with no purpose, obnoxious people talking loudly on cell phones in confined environments, being treated rudely, and so on. Sharing a negative experience that your audience can relate to can build rapport and engagement. Be careful to transition back to a positive solution and avoid a full blown rant.

4. Explain why something sucks. This can quickly establish yourself as an authority on a topic, especially if you can effectively make your case. Detailing why something sucks also provides you with the opportunity to position your product or service as an alternative. For example, if you sell beauty products with all natural ingredients, you could write about beauty products that suck because they contain chemicals, are tested on animals, use environmentally damaging manufacturing processes, and so on. From there, you could frame your products as alternatives that do not suck.

5. Use negative titles occasionally. Lists are popular with bloggers and readers alike. For example, a blog post titled “Top 10 Gadgets for Busy Moms” would likely get a lot of clicks. The same is true of a blog post titled “Don’t Waste Your Money on these Ridiculous Gadgets.” This is similar to negative marketing tactic #4 in that you’ll likely go on to detail why those gadgets suck.

A little negative marketing can have a positive impact on your overall marketing strategy. Use negative marketing to identify who you don’t want to attract, stir up passions, bond with your audience, position yourself as an authority, and boost traffic. When used with care and in small doses, negative marketing can be extremely effective.

Internet Marketing: CRM, Marketing Tactics and IT Alignment

Internet marketing and sales strategyInternet marketing continues to evolve, becoming both more viable and more complex. Customer relationship management software (CRM) has become a must due to the complexity. It plays an important role at all stages of the sales funnel. With a solid CRM system in place, your Internet sales and marketing teams can more effectively manage contacts whether they’re in the engage, convert, or nurture stage. Where the sales funnel was once the realm of the sales and marketing team, today’s Internet marketing strategies require a robust CRM solution – and IT involvement.

To add to the complexity of CRM and the Internet sales funnel in general, social media has emerged as a major channel for customer service, tech support, sales, and marketing alike. Integrating social media into your Internet marketing CRM program allows everyone to see the larger picture. For example, is a contact complaining about your service? Is she raving about your products? Has a contact expressed a need that your company can fill? By tapping into these channels, your sales, marketing, customer service, and tech support teams can respond appropriately.

Opinions vary on the best approach to CRM with some Internet marketing experts favoring a single, shared database for both marketing and sales and others preferring separate databases to ensure that leads are managed properly according to where they are in the Internet sales funnel. Other experts advocate using marketing automation software to first clean up the sales funnel data before importing it into CRM software.

Can a single CRM solution handle everything your Internet sales and marketing teams need? The answer varies from company to company. In most cases, sales and marketing need to work with the same data and contacts; however, they tend to interact with that data differently.

Integrated CRM solutions that include marketing automation and email marketing software may be the optimal choice by allowing sales and marketing to access shared data without duplication or conflicts. For example, with an integrated Internet marketing CRM platform, when an email subscriber unsubscribes from an email marketing campaign the contact will be removed from the mailing list and relevant information appended to the contact’s record.

No matter which option makes the most sense for your Internet marketing strategy, one thing is clear: you need IT support. With multiple databases, automation software, and lead sources (such as cold calling, opt-in lists, special events, and social media channels), managing the sales funnel requires software and systems that perform to their fullest potential.

While many Internet marketing platforms are offered as “software as a service” and imply that minimal IT intervention will be required, aligning marketing with IT is essential. While installation, updates, and support tasks may be minimal with cloud-based Internet sales solutions, IT should be involved in selecting the solution to make sure it is compatible with existing systems along with the company’s security and privacy policies. If your CRM solution includes social media information from contacts based in European Union countries, stricter privacy regulations may apply.

By including IT in the Internet sales and CRM conversation, you’ll benefit from a broader perspective that extends beyond the sales funnel and better aligns with the organization’s objectives. In addition, IT professionals tend to have more experience in purchasing software. Thus, they may be better equipped to evaluate the terms and conditions and negotiate the contract.

No matter which CRM solution you use to nurture prospects through the sales funnel, stronger Internet sales require alignment between your Internet marketing, sales, and IT teams.

Website Video Spokesperson: More than Just a Pretty Face

spokespeopleThere’s more to a website video spokesperson than meets the eye. While you’ll likely want to choose an attractive virtual spokesperson for your website, other considerations exist. In addition to choosing a professional actor to play the role of Web video spokesperson, the video itself must be produced so that the final product looks and sounds as professional as possible.

What is a website video spokesperson? A website video spokesperson serves as a virtual spokesperson who greets visitors when they land on your website. These pre-recorded videos can either play automatically or when the user clicks on them. Using green screen technology, the image of the Web video spokesperson plays on top of the website.

Because your website video spokesperson serves as the face of your website, it’s important to choose a professional actor. In some cases, it makes sense for the head of the company to serve as a virtual spokesperson. If you will be playing this role yourself, make sure that you’re comfortable speaking in front of a camera. Your video production company can help you with the script and provide you with some basic coaching. In both cases, your Web video spokesperson must be able to:

  • Look and play the part
  • Memorize a script or read off of a teleprompter
  • Deliver lines as directed
  • Speak clearly

In addition to the abilities of the person playing the role of website video spokesperson, it’s also important that the behind-the-scenes team is skilled at virtual spokesperson production. For example, what will your virtual spokesperson say? The script should be developed in conjunction with your Web content so that the Web video spokesperson guides visitors through a sales process.

In addition, the video production company will need to shoot the Web video spokesperson in a studio with a green screen so that only the virtual spokesperson appears on the website. Camera operators will also need to frame the shot appropriately as well. The director will work closely with you to determine the best camera angles based on your website design and the ultimate placement of the website video spokesperson. For example, if your website has blank vertical sidebars, it may make sense to have your Web video spokesperson appear in one of the sidebars in full length. Similarly, if you want the website video spokesperson to walk onto the screen, your director will need to frame the shot appropriately.

Broadcast quality production values are a must at all stages of the production including sound quality. When you choose a professional video production company to produce the virtual spokesperson video, you’re usually getting an entire team of video professionals committed to making sure that the Web video spokesperson looks and sounds good.

Once the footage of the website video spokesperson has been shot and edited, the next step involves putting the virtual spokesperson on the website. You will need to make several decisions such as which video player to use and whether or not the Web video spokesperson should begin speaking automatically.

Clearly, putting a website video spokesperson on your website is a process that involves making the right decisions. Not only will you need a person to play the role of virtual spokesperson, that person must be a skilled speaker. Your Web video spokesperson will need a compelling script to follow and a video production team working behind the scenes to produce broadcast quality video.

While a website video spokesperson may indeed have a pretty face, make sure all of the other pieces are in place. What do you think is a must for any website video spokesperson? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Should You Use Multiple Video Spokespeople on Your Website?

By now, you’ve likely encountered a video spokesperson on a website. Video and Web technology have blended to create a welcoming video presence on websites. While one virtual spokesmodel appearing on a website is fresh and innovative, would two be even better?

It’s something to consider. For example, morning news programs regularly use co-anchors to add banter and different perspectives to their programs. These same concepts can be transferred to the Web. As with adding a single virtual spokesperson to your website, you’ll want to carefully consider the actors, the script, and whether or not your site lends itself to co-spokespeople.

What types of sites lend themselves to having two video spokespeople? Let’s say that you and a partner run a real estate business and have built a brand around your partnership. Your photos appear on your business cards and signs and the two of you appear together in local advertisements. In this case, having both of you appear as virtual spokespeople on your website remains true to your brand. You could walk onto the website from the left and your partner could walk onto the site from the right. You could appear side-by-side near the top of the screen. You could “interview” each other as you relay information important to your site’s visitors. You could position yourself as the expert in one category and your partner as the expert in another category. You could appeal to one demographic while your partner appeals to another. . . the possibilities are endless.

Another type of site that could benefit from having two virtual spokespeople would be a website that has distinct segments. For example, a website that covers the latest mortgage and auto insurance news might want a female virtual spokesperson for the mortgage content and a male virtual spokesperson for the auto insurance content.

If you’re considering a co-video spokesperson strategy, speak with your video production team. Just as you’ll need a solid plan for incorporating a single video spokesperson into your site, you’ll need even more planning when incorporating two spokespeople. Will they appear together? Will they provide light banter before digging deeper? Will they have a similar appearance or do you want contrast? Will the video spokespeople be peers (such as two coaches) or will one be more authoritative (like a coach and a trainee) than the other? Should one always appear on the left while the other always appears on the right?

Keep in mind that having two video spokespeople will likely cost more than having just one. After all, there are two actors to hire, not one, and additional scripts to write. If you and a partner are playing the roles, it may take more time in the studio before you both are satisfied.

Having two video spokespeople appear on a website can make perfect sense for some websites. When done correctly, doing so can also make for a unique user experience and set your site apart from others.

Creating “Evergreen” Video Spokespeople

Adding a video spokesperson to your website requires an investment of time and money. However, once the video has been shot and edited and the video overlay has been set up on your website, your video spokesperson can last for years. If your message doesn’t change drastically, you may not need to update the video spokesperson for years. But, if you don’t think in terms of the future when you shoot, you could end up with a spokes model that looks dated prematurely.

For example, remember when Fedora hats were all the rage back in 2008? A video spokesperson wearing a Fedora would’ve been fashionable back then, but would stick out now as being dated. Currently, “jeggings,” a cross between jeans and leggings, are popular, but will they be a distraction a year or two from now? In addition to clothing and accessories, the video spokesperson’s hairstyle could be problematic in the future if it is trendy now.

Because you want your video spokesperson to last for more than the current season, you’ll need to create an “evergreen” look. The term “evergreen” is commonly used to indicate Web content that is built to withstand the test of time. For instance, an article about the latest football game will be relevant for about a week until the next games are played while an article about the differences between American and European football will be relevant for years to come. Of the two articles, the latter is considered “evergreen.”

Creating an evergreen look for your video spokesperson involves choosing a spokesperson with a timeless overall look or a look that can be transformed to pass the test of time. Work with a video production company that has a wide selection of classic wardrobe options. Choose wardrobes that will look as good tomorrow as they do today and avoid those that are trendy, flashy, or bold. Just as navy blue suits are safe choices for job interviews, solid classics are generally safe for video spokes models.

Another consideration when creating an evergreen video spokesperson for your website involves the script. Avoid catchphrases and buzzwords that are popular today but will likely be short-lived. These will date your video spokesperson as soon as they become clichés or fall out of favor. Soon, these phrases may even be forgotten and their context lost on future visitors. Avoid references that will date your spokesperson as well.

For example, if your script mentions President Obama, it will be obsolete as soon as President Obama is no longer the president. References to future dates are especially problematic as once that date passes, the script is no longer relevant. For example, if your video spokesperson says, “This offer is good until December 2010,” the video will be hopelessly out of date from January 2011 forward. A better choice would be to say, “This offer expires soon” and use other easy-to-change elements on the webpage to indicate the actual expiration date.

Selecting an evergreen wardrobe, hairstyle, and script for the video spokesperson allows you to extend the final video overlay’s life on your website.

The Convert Phase of the Video-to-Lead Funnel: A Detailed Look

Continuing our discussion about the three phases of the video-to-lead funnel, let’s explore the second phase: convert. As you know, prospects move through the video-to-lead funnel from the top at the “engage” phase, move down through the “convert” phase, and finally enter the “nurture” phase.

Once you’ve engaged your prospects with videos that help solve your prospects’ problems, present tips and best practices, expand upon an event, or otherwise engage your prospects and build trust, the next step is to convert them from casual visitors with a passing interest into legitimate leads with a genuine interest in your offer.

The convert phase provides you with the perfect opportunity to showcase your company, product, or service as well as prove that you can deliver upon your promise. Videos well suited for this phase of the video-to-lead funnel fall into the following three general categories: overviews, demonstrations, and testimonials.

Video Overviews

Video overviews are short Web videos that show case your company, product, or service. Remember, your prospects have already been engaged by viewing earlier videos. At this point, you may have solved a problem, shared interesting ideas, or interviewed a key leader; in short, you’ve earned a degree of trust with your visitors. They’re now much more open to learning more about you and your offerings. A video overview showcasing your company, such as a company tour, or your products and services typically increase prospects’ time on a website by four times over baseline. Not only that, your customer is now much more informed when entering the sales cycle.

Video Demonstrations

Engaged prospects may actively seek additional information as they begin forming their buying decisions. For example, if you’ve discussed a problem in a Web video and mentioned that your product was designed as a solution to this problem, an engaged prospect may look for a demonstration video to see the product in action. Demonstration videos educate and inform prospects about the product or service, reinforce benefits, and serve as proof of concept. Sure, you can say that your widget sets up in less than 10 seconds, but the real proof is in actually seeing the widget being set up – in less than 10 seconds as promised. Web video can do that. These video demos also position you as an expert who understands the challenges and problems prospects face, and they show that you have the best solution.

Video Testimonials

Video testimonials are particularly powerful. Again, you say how wonderful your product is all day long but your word isn’t nearly as trustworthy as that of a prospect’s peers. Video testimonials show proof that your product or service has served others extremely well. For example, which of the following is more credible: “Our widget will save you $1000 per year in utility bills” or “This widget paid for itself in the first month and saved me over $1000 last year on my electric bills”? Video testimonials serve as an accelerated, and effective, form of word-of-mouth advertising.

The video-to-lead funnel’s convert phase is an important phase where you can build upon the trust you’ve already earned with your prospects.

The Engage Phase of the Video-to-Lead Funnel: A Detailed Look

Earlier, we talked about the “video-to-lead funnel” with its three phases:Engage, Convert, and Nurture. This funnel represents a strategy for using Web video to guide and convert prospects. The broadest part of the funnel is the Engage phase. In order for a prospect to convert, that prospect must first be engaged. How do you use video to engage prospects? Let’s explore.

In general, videos that add value engage your site’s visitors. Examples of engaging videos include:

  • Interviews with thought leaders on topics of interest to your site’s visitors. This type of video typically increases engagement by two and a half to three times over baseline.
  • Videos consisting of tips or best practices of interest to your site’s visitors. These videos typically increase engagement by two and a half to three times over baseline.
  • Videos that contain solutions to your prospects’ problems.

Promotional videos can also engage your site’s visitors. For example:

  • A video spokesperson that guides your visitors to specific Web pages is much more engaging than a text link.
  • Videos embedded in reports and white papers can bring the material to life and engage your prospects.
  • Video links in newsletters add interest while also driving your prospects to specific pages on your website. In addition, video links in newsletters have been shown to reduce opt-out rates.
  • Videos positioned on landing pages increase landing page conversion rates by one and a half to two times over baseline. They also encourage follow through on your call to action by reinforcing the benefits of your offer.

Videos related to an event are another terrific way to engage your prospects. In fact, you can use videos before, during, and after an event, adding value and engaging prospects each step along the way. For example:

  • Before the event – Use video to promote your event and increase attendance. This strategy typically results in an improvement of two to four times over baseline.
  • During the event – Video displays during the event engage attendees and add another dimension to your presentation while recording the event itself ensures that you have footage to share afterward.
  • After the event – The possibilities for using video after an event are vast. You could post highlights from the event on your website for those who couldn’t attend, thereby engaging prospects after the fact. You could edit the footage to include detailed excerpts from speakers and post it on your website. You could use excerpts from the event as you promote the next event in the series. You could create an event follow-up video with a special offer which typically results in a follow-up response of 22% to 35%. Each of these post-event videos allow you to keep the conversation going and reach attendees and non-attendees alike. They also strengthen your position as an expert.

What do all of the above videos have in common? They engage prospects.

How have you used Web video to engage your site’s visitors? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

Online Video Types – Know Your Purpose

When it comes to online videos, all videos are not made the same. Nor should they be. In fact, each video that you produce should have a clear purpose. Do you know what you expect out of each online business video? By knowing the video’s purpose, you’ll be able to produce a video that fulfills it as well as be able to measure the video’s success once posted online.

Three Types of Online Videos
Most online videos fall into three categories: informative/educational, conversion, and viral videos. Each of these categories has its own purpose. For example, an informative video endeavors to educate viewers about a product, service, industry, or issue while a conversion video strives to convince viewers to perform a specific action such as subscribing to a newsletter or buying a product. Viral videos are often used to build brand awareness or drive traffic to a Web site.

Informative Videos
Informative videos are educational videos. Creating a informative video allows you to provide value to your site’s visitors while also distinguishing your company from your competitors. After all, buy sharing your expertise, you are demonstrating it and building trust. If your competitors are not doing the same, who do you think will look more credible from your customers’ perspectives?

Understand that an informative video isn’t necessarily going to translate into immediate sales. While you may see some immediate and future sales as a result, sales are not the primary purpose of informative business videos. Depending on how you optimize an educational video and where you post it, you may see: increased traffic to your Web site, incoming links from other Web sites (which can both drive traffic as well as provide additional PageRank from Google), return traffic, higher listings in Google search results, more trust with customers (and future sales). In addition, if your product videos show users how to use the product or troubleshoot common problems, you may experience fewer calls from customers seeking help.

Conversion Videos
Conversion videos have a single purpose: to convert prospective customers into actual customers. This purpose may be a multistep process with a conversion video first prompting your site’s visitors to subscribe to a newsletter, download a white paper, or download a trial version of software or it could be an immediate prompt enticing the prospect to buy now.

When producing a conversion video, it’s important to understand what you want your customer to do as a result of watching the video online. Do you want the user to download a white paper? Then make sure you prompt the user to so and provide links on the page where the video is hosted. Make it as easy as you can for the user to do what you’re asking him to do.

Viral Videos
Viral videos are online videos that viewers find interesting enough to share with others. Most often, this happens organically though many companies attempt to create videos specifically with hopes that the videos will “go viral.” This type of video is most often found on video-sharing sites such as YouTube rather than on corporate Web sites. If you’re hoping for a viral video sensation, you’ll want to create a video that’s funny and unexpected. In addition, you’ll need to post it on the popular video-sharing sites so that it is more easily discovered and shared.

Understanding what you want to accomplish with your online videos before you begin shooting is an important part of the video production process. Once you understand what you want to accomplish, you can then create a workable plan and shoot your video with confidence.

Do You Need a Web Video Strategy?

Adding web videos to your websites and blogs is a terrific way to add value to your sites while also taking advantage of the potential additional traffic from video search engine results. However, there’s more involved than occasionally posting an online video on your site. As with the other elements of Web development, video for web pages should be strategically planned and managed.

First, how can online video benefit your site? The benefits are numerous. For example, having Web videos on your site can result in additional traffic based on search results. Not only do the major search engines list results based on text, they now list video results. While additional traffic is always welcome, video for web pages can also: inform visitors, direct attention to specific areas of the website, convey your message, make your company more personable, and prompt users to act in some desirable way.

With all of the benefits of online video, the decision to move forward is relatively easy. Before you start trolling YouTube for inspiration, it’s important to understand what you want the Web video to accomplish.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of the website?
  • How can Web video help you to further that purpose?
  • Which benefit of online video is most important to you?
  • Where does it make the most sense to post video on your website?
  • How often are you willing to post online videos?

The answers to these questions can guide you in creating a Web video strategy. For example, if your website’s purpose is to raise awareness about a specific cause, adding informational videos could be powerful. On the other hand, if your website’s purpose is sales driven, how-to videos or product demos may be a better choice. If you want to attract visitors, inform them, and create a more engaging experience, you may want to opt for a video spokesperson who acts as a virtual tour guide throughout your site.

Where should you post your online videos? Again, it depends on the purpose of the site and the Web video. The home page may be the perfect spot for your cause awareness video whereas individual product pages may be better suited for the how-to videos. Depending on how you incorporate Web videos, you may even want to create a video gallery or showcase section of your site.

Just as it’s important to regularly add articles and blog posts to your sites, regularly adding online videos is also important. Adding fresh content encourages return visitors and aids in SEO. Create an editorial calendar and map out your video for web goals. If you have the resources, adding a fresh online video each week would be an excellent start. Even if you can only handle one Web video per month, you’d have 12 videos working for your site in a year’s time, each delivering benefits and traffic.

Do you have a video for web strategy or are you winging it? What are your thoughts?