July 31, 2006
Top 10 Summertime Activities for Marketers
For most marketers, summer is not the time when you go to the
beach or take that extra Friday off for a longer weekend. Nope,
summer is the time when you gear up for the big fall season. Top
#1. Review past test data
I've noticed when marketers try to recall results from tests even
just a few weeks back, their memories are pretty far off. You
think you remember the numbers perfectly ... but then when you
actually look at the report, you're surprised by the real data.
Lesson -- never make decisions for your upcoming fall campaigns
until you've reviewed the action numbers one more time.
#2. Launch new tests
More ecommerce sites launch tests during August than any other
time of the year. If you surf sites whose peak selling seasons
are the holiday season, you'll find all sorts of neat stuff going
on right now, including shopping cart redesigns, internal search
results page revamps, 3D, audio and video added to merchandise
If you're B-to-B marketer, now is the time to run an A/B test on
your lead gen landing page to see if a few tweaks can increase
your conversion rates. Clean up your landing page now before
you begin driving heavy traffic with third-quarter campaigns.
#3. Face-time with other departments
Chances are summertime is a slightly easier time of year for the
rest of the organization. Execs who couldn't possibly spare time
for a meeting with marketing in the past could be open to one
now. Schedule lunches or meetings with everyone from business
development to customer service. You don't need an agenda past
The relationships you build now will serve you well when it's
crunch time later in the fall.
#4. Customer verbiage studies
This is also the best time of year to grab at least few customers
on the phone or in person. Your goal is to discover both their
pain points (what could your product or service solve) and what
sorts of language/verbiage they use to describe your offerings.
Your findings will feed directly into everything from search
marketing keyword lists to email newsletter article headlines for
fall. Nothing is sweeter to a customer or prospect's ears than
words they themselves would use to describe things.
#5. Canned content creation
Professional managing editors in the publishing world have a
secret weapon they use to survive busy seasons -- canned content.
This may be anything from feature articles to interesting blog
postings that they hold on hand for "just in case."
Two keys -- the content is "evergreen," meaning it can be held for
use in emergency situations at any time in the next six months to
year without appearing dated. Also, the content is designated
"emergency use only," which means you don't slip it into the
Fate does have an unscheduled, but very real, emergency in store
for you this fall -- probably just when you don't have time to
cope with it. A writer will fall ill, a launch will be delayed,
whatever. You'll be incredibly grateful to have that canned
content ready to slide in at the last moment.
#6. Revamp analytics reports
Everyone I know who has a pretty good analytics system (data
coming from their Web site and other marketing campaigns)
complains they never have time to really review it.
I'm not saying this is the best time to review it. Instead, I'm
saying summer is the best time to set up a few more reports. Why
more when you need less? That's the point -- your new reports
will be focused on the most useful data points only.
Think over what data do you need that will make a big difference
in marketing decisions that will confront you this fall? Plus,
what data would help you impress the management team that
marketing's doing a great job?
Boil down your analytics report needs to just those (far fewer)
things and set systems in place -- automated if possible, cheap
temp or intern labor if not -- to be able to produce them from
#7. Revisit all templated/automated content
Run an exhaustive research mission to collect every bit of
automated content your prospects and customers receive. This is
content such as service letters, email autoresponses, basic
brochures, corporate "about us" pages, PowerPoint slide
templates, transactional notices, employee email SIGs ... even the
on hold audio on your phone system.
Are the logos still correct? How about offers, tone, colors?
Chances are something's out of date. Something always is.
#8. Research external helpers
If business booms this fall and the management team turns to you
to say "rev up marketing even further," are you prepared? In the
middle of your busiest season you may not have time to research
vendors or hire and train more staff.
Now is the time to build an in-house file of external resources.
Check out everything from transcriptionists (everything audio on
your site should have matching text to help boost SEO) to graphic
artists. You should have contacts, costs and samples of their
work when appropriate.
Also, check when your main vendor contracts run out. Are you
planning to re-evaluate vendors for 2007? You may not have time
closer to January to start the RFP process on a proper researched
#9. Start a public swipe file
Buy a huge bulletin board and hang it somewhere that everyone in
the marketing department (at least locally) can see it. Plus,
start a house library of binders to browse through when the board
is full. Companies with marketers worldwide often add a swipe
file to their intranet or create a private group blog for them.
Then, start adding every piece of creative you like (even if you
like only one element of it) to that file. Ask other departments
to do the same (great way to help management feel "involved" in
Include copies of everything from email newsletters to
PowerPoints and landing pages. However, don't break copyright --
generally, if it's a marketing piece that's run publicly you're
safe copying it, but not so if it's an article.
Later this fall, when you are on crazy deadline and need an idea
to spark your creativity, your swipe file is there to help you.
That said, always test new creative. Never assume marketing
creative, even swiped from huge successful organizations, is
something that's going to work the best for you.
#10. Plan a fabulous vacation for January
If you're not a skier, consider Australia or New Zealand.
Remember, their seasons are switched from ours, so you can have
that perfect beach vacation you've always dreamed of and still be
Anne Holland, President
P.S. As always, our Case Studies and articles are open access for
about 10 days. Then they go into SherpaLibrary where you can
research for a small fee. The links always remain the same.
#2. How to Get 350 Positive Media Mentions for a Business Services Firm in Six Months
SUMMARY: If you want better public relations results, this
Case Study is for you. Discover how a national law firm
emerged from the shadows to hog the B-to-B media spotlight
this year -- 350+ mentions so far.
Includes tips on how to introduce your CEO to journalists;
how to set up an effective team of PR pros; and how to turn
a hot media topic into a series of lead generation seminars.
(Open access until Aug. 5th)
#3. How to Make Your Email Enticing in AutoPreview -- 16 Samples of Best & Worst Tactics
SUMMARY: Oh, dear. Have you ever viewed your own email
newsletters or offers in an Outlook in-box with
"AutoPreview" turned on?
69% of Outlook users frequently scan through their in-boxes using
some form of Preview. And, MarketingSherpa has discovered some
pretty big mailers (Target, The Company Store, the DMA and
ourselves among them) have blah, please-don't-open-me
Here's how to redo your email template design for AutoPreview.
Features inspirational email samples from nine mailers you should
copy, including The Motley Fool, Fossil, Circuit City, Gevalia,
Williams-Sonoma and JetBlue:
(Open access until Aug. 6th)
#4. Special Report: How to Market to India Online -- 4 Challenges and 22 Helpful Hotlinks
SUMMARY: With all the hype surrounding India's emergence in the
world economy and its growing middle class, it's a market
worth delving into.
In our exclusive Special Report, discover:
-> Useful stats and demographics
-> Top four challenges to overcome
-> Three online marketing tips
Plus, hotlinks to 22 associations and other helpful places.
(Open access until August 4th)
#5. Interview: Behind the Scenes with a Five-Bar Affiliate -- How Merchants Can Improve Program Results
SUMMARY: "Most mid-tier affiliate programs could do much better,"
says Joe Raffetto. Raffetto is a Commission Junction Five-Bar
performer as well as a Digital River affiliate network all-star,
so he knows what he's talking about.
Discover what he revealed to MarketingSherpa on:
-> How to recruit top affiliates
-> What should be in your email newsletter to affiliates
-> Three Best-of-Breed merchants to emulate
Here's our exclusive Q&A:
(Open access until Aug. 3rd)
#6. Fame Briefs: 1 Speaking Gig and 1 New Award to Enter
Here's a quick listing of the latest marketing, ad and PR
awards you can nominate yourself for.
(Open access = permanent)
#7. Help Wanteds: 37 New Jobs & 6 Seekers Available
The past week's new posts including four Directors and 10 in
Web marketing. Plus, learn how to post your own opening.
(Open access = permanent)
#8. New Book Offer: 'Advanced Email Marketing'
We all know that email is a high-speed, low-cost tool that has
the potential to be a dynamic marketing device. But do you know
how to maximize its potential?
In 'Advanced Email Marketing,' author Jim Sterne directs his
message to the professional email marketer who wants to use
email to achieve marketing goals. The book covers a range of
topics that are of concern to an organization or marketer who
is trying to create, maintain or improve their email marketing
Sterne, an internationally recognized speaker on electronic
marketing and customer interaction with 20 years of experience,
explores broad topics with instructional text, real-world
examples and hands-on worksheets.
He uses a fictional company, Acme Bike Corp., to portray his
email marketing messages. After reviewing the email operation
journey of Acme Bike, you can transfer what you learn to your
own emails. Each chapter contains valuable worksheets to get
you started on the right path.
Sterne donated five copies of 'Advanced Email Marketing' for
Sherpa to give away. Toss your name into the hat here to try for one.
+ Last week's book offer:
These five lucky marketers will get their own copies of
'What No One Ever Tells You About Franchising," by Jan Norman:
- Joe Ciannamea, Pak Mail, Spring Hill, FL
- Jesse Emperador, Cendant, Washington, DC
- Melanie Johnston, HealthPros, Kansas City, KS
- Lisa Pohmajevich, Conceptus, Mountain View, CA
- Timothy Simba, Vulindlela BizzAssociates, Gauteng, SOUTH AFRICA
P.S. Did a friend send you this? Go Here for your own copy - it's award-winning, useful, and complimentary.
P.P.S. Got questions, comments, or ideas for editorial?
Email Editorial Director Tad Clarke at TadC(at)marketingsherpa(dot)com
or call Customer Service at (877) 895-1717 -- thanks!