It was early March and our county had not yet instituted its shelter in place order. Still, it didn’t feel right to hold in-person meetups.
We had two meetups scheduled in Redwood City, California.
A few days later, a number of Northern California counties announced shelter in place orders. Governor Newsom announced a lockdown for the entire state the following week.
We quickly pivoted.
We kept those two dates, but moved our meetups online, using Zoom.
Our in-person meetups began at 6:30pm. We moved our online meetups to lunchtime and shrunk the duration to 30 minutes.
Rich Schwerin, one of our founding members, came up with the name “Zooms at Noon” 👌
We made the meetups free to attend and invited the entire world to join us.
In our first online meetup, an attendee joined us from Bangalore, India.
We’ve also seen attendees join us from the UK and Italy.
One night, it was 9pm in Italy for Ester. She was able to join us because her husband helped put their child to bed.
It’s so neat seeing our Bay Area regulars online, but also connecting with other marketers all across the world 🌍
We meet 1–2 times per week. To date, we’ve hosted 19 online meetups.
I record each meetup and post the video on YouTube. Here’s the full list:
- Media Training With A “FEEL” Lens (Deirdre Breakenridge)
- Learn to Use Canva (Mariana Padilla)
- Curiosity As a Coping Mechanism in Marketing (Sarah Greesonbach)
- Event Marketing: Communicating Change As It’s Happening (Cathy McPhillips)
- Lately: AI-Generated Sales & Marketing Messaging (Kate Bradley Chernis & Lauren Turow)
- What Is a Customer Data Platform? (Tom Treanor)
- What Marketers Need to Do Now to Survive the Pandemic (Joe Pulizzi)
- B2B Marketers’ Survival Guide (Jill Richards and Johannes Hoech)
- Google Analytics: What Is It, Why Do You Need It? (Kyle Akerman)
- Public Relations and Content: Better Together (Michelle Garrett)
- Five Steps to Pivot from In-Person to Virtual Events (Okta)
- Say Buh-Bye to Boring Content: Storytelling for Content Marketers (Kelvin Gee)
- Humanize Your Brand: How to Create Content that Connects (Jessica Ann)
- How to Make Thought Leadership Cool Again (Lee Price)
- Improv for Content and Storytelling (Kathy Klotz-Guest)
- How B2B Brands Should Think About Social Media Marketing (Carter Hostelley)
- Pebble in the Shoe: Live Troubleshooting of Your Marketing Challenges (Maureen Jann)
- How to Increase Web Lead Conversions by 51% (Geoff Rego)
- Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile to Make Better Connections (Randy Ksar)
Watch them all here:
I also wrote a Medium post in which you can find these same videos.
Re-thinking the marketing database
How many names are in your marketing database? If you’re in B2B, I bet it’s in the five digits, maybe even six.
Your database has prospects, leads, contacts, customers, partners and (gasp) maybe a purchased name or two.
It also has subscribers: people who opted in to your content and who are loyal consumers of your content.
In a post at Content Marketing Institute, Robert Rose writes, “A subscriber doesn’t sign up only for the immediate content asset. A subscriber also signs up for what they’re going to get down the road.”
Robert uses the analogy of an entertainment app. You subscribe to watch the hot new show, but your continued subscription is based on the expectation that the app will deliver entertainment that you enjoy.
Robert continues, “Developing this trust and maintaining this confidence in future value is what separates a subscribed audience from a marketing database.”
When I helped manage a marketing database for a B2B software company, I made the mistake of viewing that database solely in terms of future revenue.
Our job was to convert leads to qualified leads to opportunities, then hope Sales could close an adequate number of those opportunities.
We had loyal subscribers, but we didn’t pay them much attention, because they wouldn’t buy from us.
But Robert says that loyal subscribers can be far more valuable than leads. They will:
(Excerpt from the post)
- Almost certainly recommend your content to others in their network — thus giving you more organic reach
- Ultimately have occasion to need your product or service and be predisposed to choosing you
- Help you through targeting get better results from personalization or segmenting content
- Provide you with insight into other products, markets, or even regions you may want to explore
(End of excerpt)
Takeaway: In parallel with your strategy to move leads down the sales cycle, think about how you’re fostering, nourishing and enhancing your relationship with subscribers.
Read the post at CMI:
Building a great email newsletter
Casey Newton, a columnist and editor at The Verge, provides excellent advice on building a great newsletter.
Casey’s four rules are:
- Find an undercovered niche
- Focus on cadence + framing
- Build a platform to help you build sources
- Reply to every reader
For this newsletter, I can do a better job at item #1.
I cover marketing, but that’s such a broad topic. As Casey writes:
“Autonomous cars is probably not niche-y enough to do a newsletter around, but autonomous vehicles in Arizona would be a killer newsletter, because that’s where all the autonomous vehicles are testing.”
Related to item #4, “Reply to every reader,” I love it when newsletter authors write me back when I subscribe.
It happened twice:
When I subscribed to Ann Handley’s Total Annarchy newsletter, Ann sent me a welcome message.
She asked, “Why did you subscribe to my newsletter? What do you hope to learn here? Your answer will help me to know you a little better, so that I can offer you real value in return.”
Casey Newton’s post led me to subscribe to “This week in newsletters” from the team at Revue. After subscribing, I received an email from Mark. It began:
“This is Mark. I write The week in newsletters for Revue. I try to have a good feel for who reads my newsletter and look up a little info about new subscribers.”
Mark’s email included a few personal details (about me!), which was neat.
It’s a golden opportunity with newsletters: a personalized welcome from the curator/editor/writer.
Well done, Ann and Mark!
Subscribe to “This week in newsletters”:
Featured Twitter user
This week, I recommend Megan Ming Francis (@meganfrancis).
Megan is a Visiting Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington.
Megan has “broad interests in criminal punishment, black political activism, philanthropy, and the post-civil war South.”
I came across Megan from her TEDx Talk, “Let’s get to the root of racial injustice.”
Featured podcast episode
I’m a fan of Ian Truscott’s Rockstar CMO site and the Rockstar CMO FM podcast.
In episode #12, Ian interviews Andy Didorosi, Head of Marketing at Basecamp.
I love the stance Andy and Basecamp are taking against advertising on Facebook and Google and disavowing the deep tracking that’s part of email marketing.
Basecamp recently launched a new email app named “Hey.”
Listen to the episode at Rockstar CMO.
Addendum: A Patagonia tweet:
See the tweet (and thread) here: https://twitter.com/patagonia/status/1274832569398292480
Understanding racism in America
The team at TED assembled a playlist titled “Talks to help you understand racism in America.”
“From passionate pleas for reform to poetic turns of phrase, these talks take an honest look at everyday realities of Black Americans and illuminate the way forward.”
Watch the videos:
In an article at VinePair, J’nai Gaither describes the racism she faced while working as a Black American in Napa Valley tasting rooms.
When she went to management with her concerns, they weren’t exactly helpful.
Engagement: it’s a nebulous term
Jonathan Crossfield (@Kimota) wrote an excellent rant about “engagement.”
As I read his piece, I imagined Jonathan looking like this:
(Photo from Jonathan’s Twitter profile)
“Engagement has become a vague catch-all term that is often retrospectively (and self-servingly) defined when justifying whatever the results are after the fact.”
For Jonathan, likes and retweets are not the end goal. Instead, he suggests that marketers measure against business results:
“Which of those metrics on the dashboard can get you closer to your destination and which are mere distractions to be avoided?”
Read the post at Social Media Perth.
A podcaster’s journey
I loved this post titled “How I Made $8,000 per Month Podcasting, and Why You Probably Don’t Want To,” written by Tim Romero (@timoth3y).
It concerns podcasting, sponsorship and entrepreneurism, all things I’m interested in.
Bigger picture, though, it’s Tim’s personal journey into podcasting and how it made him a better person.
Here’s an excerpt that I loved:
“Podcasting changed me.
I listen more and talk less than I used to. At parties, I find myself subconsciously slipping into interview mode, and people I’ve just met end up telling me their life stories.
And I enjoy those kinds of parties a lot more than I used to. People are a lot more interesting than they used to be.
But of course, I’m the one that’s changed.”