Weeding Through Worthless Webinars

We loaded up on webinars, luncheons, and trainings over the past month, looking for folks who are putting out truly valuable content on a regular basis. Here’s what we found:


1. There is a lot of really terrible content out there.

A quick Google search for “marketing webinar” generates 47,300,000 results. 47 MILLION! And news flash: just because a result is on the first page, doesn’t mean it’s the best. Quick-fix searches won’t cut it, you’ve got to spend some time getting to know the folks you’re dealing with.

√ Start exploring sources based on your greatest needs.
√ Get as specific as possible with your searches.
√ And ask the experts around you for recommendations.

It’s rare that we stumble across a random webinar or speaker that’s worth more than the time we lose. The events that offer the most value are almost always recommended by our friends and colleagues (many of which you’ll find we recommend in #3).

 

2.HubSpot is a beautiful dangerous beast.

HubSpot is a content machine. With 4.5M monthly visitors to their blog, countless webinars, and regular conferences, they’re cranking out more content than anyone could keep up with. And for the most part, they can offer some great value (we’re particularly fond of the Inbound Marketing Report they put out each year), but it’s very easy to get sucked into stats and catchy headlines that don’t actually apply to your business. 

For example, if you just started looking into the value of SEO last week, you probably don’t need to jump into Latent Semantic Indexing quite yet. Or, if you’re in no way responsible for creating design or visuals for your brand, you probably don’t need to attend a webinar for Photoshop power users.

We recommend going in with a game plan. Don’t just start clicking before you know the play–figure out what topics will help you most in the position you’re in, and ONLY click relevant articles or webinars. You may want a teammate on the line with you to make sure you don’t spend the next 4 hours reading about the history of clipart or 34 LinkedIn features you’ll never use.

 

3. Nashville is full of brilliant people.

We may be a tad biased, but to ignore the talent and creativity that surrounds you is just plain dumb. So, we can’t end without recommending some of our favorite orgs offering opportunity to learn and grow right here in Nashville.

Creative Mornings
Free
Monthly
No membership required
Great speakers
Free coffee and donuts 

Nashville Junior Chamber – Membership Meetings
Free
Monthly
No membership required
Great speakers (organized by FoxFuel’s own Colton Mulligan)
Free Yazoo booze 

Nashville Cab!e
Ticketed
Array of both events and training opportunities
Always highlighting and engaging amazing powerful women
Members get access to exclusive events and discounts on regular luncheons

Nashville American Marketing Association (NAMA) – Power Lunches
Ticketed
Monthly
Great Speakers
Membership discount

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FFU Recap: Why No One’s Reading Your Emails

We held our very first FoxFuel University class this week, giving folks a look at some of the most common reasons Email Campaigns underperform. Oddly enough, we found that many of these reasons are also applicable to your failing relationship, so you may try a few of these tips next time you’re trying to figure out why your significant other is sleeping on the couch.

Here’s a quick recap of the key points we touched on:

 

1. Your pick-up lines are awful.

Is your name Free Wifi? ’Cause I’m feeling a connection ;)

PickupLine

Your subject line is the first interaction the user has with your email. If it’s not engaging enough to convince them to open the email, then the rest of your content won’t matter much.

How to fix it:

  • Be concise – take a look at your email app on your phone – how many words of the subject line do you see on average?
  • Be specific – there should be a direct correlation between your subject line and the first thing the reader sees when they open your email.
  • Test your options – your audience is unique to you. Pay attention to how they’re engaging.

 

2. You talk too much.

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 8.42.12 AM

You have a lot to share with the world, but a single email probably isn’t the best medium.

How to fix it:

  • Do a value check – is every sentence truly valuable to the reader?
  • Use visuals – break up your content with strong relevant imagery.
  • Highlight key points – make sure the reader’s attention is drawn to the most important information.

 

3. You’re not being clear.

Keep-your-eye-on-the-ball-son

Interpretation is a tricky thing. Make sure you’re being very clear about what you’re asking the reader to do.

How to fix it:

  • Use headlines – tell them what they’re getting into up front if they continue reading
  • Be bold with your button – buttons are far more effective in making the desired action very clear.
  • Early & obvious CTA – “If your main call-to-action falls below the fold, then as many as 70% of recipients won’t see it.” – Hubspot

 

4. You’re boring.

Dwight

Corporate or professional brands are not boring; irrelevant brands are boring. You don’t have to use gifs from The Office to be engaging.

How to fix it:

  • Know yourself – know the value you offer and be confident in it.
  • Talk like a human – behind every Armani suit and CEO title is a person. Talk to the human, not the suit.
  • Use strong visuals – strong does not mean loud and ostentatious. Strong means relevant visuals that evoke the desired experience you want associated with your brand or offering.

 

5. Your outfit is ridiculous.

ridiculous-fashion-balloon

Speaking of ostentatious visuals… keep it clean and simple. When in doubt, leave it out.

How to fix it:

  • Limit to 3 fonts – of course, we’d recommend getting a designer’s eye to make sure the fonts play nicely together. But this is a good rule of thumb to keep yourself in check.
  • Use relevant images – every image should directly correlate to your message. If it doesn’t add value, nix it.
  • Careful with the glitter – if you have 6 CTAs that are bright red buttons at the top of your email, you’ll end up overwhelming your reader. Keep it simple.

 

6. You’re not attentive.

waiting-skeleton-waiting-for-your-message-1

If someone expresses interested in you and you wait 3 months to respond, you can’t expect them to be engaged when you finally reach out. Pay attention to your reader.

How to fix it:

  • Set auto responders – really easy way to make sure they feel the love. Any time you capture an email address, send them an automatic “Thank you! Here’s a few more things you might like…”
  • Be consistent – every other week or every other month, just be a consistent, reliable source of information for your reader.
  • Stick to a calendar – you don’t have to plan every email for the next 12 months, that’s not realistic. But having a general idea of what topics you’ll feature will help avoid the last-minute scramble to throw content together.

 

7. You can’t take a hint.

OJO47w

On the other end, if they’re not engaged, know when to cut your losses.

How to fix it:

  • CAN-SPAM is real – black-listing is a thing and it can happen to you. Don’t send to folks who didn’t ask for it.
  • Honor unsubscribes – make sure that the readers who unsubscribe are actually removed from your list to avoid that bitter telemarketer association.
  • Ask for closure – breakup emails are an excellent way to offer closure to the relationship. Let them know you’ve noticed they haven’t opened your email in 6 months and give them the opportunity to re-engage or cut the cord.

 

8. You’re not listening

IgnoringYou

Global stats are great and valuable to an extent. But your reader’s relationship with you is unique, and you need to pay attention to how often they’re reading, what they’re clicking, and when they’re bailing on you.

How to fix it:

  • Measure
  • Measure
  • Measure

 

Interested in learning more about email marketing? Give us a shout at info@foxfuelcreative.com.

Investing in Young Creatives

Each year, the American Advertising Federation of Nashville puts on the Student ADDY Awards, honoring some of our city’s most talented and promising young creatives. Naturally, we are allll over that.

We support these students in two ways:

1. Sponsoring awards at the Student ADDYs.

This year’s entries were awesome. We are so glad we didn’t have to judge and just got to watch them get cool trophies. This year’s winners:

Best of Show – $500 scholarship and crystal trophy

Austin Reasonver
Muji Ad Campaign
Magazine Campaign
Nossi College of Art

Muji 3

Judge’s Favorites – Crystal trophy

Grace Pavlic
Beast
Illustration
Watkins College of Art, Design & Film

beastlowres

 

Chris Fornal
The Birds of Astrobrights
Packaging
Watkins College of Art, Design & Film

20170218_135946 1

 

Matthew Eason
Hop Tamale’s
Integrated Brand Identity Campaign
Middle Tennessee State University

Hop Tamale 2

 

Jake Kennedy
Lumen, the Lights Out Buddy
Packaging
Watkins College of Art, Design & Film

Lumen

 

Rising Star – $500 scholarship

Grace Pavlic
Watkins College of Art, Design & Film

32243470223_dfdcb8aea3_o

 

We liked these guys so much that we invited them to sit with us at the big kid ADDY Awards the following Saturday. It was pretty great.

See full list of winners.

 

2. Mentorship through our internship program.

When it comes to creativity, there’s only so much you can learn in a classroom. We give them real-world experience, creative freedom, and guidance that pushes them to see creativity in new ways. We also haven’t made anyone cry yet, so we’re doing pretty well.

Are you a creative student? Do you know a creative student? Do you know someone who looks young enough to be a creative student? Send them our way. We’re always looking for stellar interns to join the team.

Apply now!

 

Hutzel really loves getting his picture taken.

Hutzel-AAF

Live from Nashville, it’s Saturday Night!

When we were recruited to help out with the ADDYs, our first question was “do we get extra drink tickets?” … then we realized we’d just been invited to throw one of our favorite Nashville parties of the year, so we signed on the dotted line. 

At first, we tossed out the usual party theme ideas:

  • Enchanted Kingdom
  • Under the Sea
  • Casino Night
  • Joe’s 8th Birthday Party
  • The Avengers

Then we started to move past the high school prom vibe
and flexed those creative muscles a bit:

  • Laser Tag
  • Rave
  • Giant Game of Twister
  • Carnival where every tent is just a dunk tank with an
    ADDY-nominated CEO in the drop seat.

Then we spotted a tiny plastic hand that had fallen into a dusty corner, and we just knew just the prescription for our fever.

And so was born the 2017 ADDY Awards

 

AAFN_AAA-2017_FB-Promo-Deadline1

 

We spent the next several weeks watching Matt Foley’s motivational speeches and brushing up on our ape tit trivia. We got the shipment of cowbells and Spartan pom poms, so we’re just about set.

Hope you’ll join us for a night to remember.
Check it out.

WE ARE SO FREAKIN’ EXCITED

so-freakin-excited

6 Ways To Protect Company Culture

by Mary Timaeus

“Culture” is a bit of a buzzword for organizations right now, particularly for creative agencies. Leaders and HR managers throw the word around a lot, but based on the experiences the FoxFuel friends and members have had in other companies, most are missing the mark.

FOXF_Culture_Blog-Art

We’ve found that when talking about company culture, organizations focus on the perks – free coffee, afternoon cornhole games, people in furry mascot costumes passing out beer – and those things are great, in fact, we have most of them at FoxFuel (still working on the fox costume). But those aren’t the things that establish good culture. All the perks in the world can’t make up for a petty coworker, a disrespectful boss, or a lazy team. Good culture is not rooted in perks, it’s rooted in values. Trust, respect, encouragement, etc. – these are the things that will make the difference for a team.

Now these can also turn to buzzwords pretty quickly, so we have a few practical ways to put them into action and facilitate strong culture in your company:

Do small stuff often.

Go to lunch together on Fridays or do a one minute plank at 4 p.m. every day. Doing small things together makes the big things like retreats and holiday parties more comfortable and genuine. Think of the small things as ice guards, keeping the vibes warm and cozy so icebreakers are never needed.

Stick with what you know.

Sometimes it’s fun to switch things up, like trading Friday lunch for a game of laser tag. But on the regular, it’s best to stick with what you know works. Is your office more into games and music? Don’t try to force them into kickball simply for the sake of shaking things up. Keep rolling with the good stuff till the appeal rubs off, then try something new.

Laser eyes at laser tag.

Laser eyes at laser tag.

Be inclusive.

Does someone have a dairy allergy? Have a few vegetarians around? Maybe there is Muslim on staff or several team members with families. A company picnic with burgers and pepperoni pizza at 6:30 p.m. on a Tuesday night during Ramadan probably isn’t the best way to bond. Sure, you might not be able to cater to everyone’s needs, but do your best to be considerate and as inclusive as possible.

Build traditions.

It’s the continuation of traditions that keep people together over years. Maybe you have some turnover, but the fact that you have a Thanksgiving meal together every year allows those who have moved on, those who are new, and those who have been there from the start to feel connected to each other and the foundation of the company.

Celebrate together.

We all have lives outside of work, but colleagues usually spend more time together than they spend with friends, roommates, significant others, etc. It’s important to bring life’s milestones into the workplace and take the time to celebrate together. Whether it’s a full baby shower or a simple grocery store cake, celebratory gestures let your coworkers know that you value them beyond their ability to get you that report on time.

FoxFuel baby shower.

FoxFuel baby shower.

Maintain healthy communication.

There’s nothing more disappointing than planning an amazing party just to have everyone walk around on eggshells or pair off into corners. The practice of healthy communication and feedback loops can prevent such instances and ensure that everyone feels comfortable to enjoy the party with each other.

Well, what are you waiting for? Go make your team not hate each other.

 

 


 

Lipscomb Is Hiring a Director of Digital Marketing

FoxFuel recently landed Lipscomb College of Business as a client, and as we do with all good clients, we help them find top talent to flesh out their marketing teams.  Apply through their site, and feel free to CC me, or let me know that you’ve applied (you must apply through their site), and I can put in a good word. Here’s a few excerpts from their job posting:

Lipscomb_Logo.svg

Primary Responsibility:

Responsible for the ongoing development and management of all digital assets used in marketing including, but not limited to, the university marketing website(s) as well as social media/networking sites. The candidate must also have proven ability to effectively collaborate with partners across the university to implement digital content and online marketing activities that are aligned with the university’s brand, values and goals.

Job Related Skills:

  • Commitment to the University and its mission, programs, and future aspirations
  • Strong, collaborative, energetic individual with a deep personal commitment to the highest standards of ethics, confidentiality and professionalism
  • Strong organizational skills and an appreciation and attention to detail
  • Ability to communicate effectively with University representatives, parents, students, alumni, donors and representatives of the business community
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills

A results-oriented individual who demonstrates the ability to work well with people at all levels of an organization, warmly develops relationships with diverse constituencies, and simultaneously employs keen judgment.

Experience: A minimum of five to seven years experience in digital marketing.

Hiring Statement:

Lipscomb University is a private, Christian university associated with the fellowship of the Church of Christ and governed by religious tenets held by the Church of Christ. Preference will be given to applicants who are members of the Church of Christ.

Check out the full job posting here: Director of Digital Marketing.

Good luck.

What 2015 Holds For Marketing

2015 is the year of collaboration. Marketing has gone digital for over a decade now and big brands are giving away the research, the tactics, and the means to buy media. Cheap and easy access means clients are demanding more of their agencies. To stay relevant, we have to adapt and collaborate.

Adapt: Depth Over Breadth

Ten years ago, agencies were clammering to beef up their shop, building multiple divisions under one roof. The result is an entity that is self-reliant, driven by agency profit, and is now falling short. We’ve seen a shift in client focus as they seek quality and innovation. More and more, decisions are based on what’s best for the work rather than what’s best for the bottom line.

A change in focus means a change in demand. Marketers hold more value in their ability to provide the best version of one thing than they would in providing the acceptable version of everything. What does that mean for marketers? Know what you’re good at, own it, and don’t be afraid to be transparent about the rest.

Collaborate: One Stop, Many Shops

Clients may only want the best, but they still want the best of everything. In Nashville, the call for quality has resulted in several different hyperfocused companies who are excellent at what they do. But while they’re providing the quality shop by shop, the separation requires extra effort from the client to juggle the various pieces for their brand.

There is an alternative to the circus act: collaboration.

If we–the creative agencies, tech companies, digital strategists, hyperfocused creators–can work together to combine forces and create truly innovative and pristine products, we can present our clients with perfectly packaged solutions that win for everyone.

FoxFuel and the Nashville Network

Here at FoxFuel, we have developed a habit (one that we’ll continue) of partnering with brilliant people in Nashville who have cornered the market in their area of expertise.

This habit has developed into a valuable skill set. Networking, brainstorming, and creating with other rising innovative talents in our city serves our clients better than building our own internal war chest of capabilities. While we never want to take credit for the genius behind the companies that we partner with, we do pride ourselves on the ability to meet and vet other passionate companies that can improve the ideas and concepts that we seek to deliver for clients.

We build relationships with these partners and maintain transparency with our clients. We won’t hide our collaborations; on the contrary, we want to make sure that our clients know we have the best of the best contributing to their brand.

We do all of this because the secret in the sauce for great marketing is literally the brain between our ears. This is greatness that fuels greatness in others, ignites innovation, and refuses to be extinguished.

To further demonstrate the growing relational culture of Nashville’s marketing world, we’ve invited a few great minds to speak to what they see for their industry in 2015. We didn’t ask for their secret to success or the 12 tips for content marketing; we asked them to speak to what they’re passionate about and its place in a changing industry.

 


Colton Mulligan is the Chief Executive Officer at FoxFuel Creative, where he drives strategy, partnerships and collaboration on behalf of their clients.