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Marketing

What is Direct Mail and Why Use It

Direct mail is a marketing effort that uses a mail service to deliver promotional printed pieces to target audiences, including everything from postcards and catalogs to brochures and sales letters.

Many view direct mail as an outdated marketing strategy, favoring digital marketing that has only grown in popularity over the years, but the truth is that it is a potentially invaluable asset to your marketing efforts.

The Advantage of Direct Mail

Unlike other forms of advertising, direct mail lets you communicate one-on-one with audiences, allowing you to control who receives your message, when it’s specifically delivered, what’s in each envelope, and how many people your marketing efforts reach.

If you want to create an effective direct mail campaign, begin by getting your name on as many listings as you can, Junk mail isn’t junk if you want to learn more about direct mail. Take a note from competitors and see what they do that leaves you impressed, and learn from what they’re doing.

Use a Good Combination of Colors and Words

The most effective direct mail inserts typically use good wording and colors to appeal to their audience. You should also use the appropriate image. For instance, while a neon color scheme might be good for party planners or gift basket companies, you should choose more neutral colors for businesses such as financial planners or lawyers.

Engage Readers with Interactive Mail Pieces

If you want to involve your audience in the ordering process, you can include stickers that say “yes” or “no” that can be put on the order form. Businesses like Publisher’s Clearing House use this approach and take it even farther by asking recipients to find hidden stickers in mailing that they can put on the sweepstakes entry, and asks them to choose their prizes.

Educate Yourself

The next step is to read more about direct mail marketing and the many ways you can use it to improve your marketing campaigns. Some publications you may want to take a look at include weekly trade paper DM News, along with the monthly Direct Magazine.

You can also get book suggestions from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), which is a national trade organization for direct marketing professionals. Their brochure can also detail a list of direct marketing institutes and national seminars.

The more you learn about the industry, the more you’ll be able to keep up with the latest direct mail marketing trends and use them to your advantage.

Follow Up

After this, it’s important to remember to follow-up with your direct mail efforts. Mailings with phone follow-ups are typically the most effective, and make sure you don’t wait too long to contact customers. After a few days, call to ask if the recipient has received your mailpiece. If they have, it’s time to make your sales pitch.

Ultimately, with a solid direct mail marketing campaign, your business can thrive above the competition. Your business will be able to get the results you want more effectively if you utilize this marketing strategy.

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Marketing

5 ways to get more from your social media marketing

If you’re managing the social media channels for your small business, then the chances are that you run out of ideas for new content on a regular basis. You may choose to rehash the same special offers over again, tweet out links to relevant blog posts in your industry, or even create your own graphics with quotes and humorous content to keep followers engaged. But how can you get more out of your social media marketing, and ensure you get a return on your investment?

  1. Start content marketing

The benefits of content marketing for small businesses are endless – and they don’t only have an impact on your SEO and bounce rates. If you produce high-quality content on a regular basis, you can tweet and post it to your followers and give them a reason to click through to your website. And, after they’ve finished reading your content, there’s a chance they’ll sign up to your mailing list or share your new blog on their own social handles, opening your brand to a whole new audience.

  1. Stop hashtagging

You may think that, by including hashtags relevant to your industry, you’ll open your products and services to new people. Wrong. Nowadays, hashtags are seen as spammy, and won’t give you the true engagement you’re looking for. Sure, if you include twenty hashtags on your latest Instagram post, you’ll probably generate some likes – but the chances are that the majority of these come from robots. Stick to writing high-quality, engaging content, and leave cheap marketing practices behind.

  1. Get visual

Retweets, text posts and links are useful and still serve a purpose, but today’s internet users are more inspired by visual content. Indeed, posts with images, GIFs and videos generate more engagement than those without, so go all out and include as many visual elements as you can. One commonly overlooked visual aid is emoji – while it won’t be appropriate to use some emoji in some industries, adding a laughing monkey to the end of your tweets can make your brand more human.

  1. Respond to your followers

If a customer leaves a review on your Facebook page or tags you in a post on Instagram, don’t be ignorant – use their content to boost your brand. Respond to questions and comments, thank people for sharing your content and like, share and tweet as many of your users as you can. Showing the human side of your business is so important – and it can boost your brand in the process.

  1. Don’t automate

Automating your social media marketing can be useful and time-saving – but also dangerous. Avoid RSS feeds and aggregators, and keep scheduling to a minimum. If your accounts look robotic and formulaic, people won’t want to follow you or engage with what you do, because they won’t expect a response. Be active on your channels at least once a day, and if you’re going away for a holiday, hand over your passwords to a colleague or a friend so your brand is always up-to-date and online.

Marketing your business on social media can be cost-effective and good fun, but it’s important that you think of your followers and tailor your messages to their needs. Good luck.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Max Greene is the Managing Director of Muffin Marketing, a small business marketing agency offering content marketing, social media management and search engine optimisation.

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Marketing

The Value of Anti-spam Software to Businesses

Did you know that spam, malware, and viruses cost businesses millions of dollars in lost revenue every year? The simple fact is that business today, in this volatile national and global economic environment, cannot afford to face the kinds of risks that spam and malware represent. It is challenging enough to run a business, let alone deal with cyber threats as well.

The True Cost of Malware

While it is true that malware has existed in some form or another ever since we started using computers at home and at work, today’s internet-connected world has simply made the problem worse. Malware can move from one network to another, across countries and oceans, in no time at all. The problem is that spam, malware, Trojans, worms, and viruses can create the following problems for business:

  • Downtime: When a network is infected with malware or is infested with spam, it slows down significantly. Operating systems crash beneath the weight of thousands of spam emails, and malware can wipe data altogether. When there are delays like this, business operations are interrupted while the problems are fixed by IT staff. This has a widespread impact on staff, business leaders, and customers. It also contributes to a negative public perception of the company in question as people associate it with poor management and poor service.
  • Education: It is commonplace for companies to invest time educating their staff on the challenges associated with malware and spam. Indeed, some companies run training courses designed to educate their staff on the best way to handle spam and how to recognise malware. All of this education takes time and money, and it is little wonder that companies would rather not have to worry about the issue at all.

Given the true cost of malware and spam to business, the good news is that specialist software like Mailcleaner can help any size of business get on top of their malware problem once and for all.

Why Use an Anti-Spam Gateway?

Though there are many anti-spam and anti-malware solutions available, it is only now that the speed and security of the Cloud has reached a point where a truly effective anti-malware solution has become available to all kinds of businesses. A Cloud-based solution is ideal, as it means that the virus and malware database can be updated quickly and easily by the hosting company without interruption to daily business operations. It is this ease of use and convenience that makes it a great solution, in fact.

Furthermore, having anti-malware software hosted remotely on the Cloud means that all business email is routed through it. This takes the strain off of in-house mail servers and allows everyone to focus on getting their work done.

In short, it is the sort of solution that simply works in the background without noise and without fuss. In today’s volatile global environment, it is important to deal with malware and spam in the most effective way possible, and a Cloud hosted anti-malware and anti-spam gateway offers ease, convenience, and robust security solutions.

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Marketing

The New Age of Media Marketing: Videos, Videos, and More Videos

Regardless of your specific industry or niche, you’ve probably gone out of your way to bring your firm into the 21st century of promotional aptitude and publicity. Perhaps you’ve established a dedicated Facebook account, practical Twitter handle, and maybe you’ve even augmented your webpage to account for ever-changing trends. So why hasn’t your online foot traffic exploded?

Well, in order to understand why your efforts have yet to produce a desirable effect, you have to take a closer look at how modern companies are taking advantage of video marketing techniques:

  • 86% of business-related video views take place on desktop computers, with only 14% on mobile devices.
  • Modern businesses have an average of 293 videos within their in-house libraries.
  • On average, contemporary businesses publish 18 online videos per month.
  • 56% of online videos published during the last year are less than two minutes in length.
  • The four most common video categories are product demos, how-to’s, testimonials, and explainers.
  • Videos under 90 seconds in length are able to produce a 53% retention rate, whereas videos over 10 minutes retain a mere 10%.
  • By the year 2020, video marketing will encompass over 75% of all web-based foot traffic.

As you might imagine by now, promotional video clips represent the wave of the future, and are set to begin dominating our cultural zeitgeist in an unprecedented manner. However, the average video clip retains only 37% of viewers all the way up to the last minute, which is why so many forward-thinking business people are beginning to turn to their local video production company in Brisbane for some much-needed assistance.

Why Hire a Video Production Firm?

Although these firms specialise in procuring impactful, dynamic promotional videos, the chief advantage they are able to provide is a little-known concept called digital integration.

This idea refers to the notion your hardware, software, and even your cell phone should be fully amalgamated, streamlined, and hyper-focused on interconnectivity. This is done by establishing coordinated compatibility between all of your digital marketing provisions, social media accounts, webpages, and any other aspects of your online infrastructure, effectively creating a uniform, harmonious network of cross-compatible digital tools for your company.

How Do I Hire a Trustworthy Firm?

It all comes down to the firm’s suite of services. The company in question should be able to facilitate scripting, recording, editing, and converting for a wide range of video production undertakings. From digital integration and search engine optimisation to nuanced advertising techniques and top-notch consulting advice, your video production partner should be able to serve as a one-stop-shop for all of your promotional needs:

  • Training Videos: Over half of the content learned during training seminars or workshops is lost in just five short weeks following the event, which is why so many companies are beginning to facilitate quick, targeted e-learning sessions and micro-learning disseminations by way of video clips. The best-rated video production companies specialise in fabricating persuasive corporate training films.
  • Photography: Your video production partner should be able to take and edit professional-grade photographs and weave them into your webpages, email blasts, and any other marketing initiatives in your wheelhouse.
  • Comprehensive Marketing: From videos and infographics to new-age slideshows and interactive advertising platforms, your video production firm should be able to procure vibrant digital content and broadcast it to every relevant nook and cranny of the Internet, effectively bolstering your ranking within the most popular search engines in the world, such as Google, for instance.

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Marketing

The Benefits of Using Posters for Promotional Advertising

Although internet marketing is more commonly used to promote businesses, traditional marketing methods are still effective. If your church is having a bazaar or your business is promoting a special, hanging banners or posters placed outside the location and within the immediate vicinity can help attract business. Here are some of the other benefits of using posters for business promotions.

Visibility

When you hang posters promoting a sale at your store, it can help provide more visibility to your business and build your brand. Small businesses rely on local customers stepping through their doors to make money, and posters can help attract the clientele you need. Along with putting posters in your store’s window, ask other businesses around you to hang one in their store window or on their bulletin board to build more awareness of your business.

Passive Advertising

Instead of being in your face like TV and radio ads, posters and banners are a passive form of advertising that is very effective. People walking past your business or passing by on a bus will see your business every day if it is on their regular route. Being frequently exposed to your posters will make people more likely to stop in if they see an ad they like. For instance, a poster announcing a 20% off sale on everything in the store may catch their eye and give them an incentive to visit your store.

Cost-effective

Posters and banners are much more cost effective than other forms of print advertising such as magazine or newspaper ads. While a stack of printed posters in Fleet Street may only cost 200 or 300 hundred pounds, depending on the size and quantity, ads in newspapers and magazines may cost upwards of thousands of pounds. Although a newspaper may have a wide circulation, the ad will only run for so many days and then it will no longer be published. A poster or banner can promote your business for as long as it is hanging up.

Flexibility in Design

With posters and banners, you have the option of using different sizes, colours, and designs which can all be created for different promotions. While large posters can be made to hang in your store windows, you can also have smaller sizes printed to hang on bulletin boards in other shops, to have employees pass out on the street, or to give away at local events. You can also have posters designed to appeal to your target audience by using certain colours and font styles to grab their attention.

Posters can reinforce your online promotional efforts by having QR codes printed on them. Potential customers can use their mobile phones to get information from the QR codes, such as special pricing, and can then take it into your store to receive discounts on items they want to buy.

Your business can also have posters designed in vintage styles to create collectible posters that customers will want to buy and hang in their homes. Although it is considered an old form of advertising, posters are still effective.

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Marketing

Buy Twitter Followers Online To Help Your Business Soar To Success

The world of social media is an ever expanding and ever evolving one. As a business owner you have to stay constantly updated else you will be thrown out of the competition. Out there, it indeed is the ‘survival of the fittest’. Social media experts today quite rightly opine that in the world of online media marketing you either exist or exit.

When we talk of social media marketing then it is a vast ocean of marketing techniques that we are referring to. So many things in the virtual world take place so simultaneously that we often get baffled with the options available. When we talk of the number of social media sites then there are too many to choose. Right from Facebook to Twitter, each site boasts of its own power to communicate with the masses. Depending on the type of business you own and the kind of products you sell, you need to decide on your medium.

According to a recent survey it has been found out that Twitter is more popular than Facebook among teenagers. Twitter today is changing communication possibilities on a global scale. This social media site is extremely popular with marketers too internationally. If you surf the internet then you will find that there are a lot of evidences of Twitter being a very popular medium for marketing these days.

Therefore with internet marketing being the next big thing today, you can no way refrain yourself from taking part in it. Whether you own a big or small business, social media and online marketing is vital to the success of your business in the present times. So if you have decided to capitalize the marketing opportunities that are prevalent in the social media sites like Twitter then you have a do a lot of planning before you embark on your mission.

When going online, you cannot just think from your perspective but from the point of view of your customers as well. There are a lot of people out there waiting to hear from you about your brand and products and services. You have to cater to the requirements of each one of them. When in Twitter, your first target will be to increase your followers. The more followers you have the higher will be your brand value. Whether it is your competitor or a new user, the first thing that everyone will notice is the number of followers you have. As a result, it can be very well said that your number of followers in Twitter is directly proportional to your success rate.

Since the number of followers in Twitter is so crucial to the success of your business, if you do not have the adequate time, you can decide to buy your Twitter followers from a reliable agency. There are many companies out there selling you Twitter followers so that you can concentrate on other areas of business. And the best thing is that these services are highly cost effective.

Therefore buy fast followerz online and help your business soar to success in no time.

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Marketing

5 Tips To Make Your Website More User-Friendly

Internet marketing is no doubt one good way to penetrate in the minds of customers, however, it is not an easy task. You just have limited seconds to grab customers’ attention as within a click a customer makes a decision in your favor or the other. To make your customers stay longer and exceed the purchases, you need to right away make the website, user-friendly.

So, what are you waiting for? Adopt the following tips and make your website easily accessible. Here is the opportunity to provide your clients a seamless experience today:

Crisp Content and Readability

One stepping stone could be the content. Your website content has critical role in convincing your audience. It should be fresh, intuitive, clear and interactive. You need to keep your paragraphs short and to the point, format the texts similar to the magazines and newspaper so that users can easily skim through it. Likewise, add quality to your content through adequate use of paragraphs, headings, subheadings, bullets, and fonts will help them easier to scan.

Color contrasting and scheming also have a significant impact on customers readability. Choose the right colors that would well contrast with your background. Images also help in digesting the content easily so make proper use of those. To add more crisp to the content, choose the fonts that are clearly visible and easily grasped.

Better Navigation for Your Site

To increase the viewership for your site, pay more attention to the navigation of your site. Make your web page cluster free by designing your layout simple and clear. Hard layouts may confuse your customers and make them feel less interested in your material. Therefore, make things easy and crystal clear. To make this possible, you can provide search bar facility, reduce the use of difficult acronyms, and use common words to dip customers into informative pages like home, contact us, menus and so on.

Time Management

Once a client lands on your website, the tick down of the time begins. Here comes the crucial role of time management: the visitors are nevertheless impatient to get the tasks done in no time. You should make sure that your website material does not take more than 4-6 seconds to load the content and images. It will also have huge impact on the ranking of your website.

To raise the speed for your website access, try to compress the images or resize them before uploading. Use programs like Photoshop and Fireworks for more effective results. You must be tempted to entice your webpage by posting more multimedia items so give a thought to the time consumption before rushing to upload videos and photos.

Go to Web Designer

Likewise, go for the parties that have eminent skills in designing and promoting your website. These web designers have expertise to make your website user-friendly. Go for websites like http://www.wordpressdesignservices.com that will not only help you in knowing the current ranking for your website but will also assist you with search engine optimization.

Reduce the Number to Redirects

You always have a risk of seeing your web page becoming outdated with the passage of time. Also, external links might point out the old pages that are no longer available. You create internal redirect so that the customers’ experience does not get spoiled. This drastically takes more time. So another way to make your web page look appealing and easy to use is by reducing the number of redirecting links.

Hence, by sticking up to these suggestions, you can ensure that your website is user-friendly. These tips will not only increase more visits to your site but it will also result in better ranking and increased sales for your product. Thus, gum yourself to these tips and keep raising the expectations of your customers.

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Marketing

The Importance Of Event Marketing

Events offer the ideal opportunity to reach a like-minded audience already warm to your industry, products and services. From product launches to engaging with your existing customers, whether face to face or online, events should be an essential part of your company’s marketing strategy.

Lead Generation

With your target demographic under one roof, there can be no better way to generate leads for your business. By general engagement with passing traffic at a trade show or by running a competition or a demonstration on your stand to attract an audience, the opportunities are boundless. Gather and store your leads carefully, make notes where necessary and don’t forget to follow up within a few days on your return to the office. Make that connection and develop a relationship that could result in long and prosperous association.

Brand Awareness

Attending events is an opportunity to raise awareness and establish your brand in a competitive market place. Your customers and prospective customers will be able to see first-hand how you do business and will have the opportunity to experience the company’s vision and values. Ensure your exhibition stand is prominent, welcoming and well branded with clear messaging. Events also offer the opportunity to view your competitors, to learn more about your industry and to understand trends and forecasts. Don’t forget to look at what your competitors are doing on their stands and note what works (and what doesn’t) so their ideas can adapted for your future events. Don’t miss out on press opportunities that may be available. The press always attend and will take interest on any unusual or quirky activities that are happening so be sure to think outside the box to attract attention.

Engagement

It’s easier to gain business from your existing customer base, they already trust you and there is a level of loyalty that has developed over time. Maintaining and nurturing this relationship is essential and events offer a cost effective opportunity to meet multiple customers in one place. You have the luxury of getting their attention without the distractions of their everyday role and you also have the chance of an upsell opportunity to introduce them to your full product or services range. Events also offer the chance to engage with a new audience who will have the time to listen to what you say and enjoy learning about what your organisation has to offer. You can start the engagement process by promoting your event online via social media in the days leading up to the event. Don’t forget to add your comments to the organiser’s posts and of course create regular posts during the event to help create a buzz amongst your followers and to remind them to come and visit your stand.

Types of Events

Exhibitions and trade shows are becoming more and more popular. Whether B2B or B2C, there are many to choose from. Good research and understanding your objectives will help you make an informed choice, then plan in advance and ensure your team understand their goals to make the most of your investment. Creating exciting indoor stands will help attract attention and for outdoor events, exhibition trailers can make a huge impact to help your company get noticed!

Business breakfast, lunches or dinners are usually smaller, targeted events that provide essential business networking opportunities. Seminars are also excellent for networking and provide the chance to share information, to educate at the same time as promoting your company to an interested audience.

Online events have risen in popularity over the years. Webinars usually involve presentations, discussions and workshops that allow interaction between participants and discussion with the presenters. They will keep you up to date with the latest industry information and provide an opportunity for your organisation to make its mark with a wider demographic. With the help of a webcam, you can run a live streaming event or if you think that would be too much to organise, you could engage a team to take care of the filming. A great way to engage with your customers online at the same time as offline, reaching two audiences by providing an opportunity for those who can’t attend in person.

Regardless of the type of events you decide to do, ensure you promote your presence and create a buzz online and offline. Make sure you are in the event guide or brochure, that you push messages out on social media and that you contact everyone on your database to let them know what event you are running or where you will be exhibiting. Communication before and after any event is key to their success.

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Marketing

Globalize Your Business With Social Media Marketing

If you are in any kind of business then it is very important to make or operate it online , As now everything you are searching for is on web. Most of the people do not succeed in the online business or Internet marketing because they lack in information or do not invest it properly. In this digital age we can find all the information from the Internet and technology have supported us throughout. But all the information or sources of knowledge is not correct or their method to find is not correct.

There are various books available that will provide you the relevant information. Social media marketing technique is generally free but a little bit time consuming. Most of the small business owners and marketing professionals share the top strategies for business. Here are few tactics to build a solid foundation of Internet marketing for your business.

Blog/ Website: This is the first thing you should do in order achieve the goal to digital marketing. Blog is used to provide the relevant information of your business to the clients. Submit your website to the popular search engines Google.com, Yahoo.com, Bing.com. You can also gain visitors by outreaching your content to different websites. In order to do it with efficiency, you need to hire people of desired fields.

Social Media: For small business SMB social media is the biggest tool and as per the statics from the different popular websites social media doubles the traffic. There are various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+. Once you setup an account with the different platforms, you can share your original content and engage with other peoples.

Facebook Page : Facebook is the most popular social networking platform and accessed from all around the world. As per the survey Americans spend every seven minutes on social media, this provides a huge opportunity for small business owners.

Pinterest or Instagram : If your company is selling highly visual products then you can post it to pinterest or Instagram. Then after you can regularly post the images of the products and then get in contact with more clients.

Email Marketing: The impact of email marketing on business is undeniable, most of the companies sales are grown upwards with 25 percent. The best thing you can do is to provide customers with deals and offers everyday.

Advertise through Google Adwords and other platform can also benefits your business in many ways, but you have to spent on that. PPC promotions can be an expense productive approach to plunge your toe into the Internet marketing world and utilization your advertising dollars to explicitly focus on the locales and terms that relate most to your business.

Some media/promoting organizations significantly offer computerized offering arrangements that permit the SMB PPC amateur to pick up the same level of focusing on and presentation without the overwhelming lifting.

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Marketing

The FTC’s Recent Ruling on Influencer Marketing

With almost 50 million subscribers, thousands of uploaded videos, and daily updates, Pewdiepie’s YouTube channel is the prime source of news, reviews, and updates for millions of gamers worldwide. His channel on YouTube is the largest on the platform by a huge margin, the second largest having only 28 million subscribers, and he is arguably the most powerful tastemaker and influencer in the industry. No other mainstream video games and media company comes close to his numbers: for instance, IGN – the most popular gaming site, has only 8 million subscribers on the platform.

Just by looking at these figures, you’ll know that when Pewdiepie plays your game, you are all set. It’s basically like winning the jackpot. The influence and the vast following he has may mean that your game will hit the top spot in charts, will attract a huge fanbase even before being officially released and, what’s more important, will influence other gaming websites and review platforms. There are countless examples of previously unknown, obscure games which were brought into the limelight by Pewdiepie and saw instant success. It’s no surprise that Warner Bros. executives saw him as the perfect influencer for their new titles coming out every year. After all, what could go wrong, right?

So what did Warner Bros. do?

Warner Bros., just like many other video game studios, recognized Pewdiepie as a massive influencer in the industry. What they actually did was simple and straightforward – they used Pewdiepie for a bump to their video games, in this case to Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. Almost all video game studios are more than willing to contact YouTubers, bloggers, and other influencers for this type of service. What they did wrong, however, was that they “skipped” the disclosure part. This apparently small issue was the subject of the complaint made by the Federal Trade Commission.

In simpler words, Warner Bros. paid Pewdiepie for a favorable review of their 2014 title Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor and the video posted on YouTube didn’t feature a visible disclosure about the financial transaction between the two sides.

FTC’s ruling and what it means

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), consumers were deceived by the game’s producer and were misled about the nature of the sponsorship. The ruling is one of the first high-profile signs that FTC is starting to crack down on certain behaviors in influencer marketing. It also means that FTC has a firm grasp on influencer marketing as a whole and is watching closely this marketing strategy. Apparently, influencer marketing is attracting more attention from the FTC than other types of marketing and tradtional publishers.

To better understand how FTC sees the delicate matter of influencer marketing let’s take a look at the 3 main points detailed in the ruling:

  • Warner Bros. instructed influencers to place a disclosure box under the video. Because the disclosure box was too large, the paragraph detailing the financial transaction was not readily visible. This means that the average consumer was unaware of the financial transaction between the two parties.
  • Early copies of the game were given to influencers, but they failed to disclose that Warner Bros. paid them beforehand.
  • Warner Bros. asked influencers for a pre-approval of their videos, and only positive reviews were allowed. Basically, the influencers had to express a positive sentiment in their videos and suggest that the game is good. Similarly, they were not allowed to promote negative sentiment about the company or show errors, glitches and issues related to the game.

The ruling is considered particularly important in the marketing industry because it creates a precedent. The FTC reconsiders influencer marketing as a separate type of advertising. Additionally, the FTC simply wants to shed light on influencer marketing as a new marketing strategy and educate consumers, influencers and companies. This is because, up until now, consumers were somewhat baffled about this new concept: is this a paid recommendation? Is this review real? How is my perception shaped by it? These are all questions that need answers and FTC is starting to deal with these delicate matters.

It’s important to note that this ruling is primarily about the financial exchange that led to these reviews. All advertising is inherently positive and almost always features a financial contract between two or more sides. This ruling suggests that FTC wants to clarify that it sees influencer marketing as advertising, and consequently, it needs to abide to the same strict regulations that are expected with any other marketing endeavour, especially in terms of transparency. The order strictly requires Warner Bros. (and other companies) to strictly follow regulations lest they receive additional punishment. Another interesting detail is that FTC wants the brands and companies (but not the influencers, themselves) to fully comply with these regulations and make their disclosures legible. In other words, influencers don’t risk punishment, but advertisers do.

The conclusion for marketers

The FTC is obviously taking a tougher stance on the online marketing industry, and particularly on the influencer marketing campaigns. Agencies, brands, companies and even influencers should work more transparently and openly. Apparently, these marketing deals are closely monitored by the FTC and high-profile influencers should better understand consumer rights.

While influencer campaigns can prove extremely effective, without a proper legal disclosure they can turn into a PR disaster. As a result, major online companies, like Google and Yahoo have made it clear that they are monitoring deceptive social media campaigns and are willing to block them if there is cause for serious concern. Bottom line, if you want to start an influencer marketing campaign, you must must abide to FTC’s prohibitions against deceptive or misleading advertisement. When you work with influencers, either directly or through influencer marketing platforms, make sure you understand the nature of the activities of your campaign, and make especially sure that audiences have the transparency they need in order to understand this as well.