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2 posts categorized "March 2014"

March 31, 2014

It's World Backup Day. Not That YOU Care.

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by Ron Daly

Ah, that wonderful spring air. The trees are in bud, the flowers are in bloom, the weather...well, the weather hasn't made up its mind just yet. All the calendars say it's the most wondrous day of the year...yeah, you guessed it, it's World Backup Day!

But let me guess...you don't care. 

I know your take on it. "World Backup Day? Is that the day we celebrate all the great backup singers in history?" No, not at all. World Backup Day is the day we all back up our computers. Many of us only do that once a year, regrettably, but better once a year than not at all.

"Ugh, backups," you groan. "My IT department is always bugging me to do them. Who has the time?"

Yeah! I agree completely! Who has the time?! Who has the roughly 30 to 60 minutes every two weeks to plug in an external hard drive, press "back up now" and let the computer back itself up? It's madness!

If your sarcasm meter isn't in the red right now, you better get it checked. Backing up your computer, your smartphone, your tablet - whatever electronic doo-dad you might lug around with you on a daily basis - has never been easier. You can back up to a hard drive. You might even be able to back up to a thumb drive, provided it's big enough. Heck, back your important stuff up to the cloud, or to your private online storage space. It's not that difficult. You don't need a computer science degree to know how, you just need to know your computer, know where you want the files to be stored, and know how to protect them once you store them.

"ARGH, I have to know THREE THINGS?! Listen, Mr. Daly..."

Mister Daly is my father. Please, call  me Ron.

"...okay. Listen, Ron, I'm very busy and I'm not very computer savvy. Plus, I keep my computer clean and free of viruses and it's practically new. Do I really need a backup routine?"

Yes. You really need a backup routine. Just like you really need insurance. You don't get insurance because you expect to get sick or injuredYou get insurance because sometimes, you get sick or injured out of the clear blue sky. Accidents and misfortune don't always have your name written all over them; sometimes, they're marked "to whom it may concern". Those are the days you want the benefit of a safety net. 

The same is true of computers. Sometimes, you get a virus that disguised itself as the latest version of your favorite Facebook game. Sometimes, your house gets struck by lightning. Sometimes, your clumsy nephew drops an entire glass of water into your CPU. These sound like crazy one-off events, but they happen to well-meaning people every day. In a world where we keep all our precious memories, our favorite songs, and our important documents neatly on the "C:" drive, why wouldn't you take the few extra minutes every month, plug in, back up, and then store that data somewhere safe?

On any given day, the person who is responsible for data loss is you. You can prevent it, and when you can't, you can prepare for a new computer that has all your important files on it. All it takes is a regular backup routine.

"You know what, Ron? You've convinced me. I'm going to go to the World Backup Day website, take the pledge and get my life on track."

Glad I could help.

"Speaking of backup singers, though...any chance you'll be in my cover band? We mostly sing Motley Crue covers..."

No way, no how.

March 14, 2014

The Devil, the Details and You.

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by Ron Daly

I was cruising through LinkedIn and saw this post from CU Grow, posted with the intriguing snippet: 

"Let’s be honest, a CEO most likely does not care about the details of the creative as they are more interested in the outcome and value the results of the creative provide."

As a CEO myself, I had to chew that over. Yes, I care about the creative details - I'd like to know they're on-brand and well-done and useful. No, I don't care about every detail - I have to differ creative choices to the creatives I pay to...well, create.

The article is all about KPI's - Key Performance Indicators. What makes a campaign successful? Is it the number of people that click? Is it view/play counts? Is it downloads? 

Chances are, none of these metrics tell you much on their own. Click-throughs matter, but only in the interest of finding how many people bought something on the other end. Views and play counts are nice, but how many of those views can you trace back to a loan offered or a problem solved?  How many downloads of your white paper got you another conversation?  "The Devil's in the Details," they say, and while I don't think you have to be the devil to see how your virtual branch is managing visitors, I think it is important to keep the big picture in focus.

I like the article I read. I like knowing that our online initiatives reduce acquisition costs, boost profitability, and improve operational efficiencies. And I really love seeing all of that happen, start to finish, through the analytics. That's why I like to look at the following pieces of information for any campaign done online: 

1. Campaign Sources - This is an obvious one. I like both a macro- and micro-view of the campaigns because I want to know more about what's working. Are banner ads outperforming email for a certain campaign? What target audience responds best to webinars? In a given email campaign, how far did clickthrough-visitors go in pursuit of information? Which leads me to info-point two:

2. Time Spent and Visit Depth - Of the people that came in from any given campaign source, how long did they stick around and how much reading did they do? Did they download anything? Did they sign up for a webinar? 

3. Where's This Going? - I want to be able to compare the products we're promoting against the page visits for those products. As much as possible, I want to know what brought users to those pages and how much each clickthrough cost.

4. Drawing the Line - For each lead we get, I'd like to be able to draw a line from one point to the next in the road to their admission as a lead. Is this a client? Is this a prospect? Is this a potential partner? What brought them in, what did it cost us, and what's our next step in bringing them on board?

Hopefully these are good guidelines for you as well. All of this information is pretty easy to ascertain if your analytics are correctly set up and you have a good grasp on your costs. As you dig in on your reports and results, ask yourself an even bigger question: "what might change?" As Brent Dixon discussed in his most recent CU Water Cooler post, there are many things to consider when you're looking at one end result. In most cases, you can't point to a single root cause of any effect. Consider everything and try to think of your marketing campaigns (and your department) as a system. How does one piece affect another? Can something be changed to improve overall performance?

The devil's in the details but finding out how each arm of your marketing plan is working with the others is heavenly.