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The Ultimate Question

Survey“Fred Reichheld of Bain & Company wrote a book in 2006 called The Ultimate Question. He and his colleagues did many years of market research, interviewing customers in a variety of ways to determine methods to increase customer satisfaction.

After several years of research with many thousands of customers, he concluded that the most important question, the one question that distilled all the other answers to all the other surveys, was this: would you recommend us to others?

They then instituted a one-to-ten survey. They would ask customers, “On a scale of one to ten, how strongly do you feel about recommending us to others?”

What Reichheld and his associates discovered was that 85% of their new business came from people who answered this question with a nine or ten on the scale.”

-From The Way to Wealth Part 1 by Brian Tracy

I have been with Christianity Today 15 years. As I write this blog today, I am extremely grateful for several things. I am so thankful for our increasing number of readers and impressions across our many different media platforms. I am grateful for our editorial team, that continues to produce content that honors God and stimulates Christians to influence our culture for Christ’s sake, and I am also so thankful for such a consistent large number of organizations, including publishers, higher education schools, non-profits, and more, who have been such faithful advertisers with our company for so many years.

We’re so thankful for those loyal customers—the type who’d be willing to recommend us. We strive to be worthy of that recommendation—to connect our clients to trustworthy resources and offer the very best in customer support. And it’s our hope that your advertising with us would reciprocate the same kind of loyalty in your customers, building your brand among our immense—and constantly growing—audience.

Walter is a veteran sales manager with a knack for finding win-win solutions.

 

Posted in Advertising Tips


Nominate a Book for the 2015 Christianity Today Book Awards

CT Book Awards

Each year Christianity Today honors outstanding books of special interest to the Christian community. In the January/February 2015 issue, CT will feature the best books published between November 1, 2013 and October 31, 2014. Awards will be divided into the following categories according to subject and genre:

  • Apologetics/Evangelism
  • Biblical Studies
  • Christian Living
  • Christianity and Culture
  • The Church/Pastoral Leadership
  • Fiction
  • History
  • Missions/Global Affairs
  • Spirituality
  • Theology/Ethics

CT is looking for both scholarly and trade works. A diverse panel of scholars, pastors, and other informed readers will evaluate the books. Publishers wishing to nominate books for the awards can find detailed information on the CT website. The deadline for nomination submissions is Friday, August 8, 2014.

Posted in Company News


Design 101: Editing and Simplifying

This is the first in a monthly, on-going series that looks at the fundamentals of good design.

Mark Twain once wrote: “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” While Twain was referring to the art of writing, this adage applies to all creative endeavors–especially marketing design. Making something look “simple” is much harder than making it appear “complex.” It takes a lot more time and energy to remove material than to add it (just ask any dieter).

So is simplicity worth the extra effort? The answer— least when it comes to marketing design—is a resounding yes.

The benefits of (design) simplicity:

  • The message is easier to understand through the removal of extraneous “noise & clutter”
  • It forces the viewer to focus on what’s most important
  • Generally more aesthetically pleasing to the brain
  • Tends to be regarded as more “sophisticated”

The human brain is by its very nature a simplifying machine. It’s great at taking complex input and abstracting it down to its essential bits in order to glean meaning. A simple design will do all the hard work for the brain, leaving it to more easily absorb the meaning without the ambiguity and potential for confusion.

But enough of my extraneous gibber-jabber. Let’s look at a real world “before” and “after” example that illustrates the point much more effectively…

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As you can see, removing a lot of the excess information has made this ad easier to read and comprehend. The goal here is not to inform the customer of every single thing a company has to offer, but to urge them to further action. Should the reader want more details, they can always visit the company’s website.

Finally, here are some great examples of effective, simplified design…

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3

Michael Chuchvara, our team’s graphic designer, is our creative genius, designing eye-catching flyers, inserts, and e-blasts.

Posted in Advertising Tips


3 Hidden Social Media Tricks to Enhance Your Brand

497600893As companies look to expand their social media, many can feel overwhelmed at where to expand, which networks to join, and what should get the most attention. If you are looking for some new ideas to spice up your social media, we have some tips for you.

Danielle from Constant Contact recently wrote about 7 social media tricks that you haven’t heard before. From Facebook to Google+ to Instagram, these tips can help you locate new customers quickly and improve your brand’s presence. Most of tricks are relatively simple to implement and can enhance your social media marketing. Here are three easy ones to test out.

1. Show off positive customer feedback on Facebook. With some of your best comments drifting down your Facebook page, adjust your Activity Log (Facebook.com/YourUserName/allactivity) and under Posts by Others select the items you want to highlight.

2. Modify the formatting of your Google+ posts. One fun way to make your Google+ posts stand out is to adjust the formatting by adding symbols to your post. Enclose your text with a “*” to make the text bold. (ex. *bold*). To italicize text in your post, add an underscore “_” (ex. _italic_). If you want to include strikethrough text, use a hyphen “-” (ex. -strikethrough-).

3. Get your Pinterest board listed in Google and Bing searches. By default your Pinterest board is kept hidden from search engines like Google. While this may be a good idea for your personal account, adjusting this setting can give your brand new exposure and allow even more people to find your business. You can modify this setting inside your Pinterest Account Settings, under Search Privacy.

If you thought these were helpful you can view all seven tips by checking out the original post on the Constant Contact blog.

Serving as a Marketing Analyst, Josh Wood whips our team into shape with his eye for strategy and trends. He also has over 20,000 Twitter followers.

Posted in Advertising Tips


Facebook Zero: Is the Sky Falling?

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Remember Y2K? All the panic and shuffling around for supplies? Though I was too young to really understand what was going on, I remember my mom flatly responding to my inquiries with, “Some people think the world’s going to end.”

I’ve been seeing this attitude in a lot of marketers recently, as conjecture is floating around the Internet about Facebook pages’ organic reach soon hitting zero. Digital consultants Social@Ogilvy released survey data pointing to the diminishing reach of pages’ posts in the last year—and predicting its plummet to zero. Allegedly “Facebook sources were unofficially advising community managers to expect it to approach zero in the foreseeable future.“ So-called Facebook Zero is causing a general ruckus.

I’m a bit skeptical of whether all this Chicken-Little-ing is necessary. Facebook Zero is possible—perhaps likely—just as the Y2K computer crisis was. It wouldn’t be shocking given the trends and the potential profit. But Facebook may allow us to continue to function as we currently are: reaching a percentage of our audience for free.

Only time will tell. While we wait and watch, here are some ways to channel all that sky-is-falling energy:

  • Diversify your traffic sources. Regardless of Facebook’s future, it’s important not to rely on any one medium for a majority of your traffic.
  • Budget for the worst. If we do see our organic reach dry up, you may decide you want to stick it out with Facebook. Put aside some funds to get your posts in front of your audience. One approach is fewer, higher-quality posts.
  • Help your audience help you. Many publishers use Facebook primarily to drive traffic to their external content. Though your page’s posts may not be as valuable any more, remember that your articles can still circulate for free when posted by a user to his or her network.  Do all that you can on your site to make sharing easy and quick.
  • Consider the non-traffic benefits. Social media are where consumers now go to complain, engage, and research. They’re the primarily avenue for the customer-company relationship in most industries, and they comprise a significant piece of your branding. Create a Facebook page that engages, serves, and delights your audience—even if the ROI isn’t immediately apparent. Build a “community hub” on your page.
  • Compare costs. I use our advertising funds on Facebook, Twitter, and Google AdWords and find that the value varies greatly depending on the product and audience.  Test constantly and revise your strategy.
  • Be nimble; be quick. The social media game takes constant revision and strategizing. My supervisor, a marketing and publishing veteran of over 20 years, has a sign in her office that says, “Adapt or die.” Indeed, this is true on so many levels—not least Mr. Zuckerberg’s playground.

Andie Roeder Moody executes marketing and communications projects for the advertising department and oversees Christianity Today’s e-newsletters. 

Posted in Advertising Tips


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