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September 22, 2010
Don’t Forget These Online Marketing Basics!
Keep it fresh
One of the best ways to drive your creative juices is to pretend you're marketing another brand. For instance, I work with developers, so thinking up new and exciting ways to tell them the same thing is tough. Sometimes I'll do a brainstorming session and pretend I'm marketing to moms, or for a few hours, I'll pretend I'm trying to figure out how MySpace could make a comeback. Oddly enough, I think I've just about figured that one out (more on that in a future column).
Along the same lines, let's remember to learn from the best. No one wants to admit that we glean ideas from others, but most of us do just that. It's the reason that posts on "The Best Facebook Pages" do so well for sites like Mashable. We look to see what works for others, so we can rinse and repeat.  
Research for me means not only finding out what other marketers are doing, but what memes attract attention. I have an entire set of bookmarks just for killer ideas that I plan to build upon in some way for my own work. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and the best campaigns are good places to start if you're stuck for an idea.
Measure, measure, measure
I've created some great campaigns, and admittedly, I've created some duds. I wouldn't know which was which if I weren't a stickler for measurement and testing. Thankfully, I learned early on to perform rigorous AB tests before I launched a campaign. This time drain does cost you a bit, but it saves your clients money and preserves your reputation.
Trust no one
All marketers lie. It's the truth (or so she says). If someone says he or she increased sales by x percent over y amount of time, trust but verify. Don't sink ad money into anything on the promise of a blog author or an advertising sales rep for a site.
Don't forget customer service
We spend so much money trying to get customers that we often forget the ones we already have. Wait, that's not my job. I'm a marketer. Customer service can handle that, right? Wrong.
You must work hand in hand with your customer service lead to make sure that customer retention isn't a problem. Imagine a cost of customer acquisition that's $5 and a retention rate that guarantees the customer will be gone in three months. You are throwing away $5 per customer and losing ground every step of the way.    
Marketing, for the most part, is common sense, but we make it so difficult. Tell people about your cool product, treat them well when they arrive, and sit back and watch revenue increase.

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Robyn Tippins is a community advocate with more than 10 years in the social media space. She oversees the community aspect of the external developers on the Yahoo! Developer Network. Robyn has blogged for blog networks and corporations, podcasted for small and large businesses, worked closely with social networking sites, and advised Fortune 500 companies on social media and community. Her book, co-authored with Miranda Marquit, “Building Communities,” will be released in 2010. Read her blog.

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