Thursday 27 September 2012

Vanja Merrild: Marketing Channels for the World's Largest Open Access Publisher

The second session at our To Measure or Not to Measure seminar was presented by Vanja Merrild, a digital marketing specialist working with BioMed Central. Now part of SpringerOpen, BioMed Central have 243 open access journals across biology, medicine and chemistry. 52 journals are society affiliated. 121 journals with Impact Factors.

Their network of sites and users have:
  • 32 million page views a month
  • over 5 million registered users
  • over 380,000 recipients to fortnightly BioMed Central newsletter
  • 14,000 new registrants a month
  • Google page rank of 8
Their focus as an open access publisher is on submissions, being author driven, using their own in-house submissions system and focusing on author data.

Vanja focused on providing best practice advice on how to drive traffic and usage to content from their experience. Her suggestions for email best practice are:

  • build your lists
  • have a good welcome programme - what follows after they've signed up
  • make it easy for recipients to add your email to their address book
  • make it easy to sign up
  • maintain consistency in 'From' lines - builds recognition of a trusted source.

She spoke candidly of the action they took recently to boost results for a newsletter that was dipping:

  1. they made it easier to access the interesting relevant content (3 rather than 5 clicks through to website)
  2. noted they had lots of forwards so added a recommend button
  3. captured the forward emails
  4. made it easier to sign up on website and from within the email

Segmentation is hugely important: the same message is not relevant for everyone. Editors, authors, members, librarians, scientific interests: they all need their own message. You should test and measure your hypothesis, check spam filters, look at the mobile device appearance and appearance in different email clients (particularly the ones your audience are using).

Vanja suggested a range of factors to test and measure. Keep track of your reputation with services such as ReturnPath Understand what works where. Check out your 'sleeping beauties' contacts who need waking up and find out when they leave your email.

She then went on to provide some best practice guidelines for tweeting and Facebook posts:

  • share more about others than you do about yourself
  • promote others and build relationships
  • have a distinct voice
  • images are important.

Your social media strategy should focus on increased ROI for your business and your time. Create safe tests to experiment and don't make this only one person's role. Be iterative: plan, execute, measure, adjust, repeat. Understand which metrics matter and which are your goals. Track metrics before, during, and after to show return on investment and consider benchmarks to better understand what they actually mean. Use analytics not only as a reactive tool to see how you did, but as a proactive tool to hone your branding messages. She closed with suggested tools to measure your activity including: Twitter CounterTweetReach and TweetStats.

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