877-314-5895 sales@crowdfiber.com

OPEN Speaker Alert

Announcing Speaker Lianna Patch

Lianna will teach us about humor psychology from the CrowdFiber OPEN main stage and facilitate a lab session to help you punch up your own content for better results. 

Here’s why you will love Lianna:

Lianna Patch is a conversion copywriter and comedian whose greatest dream is to make your customers pause, smile, and click (in that order). 

Trained in the not-so-dark arts of buyer psychology and customer research, she specializes in punchy, engaging landing pages and email copy. Her work has been featured by Copy Hackers, HubSpot, Conversio, Autopilot, BigCommerce, ConversionXL, and more. 

She’s written copy for hundreds of delightful clients, and regularly speaks at ecommerce and software conferences around the world, including Influence and Conversion Summit, MicroConf, American Marketing Association, MarketingProfs, and dozens more.

Here’s what this means for your work:

You’ll learn how to punch up your website, email, product descriptions, or backer form copy for maximum response (and maybe even think differently about in-office emails and presentations!)

Announcing CrowdFiber OPEN 2019 Unconference

Return home with new ideas, actionable strategies, strengthened relationships, and
renewed energy for the work you are undertaking.Sign up today!

CrowdFiber OPEN
October 7-10, 2019
Think of it as an unconference, a three day learning retreat for the whole team, complete with beach, activites, and awards.

Our crowd contains family-owned cable companies, small ISPs, electric and telecom cooperatives, multi-state brands, and publicly-traded communications companies that serve anywhere from 8,000 to over 2 million subscribers. Despite the vast differences in size, so much unites you.  You are facing similar geographic, economic, technical and business challenges.  And, of course,  you have each chosen CrowdFiber to help you navigate your broadband marketing journey.

There are deep insights available from this crowd of providers who are solving unique telecom marketing challenges, overcoming funding gaps, and building better broadband business across the country.

Those leading the crowd will have a chance to shine and share with those of you getting started or struggling.  We’ll dig into all the ways to use CrowdFiber better, explore our data for telecom marketing trends and best practices, and find inspiration in unexpected places.

There are many special surprises in store, and the timing is short.  We are limiting capacity intentionally.  So if you think you and your team would like to be a part….act quickly.

You will love this venue.  And most importantly, you will return to your communities with new ideas, actionable strategies, strengthened industry relationships, and renewed energy for the work you are undertaking. 

Crowdfiber vs. Constant Contact and MailChimp

Crowdfiber vs. Constant Contact and MailChimp

We are sometimes asked how we compare to other marketing tools like Constant Contact or MailChimp. Let’s be honest. These email marketing tools have been leaders in digital marketing. MailChimp is a neighbor company and an inspiration to us in creativity and focus.  These companies have built phenomenal products which satisfy the needs of many businesses. CrowdFiber, in comparison, was built from the ground up to meet the needs and demands of utility and telecommunications businesses. Here’s a breakdown of the differences in features and approach.

Marketing Feature Comparison

Email marketing

Constant Contact and MailChimp specialize in email marketing. They provide the code to pop a signup form on a website to collect email addresses.  They can segment the email lists, provide templates to build email campaigns and track responsiveness to those emails. Their template marketplace is brimming with ideas and the email editor includes a visual builder.

Crowdfiber does all of that, and more, adding to that additional services such as: address search widget, custom registration workflows based on geography & market, survey, targeted updates, plus a full address discovery and order management suite of tools.  

We’ll admit, we don’t yet have a template marketplace or visual builder, and we only offer one pre-built template to start.   However, our platform is completely themeable and you have access to create your own templates stylesheets. You can even design an email in another tool, and copy that right over to our system for use alongside our other benefits.

As with all areas where we know we can improve, we’ll build these features the way we do all of them: uniquely geared to meet the needs of telecom industry based on the requests and input from our customers.

Reports & Data

Constant Contact and MailChimp provide both real-time tracking and reports of email opens and clicks and basic statistics on your list performance over time.  In addition, they offer A/B content testing where multiple subject lines can be configured and the “winner” after a certain portion of the list is sent will be sent to the remaining list. MailChimp is the clear winner on A/B testing.

In addition to tracking email opens and clicks,  CrowdFiber discovers actual street addresses and parcels within your defined territories or areas. CrowdFiber tools deduplicate and clean up bad data, validate addresses and ensure postal deliverability so no resources or efforts are wasted.

Customers use CrowdFiber zone and map tools to track both address searches (leads) as well as registrations or orders for service.  Telecom service providers utilize CrowdFiber to identify and nurture area “champions” who assist with digital and real world referral marketing to neighbors.  CrowdFiber provides the tools to track actual take rates, market penetration, and establish and work towards goals internally or transparently to members or customers.  Filters for email deliverability exist alongside dozens of other geographic and behavioral variables for future marketing and sales follow-up activities.

While large sets of emails may be sent occasionally, we’ve found that the most effective emailing is targeted to specific geographic territories and therefore customized for the reader beyond what standard A/B testing would accommodate.  Our highest performing campaigns are delivering email communication on average every 10-14 days.

Direct mail and print materials

Rural telecom providers have additional challenges to being discovered.  Due to the realities of rural broadband networks, email and social media are often not the best ways to increase sales or build subscribers.  CrowdFiber has a direct mail management system so that you can upload your creative for a postcard or letter, select your desired list, and click to send. All printing and postage are included in the flat rate unit costs. Address lists can be targeted by more than 20 filters including those addresses which were searched but not yet registered for service.

MailChimp has just launched a direct mail service.  It does feature beautiful templates and an HTML builder, but list building is restricted to what is imported to the system or integrated with a third-party application.

Broadband Orders and pre-registrations

Crowdfiber acts as an interactive extension of your business to your customers. In addition to email marketing, you can build out highly personalized and tailored experiences for your users that allow you to compete more effectively, collect orders or expressions of interest around the clock, and automate some critical steps in the subscriber journey.

Crowdfiber acts as an interactive extension of your business to your customers. In addition to email marketing, you can build out highly personalized and tailored experiences for your users that allow you to compete more effectively, collect orders or expressions of interest around the clock, and automate some critical steps in the subscriber journey.

Bundle builder – so your clients can select the products and services they need while benefiting from any discounts, bundles, required add-ons, or upsells that you might want to offer.

  • Rules-driven Agreements and PDF form templates – Based on product and market (residential, commercial, etc) selection, CrowdFiber will assemble agreements according to rules you set. You can use CrowdFiber to create document templates that will automatically be filled with any information gathered during sign-up and collect other specific information needed for provisioning.
  • Legally Binding Signatures – no unnecessary delays with the implementation of e-signatures with contracts. Customer interest can be collected, order signed, and ready for billing and provisioning on the same day.  And for those broadband service providers who send out signature requests after an order has been submitted (for example, a pre-registration area moving into construction), we see on average 50% signature completion rate based on the first email request alone, and 80% following first reminder email.

If you are using Constant Contact or MailChimp for collecting interest, you will need to solve geocoding, online ordering of (sometimes complicated) product structures, and document signing through additional vendors or methods.

Business-to-business telecom sales

Telecom and broadband providers have to meet the demands of being both a consumer and business service provider (and many may do more of one than the other).  We’ve found that great telecom sales systems need to provide tailored experiences to business or enterprise subscribers which may include specialized bundles, quoting, sales rep management, deal tracking, and sales funnel visualization. These are all areas where CrowdFiber provides integrated solutions.  

Constant Contact and MailChimp can provide list segmentation and welcome emails tailored by specific sign-up fields.  However, these systems are meant to work in partnership with a fully-featured CRM or sales platform when it comes to B2B engagement.

Social media

Constant Contact has a robust social media management component.  MailChimp allows for integration and automated posting of emails.

While social media management is not an area of focus for CrowdFiber,  we do provide the basic sharing links for subscribers along with basic tracking of those shares.  In addition, service providers can add any Google tags or Facebook pixels for retargeting of ads and integrated analytics.  

Industry expertise

Constant Contact and MailChimp are fantastic email marketing platforms for general businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs.  Heck, our staff have used these products in past work and a few very loyal customers of ours use both platforms (it’s your data after all!)

However, there is one key difference that we believe makes all the difference. CrowdFiber exists exclusively for broadband service providers and utilities. Our founders bring serious industry expertise and decades of work as engineering, business, and marketing consultants. Customers like you have driven its development and we update the platform every week with features that routinely get giggles and tears and consistently reported time-savings, business improvement, and customer happiness.

Is there an email marketing feature you are crazy passionate about?
Let us know!

Otherwise, schedule a demo if you want to see how CrowdFiber compares for yourself!

Livestreaming 101: Tips and Tricks for Broadband Marketing

Livestreaming 101: Tips and Tricks for Broadband Marketing

Should a Broadband Provider Livestream?

From Facebook to Instagram and Snapchat, every platform is moving to support and encourage livestreaming video. In fact, Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s VP of Europe, told a conference audience recently that within five years, Facebook “will be probably all video“.  If video is the best way to tell stories, broadband marketers should consider how to include livestreaming in their marketing and communications strategy. We aren’t talking about the scripted and edited videos, but live. According to a recent survey published on Inc.com, 80 percent of consumers would rather watch a brand’s live video than read their blog posts.  Livestream videos aren’t usually super high-quality, produced or even rehearsed, which goes against a lot of traditional approaches. Here are some of the benefits and some ways a broadband provider can engage customers with livestream video.
Livestream  /ˈlaɪvˌstriːm/
verb: to broadcast (an event) on the internet as it happens noun: a live broadcast of an event on the internet According to AP tweet, the words “livestream” and “livestreaming” are included in the 2017 edition of AP Style book. So, feel smart updating your spellchecker dictionary with this modern phrase.

Livestreaming brings marketing authenticity.

Livestream videos capture something as it’s happening, so they feel more real and trustworthy. They capture emotions, reactions and events as they are (for the most part), not as others want them to be shown. This has benefits from showing a more personal “off-stage” personality of a company or its team or providing a trusted first-hand experiential account from another customer. Capitalize on this behind-the-scenes aspect by hosting a Q&A about your network build.  If your employees are helping out with a local community event, livestream to engage your audience and show how you are helping out.

Livestreaming gives new perspectives on broadband.

Although any camera that’s connected to the internet can produce a livestream, most are typically done with a smartphone. That means it’s much easier to get into places that larger news-style cameras can’t easily maneuver. This helps your customers see how they might use your broadband services to do more in their businesses.
  • Is the local high school using your broadband connection to stream a symphony concert or lecture?  Give your members a first hand view of the most awesome things that your service makes possible.
  • Holding your annual meeting?  Give your members a way to see behind the scenes as you setup or pick entertainment.  You may drive greater attendance or at least reach some of those that can’t attend.
Or, if you are really wanting to try something new, challenge your members to share their own videos about the ways your service has made their lives better, or how they are using your service to make the world better.

There are some truths to video making that don’t really change. While most modern smartphones have all you need to livestream right away, here are a few tips that will help you make the most out of it.

1. livestreaming video resolutionSet your camera to the highest resolution possible. Nobody likes to watch videos that are low-quality and fuzzy. So, visit your camera settings and choose 1920×1080 if possible. NOTE: this will create large files, so remember to offload images and videos quickly or change your settings back. 2. Make sure to turn your phone sideways to get a full screen video. Only apps like Instagram & Snapchat support video with the phone held straight.
livestream upload speedWe don’t have to tell a broadband marketer the need to check your upload speed. Just remember if you aren’t in your network headquarters on a blazingly fast fiber network, the wi-fi equipment where you are may slow down your mobile upload. Make sure your upload speeds are good enough to support smooth video streaming prior to the event. There’s no greater way to lose an audience than with lagging and long pauses where there should be video.  Use 4G if wi-fi isn’t stable.  *or better yet use this as a sales moment with your customers and show them the value of an upgrade! 
livestreaming lighting tips

Great light doesn’t take a ton of money.Here’s a portable kit for under $100. 

Good videos need good lighting and sound. If possible, shoot the video outdoors during daylight hours to provide a crisper viewing experience. If not, make sure there is a source of light shining on the subject of your video as much as possible.
  1. A steady camera makes for a happy audience. A tripod or handheld gimbal can smooth out some of the vibrations and let the viewer focus on the content. If you find yourself without these items, lean your arms against something solid (wall, table, etc) while you hold your device.
Add an external microphone if sound is going to play a part in the video. At a concert or while interviewing people, your audience will want to be able to understand what is being said. Because there’s no way to add captions until after the fact, a good microphone goes a long way. Here’s a small mic under $60 that will reduce environmental noise and help bring sound into focus.
Livestreaming can help bring a new perspective to your customers. Show them a different side of your brand with the low-cost, high-reach approach of livestreaming.  And make it count by integrating with direct mail, email, and social for maximum engagement and impact.
Here are a few examples of some great use of livestream videos: 7 of the Best Facebook Live Videos We’ve Ever Seen Live-Streaming Video: 5 Examples for Content Marketers

What’s your example? Feel free to share below!

Want more marketing tips? Explore all telecom marketing articles.