Posts tagged online marketing

A man is sitting on his couch and having a bad experience with a website on his laptop. A bad web experience disrupts audience engagement.

Approaching Digital Customers: Audience Pet Peeves

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A man is sitting on his couch and having a bad experience with a website on his laptop. A bad web experience disrupts audience engagement.

Find out the biggest pet peeves your audience has when it comes to online ads.

There is no doubt that advertising is a difficult field. It’s a matter of wrapping your head around your audience’s interest and what motivates them to buy your stuff. You also have to take into account the fact that your audience may not be receptive to your ads.

How do you get around this dilemma and do your job effectively? Well, it requires a little research and intuition. The digital space is overflowing with content and advertisements. People are constantly trying to sell digital customers products and services. While you are trying to grab your audience’s attention, make sure that you do not aggravate them at the same time.

What Your Audience Hates About Advertisements

AdBlock seems to be an advertiser worst enemy. But in order to get around this frustrating software, you have to understand why your consumers are using it. One of the biggest reasons that consumers hate advertisements is because they are disruptive. Imagine browsing the internet or visiting your favorite website, only to have a pop-up interrupt your experience. It’s jarring, it’s annoying, and most of all it prevents you from doing what you intended.

Another critical reason that digital consumers hate advertisements is because they fear them. The online world can be a dangerous place for your personal information and privacy. And some ads are malicious. So, customers would rather avoid the risk of clicking on an ad that might just be out to steal their information. Some are even concerned about advertisers sharing their information with third-party services.

The last thing to remember is that your advertisements do affect your audience’s web experience. If your ads are the reason for websites slow load times or eat up the data on their phone, then they will walk away from the website. Digital customers hate to waste their time trying to work with a web page that doesn’t work. Even worse, if your advertisements are truly the cause of a websites sluggish experience, the owners of that site will not want you hosting your ads there anymore.

The silhouettes of 5 digital customers (women) who are holding shopping bags and standing over a bar code.

Approaching Digital Customers: Optimizing Websites

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The silhouettes of 5 digital customers (women) who are holding shopping bags and standing over a bar code.

Your website needs to be optimized for digital customers.

Digital is the word on the tip of every marketer’s tongue. It engulfs a large percentage of where advertisers spend their money. And more and more resources are being put into it every year. However, what extent are you focusing your digital efforts? Putting content online is no longer enough to gain conversations and traffic. You have to approach digital customers in a specific way.

Account for Multiple Devices

Technology has made the digital landscape a lot more accessible for consumers. From smartphones and tablets to laptops and home computers. We are constantly moving from one device to the next, and marketers need to account for this.

If you don’t know what responsive means, then you are already falling behind. You can’t just build a website to promote your client’s new product or service and think your job is done. Your web developers need to account for every device a person may view your website on.

What may look amazing on a desktop computer, can be completely unviewable on a mobile phone. All customers access the web differently. And if your web page doesn’t account for their preferred method of viewing the web, then you may have already lost them.

Long Load Times Push Digital Customers Away

So, you’ve heard that online videos and fancy animations attract customers. Yes, this is true. However, if you decide to upload this kind of content onto your website, you have to be careful. Too many videos or graphics can make a website sluggish. Even worse, they can make a website crash.

A slow website is a turn off for customers. When digital customers want something, they want it now. So, the faster they can find what they want on your website, the happier they are. This is especially important for websites with video content and e-commerce.

Making Ecommerce Simple

If you are sensing a common theme with digital customers, it’s that they focus on immediacy. So, if anything on your website stalls them, they abandon it. With e-commerce, this is especially true. Some of the best e-commerce websites allow their customers to save their credit card information. It’s called vaulting.

You’ll make the payment process so much easier on the customer’s end. This prevents customers from having to reenter their information for every purchase. It also prevents them from looking elsewhere to spend their money.

A brand word in vintage letterpress metal type against a grunge steel sheet, representing evolving your brand.

The Difficulties of Evolving Your Brand

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A brand word in vintage letterpress metal type against a grunge steel sheet, representing evolving your brand.

What challenges have you faced evolving your brand?

Every brand needs to evolve at some point. Changing times call for new directions in order to stay relevant and find success. However, taking bold new steps is not as easy as it sounds. There will always be a couple of obstacles in your way. You have to think carefully about these difficulties and how to overcome them. With that in mind, here are a few challenges you may face while evolving your brand.

The Ever-Changing World of Digital Media

Working in the digital space can be tough. No matter how big or small your company is, advertising online is always changing. You may have methods put in place that are successful but fast-forward to a year from now and they may not be as effective. So, just as digital introduce the internet, social media, and the mobile apps, marketers have to evolve their efforts to account for what’s new.

Cross-Team Collaboration

Writers write, designers design, and developers code. And if you are like many other agencies, these teams work separately. For the most part, these teams work well independently. But that needs to change. One of the biggest challenges that you’ll face is getting them to work together. Instead of simply passing off the project from one team to the next, the leads need to give input to each other’s work. The results are beneficial to you content and campaign, but it takes a lot of effort.

Evolving Your Brand, Staying Consistent

Creating new methods to stay successful in the changing digital world is hard. However, while you are adapting to using new techniques and working more collaboratively, your work still has to flow like normal. You cannot let change set you back. Otherwise, you‘ll lose your customers and audience. As marketers, your brand has to operate just like it has in the past – efficient and engaging.

Now that you know what the biggest difficulties are when it comes to evolving your brand, are you up for the challenge.

A man's finger is moving a virtual arrow, which is going up due to his brand's good reputation.

Maintaining Your Brand’s Good Reputation

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A man's finger is moving a virtual arrow, which is going up due to his brand's good reputation.

What can you do to protect your brand’s good reputation?

Last week, I talked about the risks to your brand if your reputation suffers. You lose time and money, and more importantly, you fail to attract new customers and talent. We know that you cannot have your business in the state. So, now it’s time to find out how to protect your brand and maintain a good reputation.

Time to Start Being Social

Let’s be honest. If you are not advertising on a social media channel, then you are behind the curve. Part of maintaining a good reputation is to always be active on these channels. Your business is going to run into a few pitfalls, especially with customers online. How you and your employees interact with them determines your customers’ perceptions of your brand.

Get Your Customers to Spread the Word

Ratings are important. Most new customers know nothing about you except for what you tell them. Where do they go for an honest opinion about your service? They visit popular websites that rate your service.

Excellent reviews lead to a good reputation. However, they require some motivation on your part. You need to encourage your customers to leave reviews on these websites, especially when your known that they have enjoyed your service. A little push goes a long way.

Don’t Ruin Your Good Reputation Out of Spite

Trolls, pranksters, and downright unreasonable people seem to be a standard when it comes to the online world. The biggest mistake that any business owner or marketer can make is letting them get to you. Responding in any negative fashion will result in your customers thinking less of your brand.

They are not worth your efforts. You have a legion of loyal customers who like and buy your products or services. Remember be courteous and mature for the sake of your brand. You customers will respect your professionalism.

A logo for a brand, which plays a part in its reputation.

Protect Your Reputation or Risk Your Brand

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A logo for a brand, which plays a part in its reputation.

Are you going to let your brand’s reputation suffer?

Your brand defines you as a company. When people respect your brand’s reputation, they put their trust in you. However, the opposite of this statement is also true. If your brand’s reputation tanks, then you can be sure to expect some form of negative impact. As a business owner, you need to keep in mind the risks to your company when you don’t protect your brand’s reputation.

Losing Time and Money

A brand is like a baby. You nurture it, you feed it, and shape what it is going to be. That requires time and money. An investment that you stand to lose if you are not careful. Even worse, any negative impact on the perception of your brand will cost you more in the future. You are not going to give up on your brand, and it takes more effort to bring it back into a positive light then it does to give it life.

Your Company’s Sales

When your brand’s reputation suffers, how do you think your customers will react? If your brand gets into trouble, everyone starts to look at it differently. For your customers, some of them will start to distance themselves from you. They do this with their wallets. Customer spending on your products or services declines and the growth of your company is stunted.

Reputation Affects Expansion

Most businesses know that they can’t do it alone. They can build a company at the start, but along the way they are going to need help from competent and qualified employees. When people think ill of your company, they stay away. That includes qualified talent, who can help bring new ideas that may help expand your business. Unfortunately, public perception forces them to go elsewhere for work. After all, who would want to work for a company that no one respects?

An illustration of websites on a mobile phone and tablet, desktop, and laptop.

Building Websites: What is Your Focus?

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An illustration of websites on a mobile phone and tablet, desktop, and laptop.

Where are you focusing your web development efforts – mobile or desktop?

Building a website has evolved. What marketers have to focus on is different than 10 years ago. You have to implement evolving technology and the people who use it. Tablets and mobile phones have changed the way people access and interact with websites. With that in mind, find out what the new generation is using to browse online.

Mobile vs. Desktop Websites

Mobile phones are used to do everything. Today, it has allowed people to access information much faster and from anywhere. So, it goes without saying that more people are using mobile phones and tablets to browse the internet, especially Millennials.

It makes sense that the new generation is using their mobile devices to visit websites, order online, and inquire about information. Millennials grew up on this type of technology. Also, with the rise of mobile apps, it is easier for people to access a company’s content.

Unfortunately, this means that desktop use is on the decline. According to comScore, 20% of people in their 20’s are going mobile-only. They also state that desktop use has declined year-over-year. While this does not mean that every millennial is abandoning their home computer, it does mean that they are relying more on their phones.

Should I Focus on Mobile-Only?

No, mobile should be your focus but it should not replace designing websites for the desktop. When your website appears on a desktop it should still be usable and attract. Users stay on a website longer when they browsing through a desktop.

Another factor is your ad revenue. You lose viewing space when your website is on mobile. That means that there is no space for advertisements. A desktop website is where you will make the most money from advertisement, so make sure that people do not leave your site because the quality is poor.

Remember, the new generation prefers mobile but desktops are still a part of their lives. Plan for what you can realistically build on mobile, and create a functional desktop version afterward.

A graphic illustration of a several people doing different task (exercising, shopping, reading, etc.), representing target demographics.

Target Demographics: Who You Should Focus On?

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A graphic illustration of a several people doing different task (exercising, shopping, reading, etc.), representing target demographics.

Target demographics change. Do you know which one is important to you?

The world moves fast. As a marketer, that means that you have to be on the forefront of the newest trends. More importantly, changing demographics. With that in mind, here are a couple of groups you should focus on. These target demographics are the people you should be putting your resources towards.

Important Target Demographics

Millennials – The dreaded word, “Millennials.” Even though most people in this group do not like to be called by this term, it defines this generation. This generation of technologically capable individuals are known to be driven and diverse. They are also in the prime of their adulthood, so it is the perfect time to approach them with things they want and need.

Most of the people in this group grew up with technology. As a marketer, you can use this to your advantage. Target marketing works best for them. Find out what they like, what they do, and offer them products and services on the social media channels they frequent.

Women – With the possibility of the United States’ first female president on the way, you should be thinking about how to target women in the future. According to the United States Department of Labor, women make up 47 percent of the total U.S. work force. This means that they have purchasing power. Many of them are also the primary breadwinner of their household, making them the decision makers for what to buy and when to splurge.

Children – The children are our future. If you find out what they like now, this can lead to plenty of opportunities. While this group (known as Generation Z) is pretty much unknown, we do know that they are growing up with the internet as an everyday tool.

Another important factor to remember is that parents are concerned about their child’s health and well-being the most. That includes making sure they are happy and have a pleasant childhood. Parents are also more inclined to want to provide their children with everything they didn’t have. Out of all the target demographics, children have the power to influence what their parents buy.

A graphic illustration of a woman holding coffee and sitting in front of a computer while she is reading a native advertising article.

Keeping Native Advertising Honest

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A graphic illustration of a woman holding coffee and sitting in front of a computer while she is reading a native advertising article.

Are you being honest with your native advertising content?

There is a lot of criticism when it comes to native advertising. While it is one of the more effective ways of reaching your audience, and helps to avoid ad blocking software, some customers are not fans of this marketing technique. In order to persuade apprehensive consumers, honesty is the best policy.

What is Native Advertising?

Native advertising is a “disguised” form of advertising media. This means that your advertisement looks and appears in the same style as the platform it is advertising on. Whether it is an article, video, or any other form of media, it is almost indistinguishable from the platform’s primary content.

The problem with native advertising is that most customers see it as deceptive. Most customers have trouble distinguishing the difference between regular content (written by the editor) and advertorial content. This confusion leads to some customers feeling like they have been misled. As a marketer or advertiser, you do not want your customers to feel like you have betrayed their trust.

Effectively Using Native Advertising

The best way to approach native advertising is to be honest with your audience. It is common practice to label any article, video, image, or content as an advertisement. This label lets visitors know that the content they are about to engage with is sponsored. By adding a layer of transparency viewers are not confused.

You can also be transparent in your content as well. Introduce your company before you discuss the benefits of your new product or service. Even if the viewers know that your piece of content was not written by the editorial staff, good content will grab their attention.

The best part about native advertising is that it is becoming more and more accepted every day. People expect to see promoted content on websites they frequent. Just stay honest and you will have plenty of opportunities to reach new audiences.

A blurred image of a crowd of people. They make several different demographics.

Are You Still Targeting the Wrong Demographics?

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A blurred image of a crowd of people. They make up several different demographics.

Think carefully about which demographics you choose to target.

When you think about the term demographics, you have to remember that some people are categorized using very broad terms. The fact is that most companies need to shy away from going too far in that direction. If you are still targeting any of these three groups as your primary demographic, you need to narrow your target audience.

The Whole World of Demographics

If you think you can target everyone because everyone needs what you are selling, your marketing dollars are being wasted. First of all, you can’t please everybody, so even a great product isn’t for all people. Second, you can’t market to everyone. If you don’t have a narrower target, you’re going to miss more often than hit. If you can narrow things down, this gives you a means of focusing your marketing efforts. The result will be greater success, especially when it comes to the conversion rate of your efforts.

One-Factor Targeting

The problem here is not that you have too few people to target, but rather the idea of not having diverse enough criteria. You can’t select one factor, like people who like to read, and have that as your only criteria for a customer. Even if you are operating a bookstore, your individual campaigns need to target people who like specific genres of books, like those who listen to audiobooks. You may even need to target people who like movies that are based on books. After all, some people actually do like to watch the movie first and then go get the book. You may also need to target some individuals by age range or education level to market the right level of reading difficulty to people.

The Largest Living Generation

You’re going to say, “He can’t be telling us to avoid targeting Millennials.” The fact is that Millennials are a generation of people, not a legitimate marketing demographic in their own right. They come from all walks of life, education levels, financial statuses, etc. If you treat all Millennials the same, you’ll alienate more of them than you’ll reach.

You can’t make the entire target a bull’s-eye and say you’ve hit the mark every time. That’s just not how marketing works.

An office workers hands are holding a tablet. The tablets is displaying several metrics on the screen.

Too Many Metrics? Dump These Four

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An office worker's hands are holding a tablet. The tablets is displaying several metrics on the screen.

While metrics drive the direction of a campaign, some are unnecessary. 

Metrics can be the lifeblood of marketing. After all, measurable campaigns allow you to make needed changes on the fly, resulting in great ROI and profitability of marketing efforts. On the other hand, many aspects of the metric industry are flawed, and there are definitely a few things we can do without. Here are four of those things.

Sentiment Assessment Metrics

It’s not a bad thing to want to grow sentiment toward your social campaigns. The problem is that the ability to produce accurate metrics in this regard simply doesn’t exist yet, and it may never happen. The fact is that most sentiment analytic tools err on the side of the negative. This results in constant pressure on the marketing staff to improve a number that may be bogus to begin with.

Single-Score Metrics Provided by Third-Party Companies

Single-score metrics for social media are not necessarily the problem. The idea is that we look to a third party for this score, and they are trying to develop a single algorithm that works for every business across various industries and other factors. Remember that these scorekeepers can’t always tell the difference between a human and a bot. Is this how you want to determine which of your social followers are the most influential?

Traffic from Social Bookmarking Sites

The problem is that these sites provide little traffic with any value. The more that your metric for social booking traffic goes up, the more your bounce rate will also likely go up. You don’t need a metric to tell you this is bad for your site. Consumers like real social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Stick with those, and the traffic you measure will actually be worth something.

Stats Involving Check-Ins

Social sites that invite people to check in are nowhere near as popular as they once were. For example, Foursquare has about 55 million active users, but this stat refers only to people who use the app at least once per month. Facebook’s check-in feature is being all but abandoned.

If you find that you are swimming in metrics, the right ones to dump are the ones that can’t always be accurate or that don’t have any real meaning.

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