Posts tagged online marketing

A couple of marketers at a conference table working of several content marketing strategies.

Executives Require Different Content Marketing Strategies

A couple of marketers at a conference table working of several content marketing strategies.

When it comes to executives, you have to develop different content marketing strategies.

If your target audience is full of people with 3-letter titles that start with C, there’s no margin for error. However, the rewards for landing executive clients can be huge for almost every industry. With a C-level executive in your corner, you are assured to have a client with a much higher lifetime value. These are the type of influencers you can’t gain the backing of with a witty social media post. You have to design content marketing strategies specifically for executives, and that strategy has to be as elite as the people you are marketing to.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are trying to extend your business contacts all the way up to the top of the corporate ladder.

Hooking a Big Fish

If we take that analogy through to its completion, hooking a big fish means using the right bait, in the right location, and at the right time. Getting the attention of an executive requires the same factors. You need relevant content that is as current as possible. This means both knowing an industry well and being up-to-date on today’s news—and not just this month’s trends.

Creating the Right Degree of Value

We always talk about the need to create value for a consumer. For an executive, the level of substance has to be extremely tangible. You have to provide real business solutions, and be able to back up your ideas in order to gain credibility.

Break the Mold With New Content Marketing Strategies

You can’t market to an executive using the same material as for everyone else. You need to deliver something that really has an element of surprise,t and you have to deliver quickly with no time-wasting fillers. This is the content marketing version of an elevator pitch.

Being able to market to executives is a skill. It takes time to hone, and you can’t expect the same thing to work for every individual. However, the benefits of perseverance are tremendous. When you connect directly with C-level execs, it gives you a relationship with a company that you can’t have when working with project leaders, managers, or even directors.

A image of the words: customer feedback, support, innovative, quality, excellent, and friendly on a white surface.

What to Do with All of that Customer Feedback

A image of the words: customer feedback, support, innovative, quality, excellent, and friendly on a white surface.

Using your customer feedback can help you provide better service.

You’ve asked customers for feedback in surveys. You’ve read all of the online reviews. You’ve listened to what people have told your customer service reps on the phone. So what do you do with all of this customer feedback? Here are a few ways you can turn feedback—positive or negative—into something productive.

Improve Your Staff With Customer Feedback

People love to receive good service. If you want to raise approval ratings for your brand, this is the fastest way to do it. It’s also what people are most likely to complain about. So listen to those customer-service call recordings, and pay attention to online reviews and survey responses to see what your team can do. Then provide better training for new employees, and try to train and salvage the employees you have, rather than getting rid of anyone who has ever made a mistake.

Make a Better First Impression

Learning from the mistakes of the past (as well as the things you did right) can help you to make a better first impression on future new customers. The better that first experience is with your brand, the more likely you are to get repeat business.

Learn Your Customers’ Lingo

If you speak like a consumer, you’ll get a better response. You may say that your new kitchen knife can cut through a shoe, but the customer may not care. If you read a ton of positive reviews that say the knife cuts through vegetables like they were butter, guess what your new slogan should be.

Research Your Own Market

This is a unique opportunity to direct feedback to the kind of information that you need to know. Do you have two or three products that are best sellers? Ask specific questions about what appeals to consumers in regard to those products. Then you know how to make the whole product line more appealing. And once you’ve made the changes, you know how to market the new and improved items.

Some customer feedback is requested, and other feedback is given whether you want it or not. Use both kinds to be a better brand

A image of several headlines focused on climate change, a situation that is making marketing difficult.

How Will Your Marketing Be Affected by Climate Change?

A image of several headline about climate change, a situation that is making marketing difficult.

In the era of climate change, marketing has a difficult task for advertising.

The weather has been crazy all across the U.S. and the rest of the globe. Western U.S. has seen a terrible drought resulting in wildfires. The Midwest has seen numerous deaths from way-above-average temperatures. The south has seen a lot of flooding. As climate change becomes more obvious, it alters how consumers think. What impact will global changes in the climate have on your future marketing endeavors?

Here are a few things you need to think about.

Seasonal Marketing Campaigns

We often market products seasonally. However, changing seasons are making that more difficult. For example, many locations that are popular winter vacation spots for enjoying winter sports are seeing less snow than ever before. This is shortening the ski season and making it necessary to alter the timeframe of campaigns.

Healthcare Marketing Is Also Affected

The weather is also having a tremendous effect on the areas where disease-carrying insects can live. Some diseases that were under control are now reaching an epidemic state again as the climate helps the disease to spread. As a result, marketing for certain medications, such as seasonal allergy medications and flu relief products, are seeing a shift in the timeframe when the products are most needed.

The Emergence of the Eco-Conscious Consumer

People care more about how products are sourced, the practices a company is involved in to protect the environment, and the role of recycling in a company’s efforts. Therefore, it is important to be more transparent in marketing about what a brand is doing for the environment, even in small ways such as using some recycled material in product packaging or using new packaging that creates less waste. Eco-related scandals are now more likely than ever before to hurt a brand’s reputation.

In fact, brand perception is the number one factor when it comes to adjusting marketing to climate change. If you want your brand to stand out as a champion of the planet, you need to take action and let consumers know what you are doing to preserve the Earth for future generations. You’re not just marketing to tree huggers anymore. Today, the average consumer cares about the environment.

A magnifying glass on top of the words "Web Traffic." Fraudulent traffic is something advertisers need to watch out for.

How to Keep from Spending Your Ad Dollars on Fraudulent Traffic

A magnifying glass on top of the words "Web Traffic." Fraudulent traffic is something advertisers need to watch out for.

It’s important that you spend your advertising dollars wisely and avoid fraudulent traffic.

Estimates reveal that programmatic rules digital advertising despite the risks of fraudulent traffic. By 2017, 2 of 3 digital ads will fall under the programmatic umbrella, which makes this next statistic ridiculous. Forecasts say $7.2 billion will be wasted on bot traffic and other forms of ad fraud.

Ad fraud is certainly not a victimless crime. In fact, brands and marketing agencies are footing most of that wasteful bill. It’s a blight on the entire digital marketing industry. It’s the slow, painful death of advertising budgets.  So how do we protect ourselves?

Keep an Eye Out for Fraudulent Traffic

Sadly, we have to leave room in the budget for bot traffic. There’s no way to completely avoid it. That said, you can view traffic reports to spot the worst offenders. What should you watch out for?

  • Strange domain names
  • Authorless sites with no presence on social media
  • Unexplained jumps in CTR

Fighting Back with Technology

Use services that track and estimate fraudulent traffic. Work with ad networks that use verification measures. This is your opportunity to make sure ad buyers are on the level. Check out the reputation of your partners. Build a whitelist of trusted sites, as well as blacklist sites that send you bad traffic.

Use the Right Metrics

Yes, some KPIs are easier to fake than others. Spending that is based on clicks, rather than on conversions, results in more bot traffic. We all need to have a “the buck stops here” attitude when it comes to this growing menace. No other industry in the world would turn a blind eye to $7 billion in waste per year. Many industries don’t even know what $7 billion looks like.

Marketers need to focus on buying tactics that defend precious ad dollars. Awareness needs to be raised, not to shame scammers who will always do what they do, but to bring everyone else in the industry together to fight the problem. The more scam artists that are identified and blacklisted, the better protected brands and agencies will be.

A mobile phone with multiple apps coming out of the screen.

Mobile Advertising — What the Industry Is Doing Wrong

A mobile phone with multiple apps coming out of the screen.

Advertisers are having trouble with mobile marketing. What are they doing wrong?

Does it seem to you like most marketers today are more focused on the actual mobile devices—rather than the people who carry them? This is a new trend, and while the mobile-first movement isn’t necessarily a bad thing for advertisers, treating consumers like machines isn’t going to work. Here are a couple of ways to fix the mobile ad industry.

The Right Way to Use Cross-Device Tactics

The problem with cross-device campaigns is that most marketers are merely using this as a means to interact with users on as many different devices as possible without paying enough attention to the behavioral data. Sometimes it comes across as annoying or just plain creepy, rather than as a good sales pitch.

You should use cross-device campaigns to find your customer at the moment he or she is ready to buy. A consumer may be on a laptop at one moment and a phone the next. Meeting up with your ad on both may give a more negative impression than positive. But if you can tell the difference between research and looking to make a purchase, you can find a consumer in the right place, at the right time, with the right offer.

Think About Consumers, Not Mobile Devices

You get a lot of information about how consumers use their devices. Put that information to work for you. If someone does research on a mobile device but likes to make purchases in a store, provide them with in-store coupons through a mobile device. If someone likes to shop at a desk and buy from a tablet, provide education on the benefits of your product when the consumer is on a desktop computer, then go for sale when he picks up his iPad. Paying attention to behavior is key to closing the deal.

The fact is that mobile advertising is about more than just going where the people are. Yes, people are on smartphones more than ever before, but we still have to be smart about the way we interact with a consumer, especially on a mobile device.

A graphic illustration of the words "Market Trend" in the form of crossword puzzle. This represents digital marketing trends.

Attention CMOs — Focus on These Digital Marketing Trends

A graphic illustration of the words "Market Trend" in the form of a crossword puzzle. This represents digital marketing trends.

Following the latest digital marketing trends will get you far in the advertising world.

You understand the value of using various digital channels to connect consumers to your brand, and to increase the frequency of interaction with potential customers. Those interactions are what drive revenue and other business goals. Consumers connect everything that comes from your brand, regardless of the avenue, to the products or services you offer—and to their perception of your company as a whole. With that in mind, here are a few digital marketing trends that will help you to reach those goals.

Three Digital Marketing Trends:

  • Building Trust in Your Brand

    Trust has become one of the most important digital marketing trends. How do you establish trust in a consumer relationship through your digital marketing efforts? The first thing is consistency. All of your content, regardless of how the consumer comes in contact with it, needs to tell the same story about your brand, convey the same values, and be delivered in the same tone. This reveals stability and focus, so that no matter where a consumer is between researching and making a purchase, they have the same experience with your company.

  • Take Advantage of the Small Screen

    The number of Americans using mobile devices continues to grow, and people are coming in contact with brands on every screen size imaginable, from the desktop and laptop to the tablet and smartphone. You never know what the viewer is going to do during a TV ad. The person may go grab a snack, look down at the cell phone for a text, or even head to the bathroom. Taking advantage of opportunities to reach that consumer with mobile advertising lets your ad go with the consumer (even to the bathroom since most people won’t leave a smartphone unattended, even at home). Use behavioral analytics to contact your consumers on the right screen at the right time with the right message.

  • Taking Your Consumers on a Journey

    Rather than waiting for a consumer to be ready to make a purchase before you start marketing, this is all about leading the consumer to the sale. It starts with educational content. Why does he need your product? Once he decides he wants your product, engaging content will keep your brand in the forefront of his mind until it is time for a sale. Then, when purchasing time arrives, good marketing content closes the deal. Give consumers compelling reasons to choose your brand, even if it may not be the least-expensive product on the market.

People working at a marketing agency. Digital marketing agencies are the best bet for marketing online.

Why Digital Marketing Agencies Won’t Be Replaced

People working at a marketing agency. Digital marketing agencies are the best bet for marketing online.

Digital marketing agencies bring more to the table when it comes to marketing.

In-house marketing teams are becoming more knowledgeable and competent related to digital marketing. Does that mean that the age of digital marketing agencies is over? Not hardly. In fact, digital marketing agencies that keep current on modern practices have a great deal of relevancy. Here are a few reasons why these digital marketing agencies will continue to be important.

Providing Fresh Ideas and Perspective

Sometimes you need someone from the outside to look at why a campaign isn’t working—without the bias of being a part of a brand. Plus, your in-house staff may be so backed up creating content that they don’t have time to experiment with every new marketing tool in the industry, so you could be missing out on some good stuff. An agency might be in a position to make some helpful recommendations.

Adding Experience and Skills

An agency likely will bring some assets to the table that you just don’t have on your team. It can be tough to staff a marketing department with people who have all of the different skills and experience that you need. It can also be especially beneficial if you are targeting international markets to have marketers who are either a part of or experienced with the culture you are marketing to.

Lightening the Load

Marketing departments are under tremendous pressure to create tons of the highest-quality content while also testing and checking the metrics to tweak campaigns on the fly. Sometimes it can feel like an uphill battle where you can never get your head above water. Things start to slip through the cracks, which could end up costing jobs. A marketing agency can pick up the slack, help keep your team on schedule, and at the very least, provide quality content. Sometimes partnering is the only way to get the work done.

Digital Marketing Agencies Aren’t Going Anywhere

No matter how companies may try to bring marketing in-house, there is always going to be room for a modern agency that keeps up with the times. It’s not a question of whether you need an agency—it’s a matter of finding the one that can fill in the gaps for your brand.

A social consumer holding a brand new Apple iPhone 5S with an Instagram profile on the screen.

Where Are Your Social Consumers Coming From?

A person holding a brand new Apple iPhone 5S with an Instagram profile on the screen. Many social consumers like this one use social media to find websites.

Social consumers are harder to track as social media leads them to different websites.

Tracking is a huge part of online marketing. When you visit a site, the company knows all sorts of details about your browsing history, and all of that gets used to market specifically to you. In fact, that lamp you were looking at on Amazon is going to become the bane of your existence for the next few days. It will seem like every page you visit is trying to sell that very same lamp to you. However, tracking is not that easy when it comes to social consumers.

Enter Social Media Marketing

Content on social media gets shared via mobile devices, apps, and the like. Before long, your website traffic starts to increase, but it looks like it is all direct traffic. That can’t be right. How many people who have never been to your site before know the URL to just type it in to arrive at your site? Welcome to “dark social.” These are the social consumers that are arriving at your site, and you simply don’t know where they are coming from. It may surprise you to learn that as much as 70 percent of the website traffic you get from social media falls into this category.

What Can You Do About Social Consumers?

Google is trying to help by adding filters that can allow you to get a better look at where traffic is coming from. Other tools are available that specifically keep track of hidden social shares and things of that nature. Unfortunately, no one tool exists that will allow you to measure everything, only those tools that give glimpses into what you were completely missing out on before.

While some marketers are looking for creative ways to track mobile and social use—think custom keyboards offered by certain brands—there is still a long way to go before all of that traffic is as transparent as it once was. Until then, this hidden traffic is a hot topic in the marketing world.

Does your company have a solution for shedding light on this dark traffic? If so, it may be the next big thing that digital marketers are looking for, and it’s a race against the clock to be the first one to get there.

A young man discussing market research with colleagues in a meeting.

Be Careful Where Your Market Research Originates

A young man discussing market research with colleagues in a meeting.

Without proper market research, your data has no real meaning.

One thing that modern brands can’t live without is market research. Unfortunately, you may be surprised by how much of that data is tainted. For example, we frequently rely on online researchers, but who is actually taking the surveys that provide this vital research? Often it is paid panelists.

It makes sense for the research company. After all, paying people to take surveys is a great way to end up with a large turnout. But that doesn’t mean the information that comes from the survey will be high quality. Is this the kind of data that you want to trust with your company’s biggest decisions? Bad data could doom a brand.

So how can you collect data that has real meaning for your company, rather than basing your brand decisions on the whim of people who are simply trying to make a buck for answering some questions? Mobile has provided us with a great medium for doing market research. Here are a few suggestions for putting it to good use.

Incentivize Responders

Hold on a second. Did I just suggest that you pay responders instead of the research company? Not at all. You need to provide enough of an incentive for a person to respond without it becoming the only reason they respond, as is the case with paid panelists. So what can you do? Instead of paying participants, give them an entry into a contest with a fun (but not too pricey) prize.

Design the Right Market Research Survey

Asking the wrong questions to the right people is as bad as asking the right questions to the wrong people. Be sure with every question that you stay on topic and work toward the overall goal of the survey. You need to design your survey so that your customers come into contact with it in the right place—a phone call, an app, in-store, etc.  Getting consumers to interact with you where they feel most comfortable will also result in better responses.

Remember that the secret to market research success is asking the right questions to the right people at the right time, so you get an honest and reliable response.

Where the Worlds of Content Creation & Advertising Collide

Hand pointing to the word "content" within the Website Creation concept on the chalkboard. Content creation is a big part of digital advertising.

As digital media grows, so does the need for content creation.

Advertising is all about telling stories, even though we rely more and more on analytics for marketing purposes. So here’s the question: can you be both advertiser and storyteller? Is it possible to take on the role of content creation as an advertiser in the modern business world?

The demand for content is higher than ever before. We need content for web pages, blogs, social media, native advertising, and a host of other campaigns. On the consumer side, the public is becoming less forgiving of subpar content. This means that demand is high not just for any content, but especially for content of the highest quality.

Hence the rise of the digital marketing agency. Someone needs to help marketing directors, even ones who work for major companies, keep up with the workload of all of this content creation. Plus, such agencies can also manage many of the marketing campaigns from start to finish.

So the answer to the above questions about creating content and being an advertiser is yes and no. You can often both create and market, but not for every single campaign. Thus much of the content creation, and even some of the campaign management, ends up getting outsourced.

Quality Content Creation Shortages Are the Issue

The problem is that good content is hard to find. Some companies feel they simply can’t keep up in-house. Small- to medium-sized businesses might not have anyone who can run a successful marketing campaign. So third parties now help large companies keep on schedule, and also get smaller business in the game.

Native Advertising — FTC Creates a Fly in the Ointment

When it comes to native advertising—ads designed to fit seamlessly into surrounding content—the need to keep a close eye on content creation and marketing tactics is even more important. The FTC is cracking down on ads that look more and more like other content that is not sponsored, such as that found commonly in social media. The more the ad seems to simply look like more content, the more the FTC wants it to be clearly identified. Thus, it becomes important for content creators and advertisers to collaborate to create content that meets the brand’s needs without conflicting with governing agencies.

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