Digital marketing is cost effective, measurable and the likelihood is you’re under-investing in it. Make sure you’re keeping an eye on what’s coming over the hill but don’t forget some of the more established digital disciplines.
You could argue that I’m writing this a little late in the year because, believe it or not, we’re already beyond the point when most people have lapsed in their commitment to a new lifestyle for a new year. I have to admit to having one foot in this camp myself as my resolution to blog once a week has already proved an abject failure.
Despite that, I did think it was still worth sharing a few ‘digital marketing’ resolutions for 2010 with you. Why only digital? Well it’s where your customers are most likely to find you and engage with you, it’s highly cost effective and measureable and if you’re like most brands, it’s likely that you’re under-investing in this sector. So here goes:
1. Invest in your Website, Invest in your Website, Invest in Your Website
Sorry to labour the point, but it makes sense that you’re going to get more ‘bang for your buck’ if you invest more in converting the people that are already coming to your site rather than trying to drive more of them to a site which isn’t working to the optimum.
Think long and hard about what purpose your site is there for and what sort of people are going to be using it. With websites, less is often more and you need to resist the temptation to bombard users with navigation options and content that cater for their every possible need and whim but create a confusing experience for those trying to use the site for its primary purpose.
Pore over your analytics to see if your site isn’t performing as you envisaged – primary navigation not being used or pages featuring amongst the top exits when they shouldn’t, for example. Explore more rich media options such as larger images and video which can improve the ‘stickiness’ of your site. And continually gather feedback from all the company’s stakeholders, both internal and external.
2. Search is Still the Daddy
When was the last time you had a thorough review of your paid search campaign? When did you last review your keywords? Do you have a least 3 creatives running at any one time on each ad group to continually test effectiveness? What about your natural search efforts? Do you have a content strategy integrated with your search efforts? Are you working on building your incoming links?
If you answer is ‘yes’ to all of those questions then my hat goes off to you, but the chances are that there are some ‘nos’ scattered in there. My point is that search is the ‘big daddy’ of online marketing and its still growing (UK searches in December ’09 were 35% up on December ’08). So although you may have been distracted by the winsome looks of social media or mobile phone apps, you need to make sure you’re keeping on top of it. Or keeping on top of the agency that looks after it for you (time for a performance-based deal perhaps?)
3. Let’s Reverse Those Declining Open Rates
Do you actually know why your email subscribers have signed up for email? And are you giving them what they want? Are your email efforts one way style ‘broadcast’ communications or are you using them to engage with your customers? Are you treating your recent subscribers in a different way to your past subscribers?
Because email marketing is so cheap, the temptation is to blast everyone with everything, just in case. But you’ll achieve a much closer relationship with your customers if you ask them what they want and then deliver. Much like social media, email offers the opportunity to enter into conversations and you’ll get much better results if you take the time to engage with your audience.
4. It’s Social Media So Start Being Sociable
You wouldn’t have many friends left it you talked at them and never expressed an interest in them or listened to what they had so say, but a surprising number of brands take this approach to social media. One way ‘brand to consumer’ communication is old fashioned marketing so start getting interactive. Search social media platforms to find out what people are saying and intervene if you can help. Get interactive with your followers, find out what they want from you, and then deliver. The time for ‘dabbling’ is over – set yourself clear goals for what you want to achieve and work out how you’re going to get there.
5. Keep an Eye on Mobile
Mobile is the new buzzword on the digital ‘fashion’ calendar following in the wake of social media in 2009 but just because its faddy doesn’t mean you should turn your nose up at it. Smartphones and feature phones actually enjoy high levels of penetration – if you look at your own you’ve probably got internet access and even a couple of apps tucked away that you weren’t aware of – but the iPhone has changed the landscape simply because its users are just so active.
The main buzz revolves around apps and mobile advertising, with the former growing at an explosive pace and the latter being fuelled by high profile purchases of mobile ad networks by Apple and Google. But don’t forget about mobile search, location-based services are offered on both Bing and Google, and whether having a website developed for mobile use (a bit of a nightmare given all those screen resolutions, operating systems and differing key functions) makes sense for your brand.
The question to ask yourself before you plunge in are are what are my target market using their mobile for, and what can I do for them that will be useful for them when they’re on the move? For example, for city centre business hotels, a presence in mobile search and a mobile website could make sense – I could imagine a tech-savvy and PA-less businessman organising his hotel on the go between meetings. I could also imagine mobile websites for booking hotel facilities such as spas, room service and restaurant reservations when you’re there. By the same token, people on holiday might like to search for local attractions on their mobile device.
And don’t rule out mobile marketing if you target audience is not connecting to the internet on their mobile, which most aren’t. Old and enduring technologies, such as text, offer opportunities as well. Services such as TravelBuddy can add value to your clients when they’re away with you, and text based gaming can offer interaction at visitor sites and attraction for adults and children alike.
6. Keep on Top of Your Craft
I don’t care how you do it, twitter, RSS and/or email, but take the time to take in what’s happening in the world of digital. It’s moving so fast you need to keep on top of it. That’s not to say that you need to get carried away with it – your target audience’s attitudes, needs, motivations and behaviours should always be the filter you see these developments through – but unless you’re on top of what’s coming over the hill, you could miss a big opportunity that your competitors don’t.