by Danny Meadows-Klue
Danny Meadows-Klue shares some of the tips from the Digital Training Academy, showing marketers how to get more value from their marketing budgets and more results online
Online marketing can transform the profitability of a business, but many marketing directors are so confused by the massive range of marketing techniques and technologies they’re unable to get started.
Should the brand be in social media or launching new micro-sites? Does the website need video or new content management tools? Should there be a mobile application or new online navigation?
For firms where online marketing is still only a small part of the marketing mix, it’s important to get the basics right.
- Getting the basic website right. Make sure the websites are engaging and have clear business objectives, with content that is easy to navigate and gives customers what they want
- Being found by customers. Ensure the site can be found in search engines for language the customers use and not simply the names of the brand
- Telling people. Run supporting online advertising to reach out to customers when they are not actively looking for you - just like advertising in traditional media
- Building relationships.Build email databases that can drive low cost long term relationships with named customers
Marketing teams should try regular small improvements to their websites and campaigns, monitoring the effects to learn what works best and why. In any aspect of digital marketing there is always the opportunity to improve, getting more value out of the marketing budgets without spending more.
Here are a few examples of simple online marketing techniques companies often miss. Applying them can improve the effectiveness of marketing budgets without costing any more …
How do you reach customers online?
Newspapers and magazines on the web deliver similar marketing benefits for advertisers to their printed titles. There’s the opportunity to reach people with message about sales or branding when they’re in the right frame of mind, but without having to be actively looking. But the web can go further, delivering more powerful consumer connections, and in a more targeted way. Here are three ways to get online advertising working harder.
- Take the message to the audience: don’t ask people to click to visit your own website – if there’s a brand building message then take it to them by advertising on the sites they already visit.
- Use large spaces for the biggest impact, but give people something extra if their mouse rolls over the advertising space. Graphical adverts give strong impact and the larger the space, the more opportunity for creative directors.
- When you find a website with an audience that matches your target customers, plan a long term partnership with the site rather than a short campaign. The power of the web to give effective targeting is the key to reducing the ‘waste’ in media – advertising to the wrong audience – so ask large website publishers about the right sections and sub-sections for you, then agree one year partnerships so you get the best deal in your advertising.
How do you build relationships with your customers?
Email has revolutionised relationship marketing, allowing mass customisation. Combined with powerful databases and complex segmentations, it created a new landscape of automated, targeted messaging, at incredibly low cost. However most firms are still only using the basics. Here are three simple techniques…
- Improve the ‘open rates’ of your emails by running competitions in the marketing team for the best ‘subject line’, testing them out on 5% of the customers and then using the best performing line for the main mailing
- Create a segment in your database for non-customers and write special messages and offers inviting trial of your products
- Target the most loyal customers with messages that bring them closer to the organisation; inviting their comments and rewarding them with extra services, insights or early releases of information
How do you reach new customers when they are looking for your product?
The web is the starting point for most people when they’re faced with a new challenge. Whether it’s researching a new car, looking for a holiday or simply finding out what’s on at the local films, search engines are the starting point. Getting your site properly discovered in search engines means much more than buying a few keywords or a day of search engine optimisation.
- Write headlines and page titles that use the language your customers type into a search engine; track the results and apply the process to all your new content.
- Create a landing page for every product; this concentrates the information about a single product, within a single page – showing to a search engine how important it is.
- Encourage inbound links by giving your partners and customers images and text they can use in linking; standardising the link text helps search engines learn more about what your website delivers.
Having taught digital marketing techniques to agencies and brands in 30 countries, these issues emerge as being ways many companies new to digital marketing can quickly boost the results they get.
It’s not about investing more, it’s about investing more wisely. And by tracking the results and effectiveness of your digital marketing spend, you can instantly see the cost per impact and how it compares to television and other channels.
Online marketing isn’t new and isn’t a risk. It’s not something for ‘other’ companies to do, or to leave to ‘next year’. It should be central to the marketing agenda for every firm and for the firms that get it right, there’s immediate competitive advantage. In a tough economic climate, digital marketing techniques are at the heart of the marketing strategy.