Tomorrow's digital marketing best practices explained
Although we now possess an unprecedented amount of information about our audiences, communicating with them effectively is becoming a major challenge, and much of the solution lies in using the digital channel effectively, according to Ingrid Froelich of SDL Web Content Management Solutions, who explains today's best practices for digital marketing.
Today's consumer faces so many marketing messages that all the old marketing favourites, standard phrases, jargon and taglines now tend to fall on deaf ears. This means that we must create value and differentiate by providing content that is genuinely useful. What is needed is content that genuinely adds value to the customer experience.
A well-told story transports us to its satisfying conclusion, and leaves us longing for more. A cross-channel story can become your customers' story too and relate to their aspirations. But to really captivate your audience, the story needs pathos and something that resonates with their own experience or what they wish for. And remember, it isn't your story-it's theirs. Your marketing strategies therefore need to find a place in the customer story.
Whether customers search for something on the web or interact on social media, make a purchase on a website or receive an email - their brand perception is the culmination of every experience they have with your brand. It is therefore important to engage customers in all of the channels in which they are most likely to encounter your service, brand or product - and show that you understand their journey. Remember, a great story will be retold, so you don't want to be remembered as the big bad wolf - but as that knight in shining armour that leads them to their destination.
A roll call is important as it helps you identify not only who is there, but also who is absent. The modern roll call may well be analytics, referrals (web, mail, social media), search terms, visitor preferences, visitor behaviour, time, location and information from other applications (such as CRM, web analytics, transactional systems, and so on).
Thankfully, marketers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in using this data to create targeted messaging and interaction. Understanding how visitors use different channels will enable you to better target specific audiences, increase customer satisfaction and increase conversion.
You also need to cultivate genuine believers who support your brand, products and services. Advocacy is more important than ever in today's social media reality. Creating relationships with key influencers and brand advocates, particularly external parties, requires more than just "following" and "retweeting". Many different social media tracking tools are available to help you identify brand advocates.
Always try to respond to these advocates, thank them for mentions, and specifically respond to their pertinent comments. Showing appreciation for their mentions, asking for their input and keeping them apprised of new developments, ensures that advocates also get something back. By bringing them into your circle you give them the opportunity to genuinely contribute and they will appreciate that their opinions and perspectives are valued.
So while the phrase "mobile is in its infancy" seems to be repeated everywhere, perhaps it's more accurate to say that "mobile is now at school". For a long time we heard that mobile was just on the verge of making a breakthrough for use in marketing. Today, the web has more apps than we can count. And, as smartphones begin to dominate the mobile market and time spent on mobile phones continues to rise, creating a mobile engagement strategy is now a necessity for today's marketers. Like all other elements of a customer experience approaches, marketing through the mobile channel involves relevance. It involves knowing where and how individuals are using their mobile phones to interact with you, so value can be provided that matches their immediate need.
Whether you provide a mobile app or a great mobile website depends on goals and target audiences. Mobile is really personal, so unlike a PC, mobile phones follow people where they go and are - for many, they are a third hand - so mobile content needs to reflect their use. Employing geo-targeted promotions will allow a level of granularity and in-the-moment promotions can provide previously unheard of opportunities.
A genuinely useful app or website can easily become a branded extension of your customers' everyday lives. While the mobile app vs. mobile site debate continues, we can see advantages in both with mobile sites providing instant updates and automatic access and apps often excelling in performance and engagement. Many marketers are putting both in their arsenal.
Mobile gives fresh life to email marketing, since messages received on-the-go (if relevant) may be directly actionable. You can update and change your messages, and your impact, in the moment. Unlike a typical website, which even your most faithful brand advocate may only visit periodically, practical approaches to mobile marketing mean that messages get out faster than ever before. It's also likely that mobile phones will become the primary point to access social networks. This provides even greater opportunity for viral campaigns, brand awareness and interaction any time of day.
Perhaps most critical to ever-increasing channels, changing customer expectations and new technology, is that we are all still learning. A little humility can go a long way when assessing past successes and failures. Thorough campaign analysis will help you better respond to new developments and create the most effective strategy possible.