Digital Marketing and SEO As loyalty and brand awareness schemes take and increasingly digital and social media driven approach this is opening up a whole new world of opportunities for SEO's and digital marketers. SEO has long been a tool in a digital marketers tool box however it is often something which gets overlooked by many companies. The major problem with SEO is that many businesses and clients fail to understand the importance of SEO and so its often dismissed in its importance in favour of more traditional techniques and new buzz words such as Social Media.
I continually find myself in a position where I am having to explain to a client why brand perception and reputation are important. Most commonly smaller companies have the perception that all 'brand work' is only for the 'larger power-houses' however this couldn’t be further from the truth. Your brand and how it is perceived can have a significant impact on your business's success. Whether you sell products or a service the public judge you as a whole, as a brand. Therefore in order to gain any form of success you must first win the trust of the people who you are wanting to buy from you. To do this, you must offer value to a potential client or consumer whether this is through buying tips, product advice or offering discussion forums on your site; the options are endless. This sort of work is essential regardless of the size or type of company you are, this information also opens up a gold mine of potential link building material to you so what have you got to lose? When in doubt, look at it from a potential consumer's point of view. What do you look for when you are dealing with a company?
I have often said that social media is not as effective for business to business use, however this is not to say b2b businesses shouldn't embrace social channels. What it does mean is a more considered approach is required to be successful.
As Groupon announce today of a significant loss of over $42 Million many have been led to ask the question “Is the Groupon bubble about to burst?”. Groupon has made its name by transforming the online voucher code and offers industry spawning a range of competing sites such as Wowcher, MyCityDeal and LivingSocial. With this said things haven't always been a bed of roses for Groupon who have faced complaints from users and participating companies alike with problems about offers, how they have been publicised or misleading claims which they have then have had to face the ASA over. As a result Groupon has also had its fair share of negative publicity with some companies blaming them for their bankruptcy when offers have gone awry. With this said are we as a society wakening up to the negatives and drawbacks of this type of voucher industry? Groupon has also been pulled up by the British Office for Fair Trading amidst claims of posting misleading vouchers and adverts as well as exaggerating saving claims on their site. In addition to this Groupon was reprimanded 48 times by the ASA last year for breaching advertising regulations and had over 60 of its adverts banned in the space of 6 months.Read more...
With the ASA now extending its remit to all marketing campaigns and content businesses are going to be under increasing pressure to make sure that they can still make their voices heard in new and innovative ways without getting banned and slapped with a fine. Until now social campaigns through channels such as YouTube and Facebook have been safe from the scrutiny of the ASA however that is all set you change. Many campaigns which have failed to make it to TV have often succeeded online such as this one:
Segmentation has always been the key to any successful marketing campaign however despite its proven track record many companies continue to fail to make the most out of the consumer data they already possess. Consumer data is very valuable in the marketing industry and the insights which it can offer about a companies client base can be second to non. Reviewing your consumer data year on year will not only help you to track consumer trends and market fluctuations but by doing this it will also allow you to market and communicate with potential buyers more effectively. No matter what industry you are in the market is continually evolving and your businesses ability to evolve and adapt to meet the industries requirements will determine your success. In order to be able to prepare for and predict these market and consumer fluctuations a businesses requires consumer specific data. However when it comes to data collection many companies are left floundering. One of the best times to collect this valuable data is during a festive period when there is a period of mass buying and so mass information exchange. One common usage of this sort of purchasing behaviour data can be seen on large sites like Amazon where we have all seen the 'people who bought this also bought.....' or on the likes of BBC iPlayer and their 'For You' programme suggestion filter. Theses consumer specific filters not only encourage the sharing or more information but also act as a call to action encouraging the user to interact with the site/service more. No matter what sort of service you offer this Christmas period remember that this is the ideal time of year to gather data and prepare for the year to some.
It is a well known fact that the festive period is a very fraught time with folk rushing from A to B with very little time in between. With this in mind and considering the strength of mobile marketing there is now no longer any excuse for not being able to communicate effectively with your consumers no matter what they do.
We are all fully aware that over the festive period our in boxes are bombarded with spam and offers many of which are not personalised even slightly. With this in mind it is no surprise that during this time there is a significant increase in unsubscriber rates and spam complaints. So when you are looking to communicate with your potential consumers this year you have to be careful to not only get lost in with the spam but to also engage your consumers to differentiate your site/brand and generally your products/services from these other spammy communications. There are various ways in which to do this however the key is personalisation, personalisation and some more personalisation. This easy activity is often only utilising the valuable data which you have already gained about a consumer due to their purchase history so there is really no excuse. By appealing to a consumer on a a number of levels from specially tailored offers to personalised messages you can not only make your consumers feel more appreciated but you are also more likely to encourage better click through rates in the same process. In Summary no matter how you choose to communicate with your consumers with festive period make sure that you are actually speaking and writing to THEM and not sending out a generic message.
This point is particularly for those with e-commerce sites. There are very simple ways in which to help boost consumer spending and that is by getting into the holiday spirit! Whether it is New Year, Easter or in this case Christmas by focussing your marketing campaigns and communications around these events you can generate interest in your brand while encouraging spending. These changes can be as minor as a few tweaks to your sites design and email templates. It has been known for a long time that personalised emails make a significant difference to consumer experience and brand perception however personalisation is much more than just adding a persons name! There is a wide range of personal touches which can be made using information gleaned from a consumers previous shopping data such as featuring products in common price brackets of categories. These small changes plus a tweaked design can have a drastic impact in a consumers propensity to buy when it comes to holiday seasons.
Search marketing as a specialism is continually being overlook during marketing campaigns. Despite the numerous reports that provide case studies, advice and insights about the wealth of advantages which search marketing can offer it is still being pushed to the outskirts of marketing campaigns by brands. I think this a party due to the fact that many companies do not understand SEO and search marketing so asking them to dedicate time and budget to something like this is naturally resisted against. However this theory would work if it were not for the strength of social media, a channel which is increasingly popular as a marketing tool yet very few companies know how to utilise it to its best or even measure its effectiveness or ROI! Search marketing provides a fantastic support network to other more standard marketing campaign channels such as direct marketing. However as digital marketing grows in popularity, partly thanks to the powerhouse that is social media, could search marketing finally have its value recognised !? This change could also be spurred by Google's foray into social media with the introduction of Google +1 which links the two specialisms to hopefully show the not only the true worth of social media but also the importance of search marketing in a marketing campaign. There is no denying that Google is a formidable force. It has integrated itself into our lifestyles, as has social media, so linking the two not only differentiated itself from other social media sources but could also be the company who can finally make brands see the value of search marketing.
Customisation and personalisation has always been something which has been essential in successfully engaging with consumers, yet time over time businesses fail to do exactly this and then wonder why their campaigns are not getting the responses they had hoped/targeted for.
There is no argument that online retail has a wide variety of incentives and advantages which it can offer its consumers. One of the key advantages of online retail is the element of convenience. Shoppers are no longer limited by shop locations and opening hours, what products are in stock in the store and the general hussle and bussle of a shopping centre on a Saturday afternoon.
Video can have a huge impact upon e-commerce and is becoming an increasingly important trend which online retailers are going to have to consider over the next few years.
The National Retail Federation recently reported that retail in general was worth $462 Billion a year in revenue with $32.6Billion of this directly related to online retailing and this figure is only set to rise further.
The way in which we function in our day to day lives has changed dramatically with the influence and introduction of increasingly sophisticated technology to the point where it is barely recognisable to a decade ago. As a society we are continually 'plugged in' so whether it is checking into Facebook on our mobile phones or collecting your emails via your iPad the way we travel, work and socialise is continually being documented.