Digital Marketing Trends In Australia

We recently published an article on Inbound Marketing In Your Marketing Mix where we discussed the importance of customer engagement and the need to focus more attention on earning the interest of customers and not just relying on being able to buy it through traditional marketing. However, for many of us, digital marketing is still somewhat of an untamed beast. The good news out this week is we’re not alone.

Responsys got in touch with us and kindly shared their annual Big Australia Report which discusses and benchmarks the practices of digital marketing in Australia based on interviews they conducted with 125 digital marketers around Australia in July and August of this year. (more…)

Using Social Media in the Marketing Mix

In 2011, 80% of businesses in America with over 100 employees will use social media marketing. Compared with two years ago, when only 42% of companies were using social media, this is an enormous change (source eMarketer). As more and more people adopt the use of social media in their daily lives, marketers are being forced to recognise the potential of this communication tool and integrate it into the marketing mix.

Social Media is one of those mysterious (and slightly scary) terms in the world of marketing. When Facebook exploded on the world stage, followed not long after by Twitter, all those ‘slow adopters’ buried their heads in the sand and hoped (or in some cases prayed) that it would quickly evaporate. Surely this was just another passing Gen-Y fad? No such luck.
Social media has changed the way advertising and marketing is rolled out: bombarding customers with endless two-for-the-price-of-one email deals creates short-term leads but does not ensure long-term success. Social media allows two-way communication with potential customers and can generate online conversations about your brand between customers. So how do you integrate social media into your marketing mix? Make social media part of everything you do; social media is more than just another marketing tool.

It would be really easy to just create a Facebook page, update it perhaps once a week (or every other week if I’m busy). That’s social media isn’t it? Not quite. Consumers do not participate in social media so that marketers have another vehicle to deliver their two-for-the-price-of-one spam. Consumers want to communicate with other people, connect with their friends, their family, and gain an insight into the people behind the brand that they know and love. Marketing through social media marketing should enable this connection. It should create an actual, real relationship (and conversation) between the brand and the customer.

We’ll let you in on the secret to social media: draft, discuss and then implement a social media strategy. It can be a component of a marketing strategy or a stand-alone strategy. It’s up to you. But just make sure that you have one.
Choose a couple of key social media vehicles (those most relevant to your customers or audience). There is no need to use every social media vehicle. Unless you have unlimited resources, you will end up spreading yourself thin and doing all social media badly instead of a couple extremely well. There’s no point in having a half-baked blog, Facebook page, Twitter account and RSS feed. You are better off just having a top notch Facebook and Twitter account. Choose carefully though. Ask yourself: Who is my ideal customer? How and what do I want to communicate with them? Which social media vehicle will be most effective to do so?

Before you update your status, upload that photo or decide to tweet, think about how that action will be improving your brand. Social media is like a giant, expensive, online advertising campaign. As soon as you publish something online, it is visible to the whole world. If you wouldn’t want it on a billboard in Times Square, then don’t post it online. Every social media action should build the strength and value of your brand. It should not just be another excuse for verbal diarrhoea. Even if you are the CEO of IBM, no one cares what you ate for breakfast. And remember, social media should always use your logo, company colours, relevant pictures and any other branding vehicles available, just as advertising would.

Social media does have its limitations though. If your company has no brand recognition to start with, social media won’t really help. You can utilise social media to increase brand recognition, but not to create it. A Facebook page won’t win over new customers.

You can use social media as a vehicle for communicating with customers (particularly younger, Gen Y customers) or for retaining existing happy customers. But if your customers aren’t happy with your product, daily Facebook status updates will probably upset, rather than impress them. If your brand, product or customer service isn’t 100%, it’s probably better to work on business operations and improvements before venturing into the world of social media.

As with any marketing activity, you need to be able to determine how effective social media as well as calculate its Return on Investment. To fully understand the effectiveness of your social media marketing campaign, it is best to use both internal and external systems of measurement.

Internal measurement is much easier to gauge. It includes how many Twitter followers you have, how many friends on Facebook or how many people ‘liked’ your last status update. While all these elements will give you solid, quantitative evidence (your accountant or CFO will like these), they won’t tell you whether a social media campaign is actually working, or whether your key messages are being heard (and understood or acted upon) by your audience.

Don’t get discouraged though, this is the same of an above-the-line advertising campaign. You can run all the television advertisements you like (with information from the TV networks on viewer ratings and audience breakdown) but, how do you know that your target audience isn’t in the kitchen making a cup of tea during the ad break?

As such, you need to couple internal measurement with external measurement tools. External measurement is a bit trickier to gauge. It includes website traffic and customer enquiries. You know when companies ask how you heard about them? Well, this is why. They are trying to get an understanding of which marketing methods work best for their brand. If sales haven’t increased, then whether you have two or two million Facebook fans is irrelevant.

Marketing.com.au would like to thank Sally for her time and for sharing this great article with us.

 

 

Really Simple RSS

RSS stands for ‘Really Simple Syndication’ (or Rich Site Summary) and is a relatively easy and free way to communicate updates to your (or your client’s) website. Users can subscribe free to one or more ‘feeds’ which send a headline and a short summary of articles that have been recently added or updated on any given website.

RSS is not a widely used (or known) term just yet, but techno savvy web developers and consumers are using RSS more and more. RSS is probably the most reliable (and quickest) online method by which to deliver content. It can improve search engine rankings, reach new audiences through syndication, is an easier and less expensive communication tool than email, enhance email marketing campaigns, generate media coverage and develop online conversations. If you are considering jumping on the RSS bandwagon, you should consider the following tips to ensure that your feed stands out from the crowd.

Any marketing activity should begin with research; gaining a thorough understanding of how the chosen marketing medium works is essential. It is extremely difficult to fully understand how something works (particularly when it comes to constantly changing technology) without having actually used it. So, first of all, pick an RSS aggregator (the most popular are My Yahoo!, Bloglines and Firefox and) and subscribe to some RSS feeds. You will very quickly pick up which feeds work and why, and similarly, what should be avoided.

You should always include specific key words in your RSS feed’s channel title and description. As with any website search, users generally search for RSS feeds using key words or phrases. If you have specific, descriptive key words in your RSS feed, it will be more easily found and you will end up with a much better (and extensive) subscriber list.
Always include the date a feed item was published, even if the content is not date specific. This will help your subscribers to determine when the content was published – there is nothing worse than reading an RSS feed that you think is up-to-date, only to find it was created months (or even years) ago.

Don’t create splogs. Splogs or ‘spam blogs’ are generally characterised as a blog that is generated by a machine (rather than a human being). They increase visibility (through a higher search engine ranking) of another website that the splogger is trying to promote. Splogs jam search engines, making it difficult to find RSS feeds with real, specific content. Make sure you write and post the content for your RSS feed, don’t set up an automated system. It won’t help build trust in your brand.

Don’t violate copyright by republishing the content of another company’s RSS feed without permission. If you quote another RSS feed, always reference the original source and provide a link to the article. If you are approached by another company that wants to republish your RSS, then say yes (and say it loud and clear!). Allowing third parties to use your RSS feed and broadcast your news on their homepage will work to your advantage. Your news will reach a new, broader market this way. A bigger market means more potential customers and better return on investment.

Don’t provide multiple feed formats with the exact same content. As far as the subscriber (or potential customer) is concerned, the type of RSS used by any brand, website or company is irrelevant. Multiple versions of the same feed cause confusion and annoy users with their repetition. Choose one version, provide a single feed and stick with it.

Promote your RSS feed. You can do this quite easily yourself. The best way is through an RSS presentation page. An RSS presentation page should explain what RSS is as well as its benefits, recommend a free RSS aggregator, explain the benefits of your RSS feed to users (or potential customers) and include an online form for users to complete to subscribe to your RSS feed.

You should also promote your feeds through any and all available external channels. Submit your feeds to search engines, ping RSS aggregator sites every time content is updated online content and give permission to users and other websites to syndicate your feed on other websites.

RSS is a one-stop-shop for consumption of online content. It does away with the need to visit several websites each day just to check what might have been updated. Breaking news is received as it becomes available. It gives users complete control over content consumption; they can unsubscribe at any time. RSS makes sure that users receive the content and updates they want, minus all the spam. Like any other communication tool, with some planning and careful integration into your existing marketing program, RSS can generate real brand boosting benefits.

Marketing.com.au would like to thank Sally for sharing this great article with our readers.