How to Propel Your Online Marketing to New Heights

How to Propel Your Online Marketing to New Heights

If you are more of a traditional marketing expert, it may be time to brush up on your online marketing knowledge. It’s an area of marketing specialisation that is definitely here to stay. With ever increasing web usage (from 11% of the developed world in 1996 to 77% in 2013), online marketing may one day overtake traditional marketing altogether. As with all trends, it is better to be an innovative, early-adopter, than try to play catch-up once it’s too late.

Before we launch into how you can ensure your online marketing strategies are effective, let’s take a quick look at what online marketing actually is.

What is online marketing?

The simple definition is: techniques and strategies implemented by businesses to market, promote or advertise their products, services or brand online. It includes a whole range of tools and techniques: search engine marketing, search engine optimisation, social media, online and mobile advertising, pay-per-click advertising, digital marketing and content marketing. That’s just to name a few. New tools and strategies are being developed every day.

Now that we’ve got that straight, let’s launch into our top eight tips on how to make your online marketing program as effective as possible.

Define Your Unique Selling Proposition

As marketing professionals, you know that this element is true of any marketing campaign. Before embarking on any online marketing, work out what it is that sets you (or your service, or product, or brand) apart from the competition. What is your differentiator? It might that you offer 24 hour service, or the best quality product, or the most innovative project management system. Whatever it may be, your website and online marketing strategy must highlight your differentiator.

Define Your Audience

Know who it is that you want to engage. Again, this is true of all marketing campaigns. A campaign aimed at octogenarians is obviously going to be hugely different to one that is trying to entice teenage girls. The online communication tools, messages and content all need to be designed to appeal to your audience. If you audience is fragmented, consider creating profiles for each segment. Then, identify the most applicable online marketing strategy for each.

Don’t Push the Hard Sell

This can be problematic. Particularly if you have a sales background. But it is vital. Today’s consumers are savvy. They can smell a hard sell a mile away. They won’t sign up for e-marketing campaigns that push products down their throats. You can’t force them to click on landing pages that sell, rather than engage. Instead, you need to gain their trust. The best way to do this: deliver value. Offer your customers educational, informative or entertaining content. It will increase your website traffic, and generate and convert leads. It will establish you as an expert in your field. And who wouldn’t want to do business with an expert?

Create Clear Key Content

Your key content must be clear and it must be obvious. Make sure that visitors to your website know exactly what it is that you have on offer. Don’t be ambiguous. Don’t make it difficult for visitors to buy your products or download your software or sign up to your newsletter.

Craft Compelling Headlines

It’s sad but true, 80% of your audience will never make it past your headline. So, make your headlines count. Demonstrate to your customers exactly what benefits they can expect from reading any further. Cut to the chase and always be honest. But also do your best to be intriguing. Make your audience want to keep reading.

Build your social media networks

You can blow your own horn until you’re blue in the face, but a recommendation from an impartial third party is always more valuable. So, build your social media networks. Connect with experts in your field and contact them directly. You will be surprised at how often they are willing to share valuable content. If you’re just starting out, put the hard word on your friends and family: get them to like, share, re-tweet and post your comments.

Improve SEO

This is no secret. You want your site to rank well in search engine results. How often do you scroll to the second (let alone the third, fourth or fifth) page of search engine results? As I thought: hardly ever. The way to increase your ranking is to get your SEO tactics in order. Do some keyword research and integrate relevant keywords into your copy (without committing the sin of keyword stuffing). Make sure you have title tags and meta descriptions for every page. It’s really not that hard. We promise.

Don’t Skimp on Website Design

You might have the world’s most informative content and have ticked all the SEO boxes, but if your website design is dismal, your online marketing campaign still won’t be a success. If your site is cluttered and messy, visitors (particularly first time visitors) won’t hang around long enough to read your ground-breaking content. Your bounce rate will skyrocket. Now, obviously design is quite subjective. While you may love the look and feel of your website, your business partner might hate it. So, try to remove your personal opinions from the equation and design a site that your customers will like, and find easy-to-use and navigate.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Internet_usage
http://www.copyblogger.com/free-report-authority-rules/

Make sure you also check out our free marketing budget templates article to help you budget for your online marketing efforts.

 

Top Marketing Trends in 2011

Some years, everything changes. Innovation and rapid technological advances have been known to change the whole face of the marketing industry in one foul swoop. This has been particularly true throughout the naughties, with the ever-advancing avalanche of social media launches.

2011 was not like this.

Rather, 2011 saw a plethora of incremental upgrades across all social media platforms. Nothing fundamental changed. There was no new social media platform launched (like in 2006 when Twitter invaded our screens, or even in 2009 when Foursquare skipped into view). Everyone stopped asking, ‘What’s going to be the next Facebook?’ and started to wonder what Facebook would do next.

But what about the launch of Google+ I hear you ask? While Google+ did arrive in 2011, it is more of a long-term trend. For those of you who haven’t spent too much time familiarising yourself with the platform, Google+ provides a means by which users can recommend search results and websites by “+1’ing” a page. Keep an eye out for it in 2012.

While it was light on for big, sweeping changes in the marketing industry, there were a few interesting developments in 2011:

Mobile internet usage increased: according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, mobile internet usage (including mobile broadband, mobile phones and tablet computers) is up 50%. Australia is now a global leader in terms of smartphone usage rates, with the second highest penetration of smartphone usage, according to Google. In 2011, 50% of the Australian population accessed the internet via their smartphone.

Virtual word of mouth increased: Nielsen Research released The State of The Online Nation. Nielsen found that: 73% of people polled had read online reviews of brands, products and services; 26% read online reviews regularly; 46% have commented themselves; and 33% post new reviews.

Social media marketing went mainstream: corporate use of social media marketing increased enormously. Companies have come to realise that social media is not a passing phase and to be competitive within the marketplace, they need to have a social media presence. Companies also took a more sophisticated approach to their use of social media. There was a realisation that it is not just a matter of having a Facebook page, you have to engage your fans (otherwise known as customers).

Yellow Pages went online: the good old yellow bible stopped printing hard copies, and moved to a wholly online format. Not happy Jan? Worried about how your Nan will find a local mechanic? Take it from us, these aren’t the questions you should be asking. How will it change your marketing strategy? It signals the end of set-and-forget marketing campaigns.

So there you have it. No earth-shatteringly amazing marketing trends for 2011. Just baby steps (or upgrades) towards a marketing industry that is even more focused on online and digital platforms.

Marketing.com.au would like to thank Sally for great round up of Marketing Trends in 2011.

 

 

Facebook Hits for 2011

Facebook has again released its analysis of the most popular trends, topics and ‘memes’ for 2011 in it’s annual Memology. The highly anticipated Memology is usually a fairly accurate and concise summary of the year’s events, or at least the most talked about events.

The analysis shows the top ten Facebook status trends globally by month and then the top ten status trends for each country, as well as the fastest growing pages (categorised according to Entertainment, Music, Sport and News). What the Memology didn’t highlight this year was the most talked about brands or products and the fastest growing brand pages. This is probably so as not to upset the lucrative Facebook advertisers by promoting their competition.

Topping the list of global topics on Facebook was the death of Osama bin Laden on May 1. This historic event was the topic of 10% of status updates when the news first broke. Number two on the list was not quite so historic (at least not for us Aussies); it was the Packers win of this year’s Super Bowl. Not to be outdone by a bunch of athletes, Charlie Sheen’s more public outbursts in March also made headlines on Facebook. Some of his more unusual catch phrases (for those who have chosen to block these from their subconscious, may we take this opportunity to remind you: ‘winning’, ‘goddesses’ and ‘tiger blood’) took off.

In Australia, the short-lived phenomenon of Planking topped our list of most popular status updates. According to Facebook, this occurred after Max Key, the New Zealand Prime Minister’s son, posted a photo of himself planking in the lounge room with Dad in the background. Sticking with the political theme, the census also made it into the Australian top ten; a pat on the back to the Australian Government for the level of engagement it was able to achieve with ‘Spotlight’, an interactive tool that accompanied the census which published an info graphic on the user’s wall.

This was followed by Cyclone Yasi which hit Queensland in early February. Also making into our top ten was Skrillex. Never come across this term? Wondering how on earth it made it into the top ten if you’ve never even heard of it? Me too. It was only in researching this story I discovered that Skrillex is actually a person; a music producer to be exact.

The beautiful people took out the most popular pages: Megan Fox, Vin Diesel and Rhianna were among the favourites. The supernatural took out the top movies for 2011 with Harry Potter at number one and the Twilight Saga chomping at its heels (or maybe neck) in number two.

In terms of acronyms, ‘lms’ and ‘tbh’ were top trending new memes this year. I know what you’re thinking; just what we need, further butchery of the English language. In case you are considering using them, ‘lms’ stands for ‘like my status’ and is a means by which to increase your visibility as a Facebook user and the content you are posting. Meanwhile, ‘tbh’ means ‘to be honest’ and is generally used to emphasise the sincerity of a post. I think Shakespeare just rolled over in his grave.

There is no telling what 2012 might bring in the ever-expanding world of Facebook. tbh though, we’re sure the 2012 memology will be a fairly accurate representation of the most talked about events and issues. Please lms?

If you want to check it out yourself, just visit: http://www.facebook.com/FacebookPages?sk=app_271705986210152

Marketing.com.au would like to thank Sally for sharing this topical article with us.

 

 

5 of the Top Trends in Market Research for 2012

5 of the Top Trends in Market Research for 2012

As a market researcher, the pressure is always on to deliver the most insightful and actionable results for your clients. You need to keep your finger on the pulse of what the upcoming trends are, so you can develop research methods that will help you to use these trends to your advantage and keep one step ahead of competitors. You don’t want your clients to be looking elsewhere for suppliers because you are not evolving with the industry.

We came across the GRIT report, which you may have already seen but we’d like to share it with you. It discusses what you can expect to see in the Market Research industry in 2012. To get a full copy of this report visit http://www.greenbookblog.org/grit/.

Years ago we saw research methodology moving from paper to online. Now with the online space evolving at such a rapid rate, if you are not already, you should be investigating how you can use this space to add value to your research projects. The report discusses that the top five trends that are expected to see massive growth in 2012 are:

  1. Social Media Analytics – which is when data is gathered from blogs and social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. The data is then analysed to help inform business decisions
  2. MROCs – which is when you use private social networking platforms or websites to conduct qualitative market research
  3. Data Mining – extracting information from databases or systems
  4. Mobile – for both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies
  5. Text Analytics – also sometimes referred to as Text Mining, where text data is analysed looking at things such as word frequency distributions

What do you think of these trends? Have you had experience you’d like to share?

Image taken from the fantastic Klout dashboard.