Have you noticed that your email has grown less cluttered with messages from marketers lately? If so, you are not alone. Many marketers are now utilizing social media to connect with you more effectively. The evolution from email marketing to social media marketing as a means for customer retention and repeat client sales has been growing for some time. However, the proven success of social media marketing has caused a huge leap in 2013.
More marketers are turning away from email marketing blasts and turning to “special offers” through people who are connected to their brand via Facebook or Twitter. This process is extremely cost-effective as it doesn’t take a lot of resource to post offers via social media and the maintenance of the “list” is, in essence, your followers. It also doesn’t hurt that every follower is a targeted lead.
One of the biggest factors in the shift to social media marketing is the growing ineffectiveness of email marketing. People have started to completely weed out or ignore messaging that comes through email. Furthermore, the SPAM factor leaves a large amount of email marketing dropped into someone’s junk mail – never to be read.
Savvy marketers should focus less on building their email lists, and spend more time gaining followers on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets.
Twitter recently announced the further roll out of what they are referring to as their Lead Generation Card. This card enables followers to convert into targeted leads based on offers they are provided. I feel, from a lead generation perspective, this is a great offering. Because the end user doesn’t need to go in and reenter their information for a lead to be created, they can more easily “opt-in” to the offer. This way, Twitter already has all of their information stored to easily provide a lead across to the advertiser.
With so many companies looking to leverage their Twitter followings more extensively, this offering provides a tangible and very easily trackable way to find the effectiveness of your Tweets. Obviously, because of the immediacy of the offers, this offering is exponentially more beneficial to restaurants, clothing stores, etc. than it is to the B2B community. However, it does provide another useful way to generate opportunity through social media.
Below is a glimpse of how an offer appears to a targeted lead:
Is it just me or does it seem like more catastrophic events take place nowadays than ever before? While it may appear that way, the reality is media coverage is much more intensified and stories that in the past would go uncovered, are now heavily scrutinized in our media climate One of the biggest reasons for the abundance of stories being covered is social media.
While anyone can break trivial news by reporting an event they witnessed on their Twitter feed, major events are also covered via social media platforms. For instance, people curious to find out if a loved one who attended the Boston Marathon was ok could look to a Facebook page or a Twitter account to see the current status of a loved one. This sort of immediacy is something that the world has never known before but something that is obviously here to stay.
Businesses have also become fanatical about trying to crack the code and leverage social media more to their advantage. I get questions all the time regarding ways to intensify the value of your followers on Facebook or Twitter, and the reality is that all situations are very unique. What strategy may work for one company may not work well for another because of the vertical they are in. I see so many companies with cookie cutter social media plans that treat all clients the same, and there is absolutely no value in this.
Social media is about engagement and getting people to become more loyal to your brand or your message. Many companies just put out basic offers via Facebook or Twitter, but have no real substance behind their messages that will drive interest to their social media sites. The fact that social media has grown so quickly, leaves many companies lagging behind as it continues to advance.
Embrace social media as it is here to stay and the fact is that over time, its utilization will grow dramatically. It’s hard to imagine a time when people weren’t so well connected, but the key for marketing lies in the ability to leverage all those connections effectively through digital strategies. While no two strategies may be the same, carefully constructed strategies can be very successful.
I am sure by now all of us have become keen to the notion that by visiting certain websites, those sites track our view, and in turn ensure we are “remarketed” to continuously view ads from the company as we further navigate the Internet. To some users, this practice could be perceived as annoying or even haunting, but from a brand perspective, the value is extremely high.
Let’s investigate remarketing a bit further to gauge its true effectiveness. In society today, people’s buying behavior continues to evolve. All too often, people begin a search for a certain purchase and then become distracted and abandon their purchase to return at a later time. What then prompts a user to restart that search? Could it be an ad that pops up reminding them that they needed to buy their kids rollerblades from a big box retailer with rollerblades popping up on every other news related site that they visit? Most likely – because that ad will prompt a person to reengage on that search, and in many cases, cut to the chase and go right to that particular retailer who remarketed to them.
One of my favorite stories about remarketing involves a Senior Project Manager here at WebiMax…who shall remain nameless as to not embarrass him (Chris Surovick). Chris was kind enough to purchase his daughters bunnies this past Easter. It was a smash hit as his girls absolutely loved the bunnies, but Chris was left with the realization that he needed to now house these animals and immediately began a search for bunny hutches. Chris had an out of town trip the next day to prepare for, so he abandoned his search only to be followed by ads showing off some impressive bunny hutches. He relented and purchased a hutch from one of the most active remarketers. This is real life, and this is how consumers are making purchases.
The negative that you will hear is that all too often the intensity of the remarketing is overly aggressive and a consumer could become upset with a brand because of their intense process. I agree with that notion and stress that you can control the frequency of the actual remarketing that the consumer will see. While you want the consumer to remember your brand, you don’t want to come off as overzealous as this will do more harm than good for your company.
Remarketing should be an integral aspect of any digital campaign. It’s builds brand awareness and allows you to recapture visitors who clicked off your site. With only roughly 2% of all consumers making a purchase the first time they actually hit a website, remarketing is an effective means to continue to target that consumer. The cost of remarketing is very reasonable and is a high driver of ROI.
I am sure when Pete Townshend wrote the lyrics to the Who’s “Goin’ Mobile” back in 1971, he had no idea what the word mobile would mean to all of us some 40 years later. Mobile web utilization continues to grow in popularity each and every day, and many well-known retailers are stating that close to 50% of all their traffic is now mobile based.
It’s not hard to see the trend towards mobile is growing and will continue to grow. After all, it is clear consumers are using their phones to search for products they want to purchase, and then sitting down on the couch with their iPad to scroll through different sites to make their purchase. I have a friend – who I would not consider to be the most tech savvy individual – who purchased a new flat screen TV with his wife on their iPhone while driving home from a vacation. That sort of large purchase is something that is becoming more and more prevalent.
Despite the growing marketplace for mobile sales, many businesses lack the very basic aspects of mobile compatibility. Restaurants are some of the largest benefactors of the mobile search component as people (in theory), can view their menus online and search for the perfect restaurant while commuting. However, the truth is most restaurants don’t even have a website that makes their menu accessible to view on a tablet, let alone a mobile phone; thus, missing out on a plethora of potential business.
The key area of interest to businesses is the e-commerce component that has really become ingrained with mobile based usage. People will often find the product they need on their phone, only to return to their laptop to enjoy the feeling of safety that desktop computer purchases provide. While it’s difficult to track this sort of purchase, the reality is this method of purchase will only continue to grow with the increased functionality of smartphones and tablets.
Most companies have no mobile strategy at all, and I view mobile not as a wave of the future, but THE FUTURE. Even in the B2B space, which tends to be more focused on non-mobile traffic, there has been a huge uptick in the amount of traffic that B2B based services are seeing. You can likely attribute this increase to the growing popularity of tablets and their capabilities being geared as mobile devices.
It’s moving quickly, but the time to bring mobile into your business strategy is now. “When I’m drivin’ free, the world’s my home…Goin’ Mobile.” Interesting to note…the Who never played Goin’ Mobile live in concert. Always liked the song, but now it has a whole new meaning in today’s world!
What do you do when Google breaks it’s own rules? You adapt!
I have been reading about the notion that Google was breaking it’s paid search arbitrage rules as far back as the Fall of 2012. We noticed some unusual activity around the prominence of Ask.com listings throughout the paid search results that in essence created an opportunity for Google to double-serve ads and control more of that very valuable “above the fold” shelf space. A good article about it appeared in SearchEngineLand http://searchengineland.com/is-ask-com-continuing-to-play-the-google-arbitrage-game-137278 that spoke to this topic.
At the time, I felt the concern was perhaps a bit overstated and the notion that Google was going to influence results for one of their search partners seemed a bit far fetched. Flash forward to May of 2013 and we are seeing this sort of activity intensify to a grander scale. If you read through the Google terms and conditions related to this sort of activity, it clearly violates their own language around this sort of practice.
What can be done? Essentially nothing that will rectify any sort of immediate resolution and the best course of action is to adapt to this change. We have begun to adjust many accounts away from the partner network on paid search in hopes to keep more of a focused scenario on Google’s main driver of their own search engine. People have become all up in arms in the past over the Panda and Penguin updates but at the end of the day, Google controls the search space and we as a digital agency and businesses that survive via Google, need to understand that Google has the ability to change the game to their liking. Never before has there been a platform that is so valuable to so many from a monetary perspective. Businesses often live and die by their rankings either natural or paid on Google. You can’t beat the system in this case, you need to revise your strategy.
Google is under intense pressure to increase profits and grow revenue. By serving up Ask.com ads that just re-direct to the Ask.com search results Google can “double dip” and increase revenues. Ask.com is one of the largest ad purchasers on Google (next to the University of Phoenix..which also seems to do well in this new process, ironically) and likely Google is working to leverage this relationship a bit more. Google tests concepts and idea quite often and I would not be surprised to see a quick pull back of these efforts or a much more intensified listing of ads in the near future. One never knows….
Regardless of what happens in this scenario, the key is to be ever diligent in observing the trends that are revolving around your business. Sudden drops in traffic or spikes in traffic are often indicative of larger things in motion. Google will continue to evolve, test and work off a playbook that none of us will ever get to see. Smart businesses adapt and in the day and age we all live in, that adaption needs to be days not weeks if you want to survive.