Most marketers, I hope, are familiar with traditional push-pull strategies. But, me being me, I don’t like to assume things–we all know what happens when you do that.
If you’re unfamiliar with push and pull marketing, here’s the gist of it:
- Push marketing aggressively seeks out the consumer, often incentivizing them with discounts and special offerings. This strategy touts, or pushes, these deals to customers so they’ll buy.
- Pull marketing generates brand awareness, essentially pulling the customer in because they want to learn more.
Not clear enough? Let’s look at some examples.
Traditional Push Example
Anything that urges you to strike while the iron is hot or claims to offer an unbeatable deal is typically a push strategy. Think “limited time hotel deals” and the “McDonald’s Dollar Menu.”
Traditional Pull Example
Unlike push strategies which tend to be rather blunt, pull strategies are much more subtle. They don’t simply use low prices to market their product. They aim to build brand awareness. Think Apple and Red Bull.
Apple rarely pushes their products onto their customers via special offers. Innovative advertising and word-of-mouth pulls customers in. Red Bull, which also uses innovative advertising, uses sponsorships–X Games, Formula 1, etc.– as well to rope people in.
While some companies lean heavily on the push and some heavily on the pull, most companies try to strike a balance between the two. After all, it’s tough to generate awareness without putting your name out there.
Okay, so we’ve talked a lot about traditional marketing. How does this tie into what you’re really here to learn about, online marketing?
A New Push-Pull Strategy for Online Marketing
Make no mistake about it–online marketing is still marketing. All the general principles still apply. And with Panda, Penguin, and any future cuddly updates, online marketers are being forced to get back to basics.
That being said, the Internet is a relatively new medium for marketers. With social networks popping up left and right, the people, the customers, are out there. We’re no longer marketing to “Internet users.” We’re marketing to people with faces, with online profiles full of information.
With those customers at our finger tips, it puts marketers in a unique position. They have the ability to push products (*cough* spamming *cough*) but they also have the ability to study their customers and develop ways to pull them in.
Websites and blogs are pull strategies. By fine-tuning them with on-site search engine optimization tactics, we’re improving that pull strategy. Your website and your blog are your brand and you need to build that. Even your company’s social media profiles, which may seem like push strategies on the surface, can in fact be pull strategies. If used properly, they build brand awareness.
That brings me to content marketing, currently the industry’s biggest buzzword. Companies are now their own publishers. They create what they believe to be useful content for their customers and publish it on the web. However, with customers so close to us on social media networks, it’s easy to push when we mean to be pulling–just think of all those “social profiles” who simply pump out articles and blogs without any real commentary.
In the end, you’re likely to see more long-term success through pull marketing online. Of course, like I said before, though, some push is needed to help you get off the ground. For example, an e-mail campaign, which can be effective if done correctly and sparingly, is a push strategy that I encourage you to employ. You can also push certain offers through your social media profiles as long as that’s not all you’re using it for.
Marketing certainly isn’t anything new. The Internet and how it’s used today is though. That means we need to adapt our traditional strategies for the web while maintaining a healthy balance between pushing and pulling.
MOUNT LAUREL, NJ — (July 24, 2012) – The egregious developments that have been unfolding in the Penn State scandal have all in society watching in great sympathy for the victims of the cases, but alongside these individuals and their struggle, is the fight for all those not responsible at the university that are now charged with rebuilding the school’s reputation as a quality institution. Kenneth Wisnefski, founder and CEO of WebiMax announced “there is a dynamic shift in the way a brand-reputation is more susceptible in the digital world”, and furthermore declares “crisis communications techniques have made major strides in becoming a digital format.”
This tragic Penn State case is another example in a long line that brings to light how brands, and their large affiliations, can be negatively impacted to a great degree by the actions of a small number. In this case, most throughout their entire community including alumni, affiliations, athletes, as well as current and future students were not involved but will be impacted by the University’s tarnished reputation.
“Now with the evolution of technology, instant communication, mobile, social media, and the 24-hour news cycle” states Wisnefski, “brands of universities, businesses, celebrities, and other entities are more vulnerable to lasting damage than ever before.”
With Penn State, those involved within the scandal made decisions that continue to have devastating effects on many people as well as the image of the university.
“One of the major problems that are evident by the University’s response is that current officials have not taken a fully transparent approach and have not been as proactive in their management of the institution’s image and reputation as they could be,” states Wisnefski.
As the amount of these cases continues to occur, Wisnefski sees a call to action for executives and marketers alike to pay greater attention to taking a more proactive brand management approach starting from the top. They must realize that there is a message in all decisions and actions taken, and a pre-emptive brand strategy forces executives to make the right decisions based on ethics first and the message that their action or inaction will send as a result.
“Those in the public eye must have this realistic understanding, that is, the best way to conduct your business and control image. But when crises do happen, there needs to be reputation control through open communications and a proactive approach,” states Wisnefski.
As Wisnefski declares crisis communications plans are making a shift from traditional response techniques to a digital format, social media plays the more significant role in modern-day crisis communications strategies. A recent press release by Gartner, Inc., states that by 2015, 75% of organizations with business continuity management (BCM) programs will include social media services in their crisis communications plans.
Facebook declared during the IPO that over 20 billion minutes are spent on the social media profile each day by their 900+ million user base.
“The difference we are seeing with Penn State University is they are not engaging their community of over 270,000 Facebook followers and 44,000 Twitter followers in their response techniques,” states Wisnefski. “They seem to be operating under an older crisis communications model that does not incorporate the use of social media and other digital components.”
However, Wisnefski also states that it is the careful planning and preventative measures that need to be in place in order to hedge against such damaging blows to a brand’s reputation.
“Furthermore, we have seen the majority of branding professionals not plan effectively and choose not to add a social media component to the crisis communications plans until such an unfortunate event takes place, and it is too late,” concludes Wisnefski.
It is in the planning states that branding professionals and marketers need to incorporate social media into their plans, as the landscape moves from a traditional to digital format.
Since coming online in 2004, Facebook has risen to the top of the social media landscape and asserted itself as the essential platform for connecting with people over the internet. Now, with over 900 million users, it is extremely popular and being used at an increasing rate as a marketing and advertising platform for businesses across all industries. Although, there is considerable worth for businesses on the platform, the value of it for these specific purposes varies greatly.
Within marketing, Facebook is excellent for branding, engagement, and growing reach, but with advertising it is not so cut and dry. Advertising on Facebook is great for some brands but it simply does not give adequate ROI for many others as evidenced by the timely withdrawal of General Motors’ (GM) advertising efforts on the platform. This is the essential point of the company’s disappointing IPO. The company has assumed an advertising-focused business model to capitalize on their massive stores of personal information in order to generate their revenue, but the nature of advertising on the platform cannot support the valuation that was seen in the run-up to the launch.
For a company that generates 82% of its revenue from advertising (first quarter 2012 figures), Facebook’s advertising model needs to be more robust across the board for it to be the sustainable long-term income generator that the initial valuation positioned it to be. The reality is their advertising model does not reflect this as the average quarterly revenue per user is only $1.21, compared to AOL’s $2.39, and Google’s $7.14. With that said Facebook will have value and indeed make money, but the significant variance in advertising ROI is the primary element that will prohibit them from generating the kind of advertising revenue that would justify their desired value.
Additionally, the very climate that gave legs to Facebook’s growth is also a threat to its long-term viability. Online social behavior is very dynamic and there is inherent vulnerability in Facebook’s product – its user experience. Facebook is built on user behavior and the experience they have with the site, and there is no guarantee that current positive behavior will continue. If behavior changes negatively over time and users engage with each other less or spend less time on the platform (as has been experienced in Australia), the value of ads will drop and the company’s worth will be degraded. Such “Facebook fatigue” has been seen in pockets already and there is potential for more of this in the future.
Similarly, the social media industry is constantly evolving in terms of what users want, what is possible, and the inevitable competition that arises. With advances in all facets of technology growing so quickly, from the functionality of the standard web, to mobile devices and smart TV’s, the way users engage with social media and what they look for will undoubtedly change. In this process, it is possible for strong Facebook competitors to arise offering something new and different, two elements that gave life to Facebook early on. What gives Facebook its strength is its popularity and user-base size, but these numbers are not set in stone as their competition increases. The recent rise of Pinterest, which recently became the fastest standalone website to surpass 10 million visitors-per-month, is a firm example of such competition as it offers something very different than what Facebook delivers. The argument is not that Pinterest, or others, will directly overtake Facebook but that Pinterest and other news platforms will steal time spent on social media away from Facebook, devaluing its revenue-generating ads.
Facebook certainly has a future, but it is likely not anywhere near as bright in financial terms as the build-up to its IPO would lead us to believe. Those looking to market themselves and gain exposure by engaging with customers on the platform, do so purposefully as there is significant return for the relative cost. For advertising, though, businesses should evaluate if it is the right option for them based on the products they sell and the type of conversions they are looking for. In the end, the future direction of Facebook depends on their ability to respond to changes in the social landscape as well as improve their advertising offerings and larger revenue generation model, a tall task given the discussed inherent challenges.
Has your company recently opened a Pinterest account as a new initiative within its SEO marketing strategy? Despite the newness of the social media site, there are already several tools that are available on the market for conducting analytics on the widespread usage of Pinterest.
Leading the pack of useful tools is the service provided by a startup called Pinerly. This new company is in the process of developing a comprehensive offering of tools for analytics, specifically designed for use on Pinterest accounts. Although it is currently in the beta phase, Pinerly has already amassed a user base of 35,000. Its users include many different individuals and companies, and even some major brands.
If you were thinking of getting your hand on this new tool, feel free to sign up for the waiting list on the website. Have you already received access to Pinerly? Then take a look at a recent article on Mashable that offers thirteen incredibly useful tips, complete with images, on how to navigate and best utilize the various features on Pinerly.
So what are some highlights of Pinerly’s features? They are:
• You can create pin campaigns in a variety of ways on Pinerly, and track them easily. Generate pins from within Pinerly itself. Or, create pins from the external link of a website. You can even upload a file from your computer to create the right pin for your campaign.
• After creating a pin, you can add a link and a description, then choose the Pinterest board you would like to attach the pin to, while on your Pinerly dashboard. And then, simply pin it.
• Once you acknowledge to Pinerly that you are done pinning, the service starts tracking your campaign immediately. It will present the data to you in a nice chart that is easy to read. It will also provide a list of statistics, broken down for easy analysis.
Pinerly takes the process of conducting marketing campaigns on Pinterest to a whole new level. There is no better way to enhance your existing set of SEO strategies. Check out Pinerly today, to learn more about how it can benefit your business’s marketing initiatives
Social media networking sites are forever developing new affiliations with each other to better enhance their users’ experiences. The most recent ones to do so are Tumblr and Facebook, as reported in a recent Mashable article. The two websites have announced a new feature that will making the sharing of blog posts from Tumblr much easier on Facebook’s new Timeline format. Users of Tumblr can activate this from their Tumblr accounts.
The ability to automatically transfer posts from Tumblr into Facebook has already long been available. The only difference here is that Tumblr has tweaked the process to better adjust to the new Timeline that Facebook introduced at the beginning of this year. This change in the feature does not only affect individual users, but businesses as well. I will take this opportunity to discuss an aspect of social media marketing that all too often passes over the heads of many SEO marketers.
There are many businesses that already use Tumblr as a great promotional tool for their products or services, and as one of many components of their social media marketing strategies. In managing a variety of different networks for a single brand, there is one important thing that marketers must keep in mind: each channel must display content that is unique from all others.
When a marketer is managing so many different social media networks for a company, it is tempting to post the same content on each and every channel. However, this is only really acceptable for promotions, sales, and things of that nature. It has been shown in many cases that posting unique content to each network is essential to drawing in more visitors, and keeping them interested in your brand. When visitors see the same content on each page, however, they are less likely to visit it again.
In regards to Tumblr and Facebook, if you have set up an automatic transfer of Tumblr posts to Facebook, make sure they both have exclusively unique content. Having the same content show up multiple times in your Facebook fans’ news feeds will very likely cause them to lose interest in your brand page.
It has already been said: content is king when it comes to SEO. Make sure to diversify the content of all your social media profiles.
There is some important and exciting news about Pinterest that a lot of businesses really need to pay attention to. As reported by a recent article on Mashable, it has been found that Pinterest is not just a heavy driver of traffic to companies’ websites. Pinterest has now been shown to also be a driver of sales. This piece of information adds greatly to the mounting evidence that supports Pinterest’s value to the world of marketing. This evidence purports that Pinterest possesses a great deal of potential for becoming an integral component of many companies’ SEO and social media marketing campaigns.
Evidence comes from data that was compiled by the company Wayfair, which is the second largest retailer of home goods by revenue. It supports three websites for sellings its wares: wayfair.com, allmodern.com, and jossandmain.com. What Wayfair has found is that shoppers which arrive on their sites from Pinterest are 10 percent more likely to purchase an item than shoppers who are referred from other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as from search.
Not only that, people referred from Pinterest spend 10 percent more than average customers. The article goes on to state that, when the statistics of all social media sites are put together, visitors to websites who have been referred from Pinterest spend 70 percent more than visitors who have been referred from other sites, and including search. These are some pretty significant numbers for all businesses that are considering adding Pinterest to their social media marketing repertoire to seriously consider.
An important point that Wayfair makes in its announcements is that the company had only started actively using Pinterest at the beginning of 2012. In this short span of time, the company’s Pinterest boards have experienced a great deal of popularity – and its site a significant amount of traffic and sales. This is a sign to other companies that it does not take long for a marketing campaign on Pinterest to start paying itself off.
If your business is thinking about opening, or has already opened, a Pinterest account, don’t hesitate to start putting together several beautiful boards. It won’t be long before the benefits start kicking in.