The way you market your products and services is constantly changing. There are so many new and revised digital marketing options to throw into the marketing mix, that it’s enough to make you want to give it all a miss and go lie on a beach for a week.
How are you supposed to know what has merit and should be tried, and what to ignore as a passing fad?
The truth is – no-one knows. Factors like your target market, the type of products or services you offer and your method of delivery will affect results. The only way to know for sure is to test several things, and eliminate the ones which don’t produce more income than they cost, and beef up the ones that do.
As a marketing company, we do our best to stay on top of new things, to review what’s working and what is not worth the effort.
In my last post I talked about the importance of mapping the customer journey – and lead sources and interactions are a very important part of that journey.
This is a summary of things we see important in 2017, and are worth considering for your business.
1. Be available now with Live Web Chat
Web Chat is the digital version of a shop salesperson approaching you when you walk in and asking you if they can help. It’s a clever little popup chat that really does keep visitors on your website longer and helps improve sales. Live chat gives visitors the convenience of having their questions answered immediately – without having to call your number or send you an email.
According to an ATG Global Consumer Trend survey, a huge 9 out of 10 shoppers found live chat to be helpful. What’s more, an eMarketer survey showed that 63% of shoppers were more likely to come back to a website that has a live chat feature.
Live chat options have grown particularly popular among millennials, as a recent survey found 35% of Gen Y look to live chat options. Baby boomers also showed an affinity towards live chat, as 29% said they would use it, particularly in customer service related issues.
We are currently trialing Formilla live chat on some of our sites, and we’ll provide an update and review to let you know how it has worked for us.
2. Provide Offline Customer Care
With so much of our marketing efforts spent online, many people are finding the old fashioned ways of communicating to be refreshing and satisfying. Try phone calls, face-to-face visits and snail mail.
If you have a list of prospects who haven’t purchased yet – why not give them a call?
A couple of years ago we met a business owner who had just bought a flagging tree-lopping company, and the first thing he did was get his team to call all the prospects who had been given quotes in the previous 12 months, and hadn’t gone ahead. They converted a whopping 45% immediately. People hadn’t got around to getting it organized for whatever reason, and were pleased to hear from them.
Same goes for customer calls – get your team to follow up with a call after a purchase to make sure the client is 100% happy, and ask if there’s anything else you can help with. Follow up with a letter of thanks – posted to their address, with a discount off future purchases and an incentivised referral offer. See our Ultimate Trust Pack for further details on the service we provide for our clients and how incredibly effective they have found it to be.
If you need some extra motivation, check out these offline stats:
- The average online lead converts 18.5% of the time. The average offline lead – 40%.
- A short phone call can increase conversion rates by an unbelievable 391%.
- Inbound phone calls are more than 10 times more effective at converting leads into sales than inbound web leads.
- Telephone communication is the most effective way for a customer to solve their problem, with a success rate of 86%.
3. Be active on the right Social Media platforms
Whether you like it or not, social media marketing is here to stay. There are 1.59 billion users on Facebook worldwide, and 15 million Australian users. It’s no wonder 60% of businesses have a Facebook page.
Facebook is arguably the most important social media platform. Online shoppers often go straight to a company’s social media accounts before making a purchase and look at photos, reviews and comments; and check out the brand’s ‘voice’ or ‘personality’. If they like what they see, they will ‘like’ or ‘follow’ the page. Their ‘friends’ will see that they have taken this action, giving your page exposure to a whole new audience.
Many small businesses are finding success with Facebook ads. These can be a very effective method of building an email list, or generating leads or sales, if done properly. You need to know about audiences, pixels, campaign objectives, bid types etc and get creative with ads and headlines and copy. It can be expensive if you don't monitor it closely at the beginning and keep testing and tweaking to improve results and lower costs.
Instagram is also an important platform. 48.8% of brands are on Instagram and this is predicted to rise to 70.7% in 2017. Engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter. So if you sell products or services that are suitable for photographing - you might find Instagram a worthwhile platform, particularly if you catch the attention of influencers.
For B2B marketing – we recommend LinkedIn. Recent stats released by LinkedIn reveal that 46% of social media traffic coming to company sites comes from LinkedIn and that 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn.
Using LinkedIn effectively involves:
- setting up your profile correctly and in an engaging way - it shouldn't just be a resume of experience
- actively seeking out targeted prospects and connecting with them using a customised personal message
- adding updates and long form posts regularly to engage with your connections
- networking in a helpful (non-salesy) manner
4. Whip the phone out and create some Videos
Video is taking over digital marketing at a rapid pace. So why should you jump on the video bandwagon in 2017?
- Cisco has predicted that globally by 2019, consumer internet video traffic will account for 80 percent of all consumer internet traffic
- 65%of marketers plan to incorporate more video in their next ad budget, and 22% of small business plan to use video for marketing purposes in the next 12 months.
- According to Hubspot video in emails more than doubles click-through rate, landing pages with video up the conversion rate by 80% and consumers who watch a video about a product are 64% more likely to buy it.
- We’ve seen a big increase in the number of businesses using the Facebook live feature. However whilst this can be a worthwhile tactic, the engagement is short-lived. We recommend adding video to your youtube channel and sharing it on your website and through social media, as you “own” the asset and can use it over and over again on many platforms.
There are so many ways you can use video effectively. You don't necessarily have to purchase an expensive camera or hire a professional production studio. You just need to be interesting, provide great value - eg: show people how to do something, educate, inspire etc - and be yourself. Always end with a call to action.
5. Be Consistent
If you want to get real results out of your marketing - publishing blog posts, social media updates and monthly newsletters every now and again just won’t cut it. You must be consistent.
- Ideally, you should update your social media pages at least once per day. If you don’t post often, you probably won’t be top of mind when they need your service. To make this a little easier, try scheduling tools such as Buffer or Hootsuite.
- As for blogposts, aim for at least two per month. According to Hubspot, businesses that publish one or two blog posts each and every month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.
- With emails – your customers need to be hearing from you at least once a month, if not more regularly. Your emails should be planned with the right mix of helpfulness and offers.
Above all - your messaging should be consistent across every communication type - updates, posts, emails, videos, offline marketing. Don't think you need to talk on 50 different topics. This can be confusing for people if you're suddenly an expert on everything. Stick to your core area of expertise and create content that is interesting and of value to your target audience.
And sure, we know that developing content can be challenging, especially when your time is taken up with the day-to-day tasks of growing and running your business. This is where we can help. We provide content creation and distribution services for many of our clients to help drive traffic and generate more leads. Contact us if you'd like more details of this time saving service.
6. Track and Measure Everything
"If you’re not measuring, you’re not marketing."
Make this quote your mantra for 2017, because if you fail to measure the success of your marketing campaigns, your results will never improve.
Some key statistics to pay attention to include:
- Click-through rate. Whether you’re running an ad on Facebook or sending out an email marketing campaign, you want to know how many people clicked through to your website. If it wasn't many, then your marketing message (or the offer) needs improving. Or maybe you're targetting the wrong people.
- Conversion rate. Conversion rate refers to the percent of people who saw your ad, read your blog post, opened your email, etc, and took the desired action (such as made an enquiry, subscribed to your email newsletter, purchased from you, etc). If your conversion rate isn't high enough, then your offer or your Call to Action needs some work. Testing various formats is the only way to find out what people respond to.
- ROI (return on investment). This measurement tracks how much you spent and how much you made. If you don’t know what your ROI is on every campaign, you’re definitely losing money, because some things will be working, and others won’t be. The things which may be working could very well be offline activities – so you need to be measuring those as well.
Download our four free 2017 Marketing Templates and plan your year so it becomes a big one. The FREE templates include our Timeline Template and Content Planning and Promotions Templates to plan activities for every month of the year, and our Engagement Tracking Template so you can track results of your post promotions.
Your marketing needs to keep evolving, just like people’s needs keep changing and new technology and marketing platforms keep emerging. If you don’t try different things, you will never know if you could be achieving double, even triple what you're doing now.
The key is to try strategies and tactics that are most appropriate for your target market. There's a lot more we could have published here, but it would have been a ridiculously long post, so we've stuck to the basics and will go into further detail and other strategies in future posts.
The thing is, try a couple of these "trends" (at least 3 of them) and do them properly. Once you’ve reached a consistent level of results, keep the best thing going – make it your control – and try something new. Keep testing and measuring and eliminate what is failing. Don't just keep doing the same old thing and hoping you'll get different results. You won't.
Want Some Help?
If you need help with planning and implementing any of these recommendations, don’t hesitate to get in contact. Click here to book a free 15 minute marketing or complete the Need Some Help form in the sidebar at the top of this page and we'll get back to you.