Bess Batterham Team : Web Operations Tags : Online Marketing

It's back-to-basics for online marketing tactics.

Bess Batterham Team : Web Operations Tags : Online Marketing

Marketingsherpa Blog, looking back on the year that’s been, has asked marketers to send in the ideas and wisdom they gained in 2011 in order to better plan for the coming year. 

It will be their 10th annual collection of anecdotes, ideas, test results and inspiration from marketers and available in January for free to all MarketingSherpa and HubSpot readers and customers. 

It was back-to-basics in the 2010 Marketingsherpa Blog wisdom report and reiteration that the most fundamental marketing practices helped marketers achieve success in a time of uncertain economy. 

The 2010 addition had a prominent common thread, the simple but necessary idea that marketers need to communicate.

From stories of elaborate, innovative social media outreach, to the most basic expression of thanks, it was clear that communication, both internal and external, was the foundation of Marketingsherpa Blog’s readers’ 2010 marketing efforts. 

Below are some of the more memorable ideas from last year’s report.

Email isn’t dead. 

Long lives email marketing. Email is not only alive, but also thriving. This is thanks to prosperity of efforts that enhanced customer reach, engaged and reengaged subscribers, integrated with social media platforms and created seamless user experiences that connected with well-optimised landing pages. 

“We’ve been encouraging our clients to go back to the basics of email marketing – building a list, sending targeted campaigns, and setting up event triggers to automate the email marketing process. We also are reviewing the results of the campaigns with our clients over the phone and showing them hidden areas of potential revenue they might be missing.” - Tim Martinson, Knowledge Marketing

It’s important to remember that as valuable as communication is, you can also have too much communication.  This will have a negative effect on your results burying your business value under a barrage of unnecessary, or even unwanted, information.

Seth Goldin , an American entrepreneur, author and speaker who popularized permission marketing said, “Once you overload the user, you train them not to pay attention. More clutter isn’t free and is a permanent shift, desensitisation to ALL the information, not just the last bit. More is not always better. In fact, more is almost never better.”

Embrace the future but don’t lose hold of the past.

The 2010 responses to the Marketingsherpa Blog wisdom report inspired a mixture of old and new marketing tactics. For every tech-based story highlighting new tools to improve SEO, there was another of marketers who had applied tried-and-true practices, such as a focus on improving content, to new technology.

The year saw how video chat promoted personalised, one-to-one interaction. How mobile platforms increased the likelihood of personal connection with a brand. And, what remained vital to success was the testing and research of new strategies. 

“Marketers need to use the mobile experience to deepen the relationship between the brand and consumer and to connect other multichannel experiences.

If marketers concentrate all their mobile efforts on a branded push, the mobile opportunity is missed. Deliver usefulness and value to your customers by helping them figure out ways to enhance their lives, solve a problem or deliver instant personal engagement that’s relevant to why they know about you in the first place.

Connecting with your customers via mobile is a deep and personal relationship. If you get permission to communicate with them over the mobile channel, you must be ready and able to deliver value.”

- Dave Lawson, Knotice

It’s imperative to continue engaging users once a personal connection is established, this is done through targeted content and segmentation. Your audience may fit under the one large category but within this group there exists an array of interests, backgrounds and needs. 

“As an online marketer who manages an audience base of 4 million and growing, I knew I needed a way to segment my audience and provide specific and targeted online messaging to each unit. A “one size fits all” landing page approach just wasn’t working, but I didn’t have the time or resources to create multiple pages.

To help me, I adopted a landing page management tool, and using its template driven, no‐code interface, I was able to quickly create multiple landing pages for each of my business units. Whereas before I found it tough keeping up with one page, I’m now managing over 500 landing pages! This not only increased my Google quality score but I’m now consistently seeing a 15‐17% conversion rate! That’s something I couldn’t have achieved with one landing page for all 4 million customers.

The bottom line is that there’s no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ in effective online marketing. It’s all about hyper‐personalization!”

- Nicole Bukacek, Infogroup

Social Media is no longer an optional tactic. 

Once a fun way to expand your brand messaging, social media integration is now as vital to the Web experience as embedded links and “back” buttons. 

But, social media must still follow time-honoured marketing practices for it to work. Tactics like audience engagement, strategic campaign planning, and well-targeted valuable content are still necessary for social media to be a successful marketing tool.

It is imperative that you establish a conversation because without strategy or focus, the discussion goes nowhere. 

“When it comes to digital marketing communications, companies are seeing a lot of activity on Facebook and Twitter, and feel they need to be there. They hear about SEO and feel they need to improve their ranking. They read articles about online video and want to start filming.

It’s easy to get caught up in the “everyone else is doing it” excitement, but that’s precisely the time to step back and take a deep breath. Because anyone who stands in front of a room full of business owners and says, “You all absolutely need to be on Facebook and Twitter” is flat‐out wrong.

What is the marketing communications goal of the business? Once this is properly articulated, then Facebook and Twitter may or may not be appropriate tactics for meeting that goal. SEO and video may or may not be tactically relevant.

There are countless tactics that any business can take when it comes to digital marketing communications … but if there’s no strategic thinking underlying those tactics, if time hasn’t been taken to understand the dynamics of the business relative to customers and potential customers, then you’re vastly minimizing your chances of success.”

- Craig Peters, CKPCreative

Back to the future.

Everything old is new again and still incredibly relevant. The still-fragile economic climate forced many marketers to revisit the fundamentals. Good practice is timeless and marketing will always centre on communication and customer engagement. 

“Can you be there for me in the good and bad times?”

This is a question we either get directly or indirectly as an Internet marketing firm that works primarily with small business clients with less than 10 employees. As important as past results are to them, small business owners want to know that their marketing company will treat them like “family.”

Often, they have learned that they’re another number/figure to larger firms. As a smaller firm, our strongest unique selling proposition has been “you can reach the people implementing your campaign via text, phone, email, Twitter, Facebook or any medium you prefer, and we will respond within the same day.”

Although it can be difficult, this has led to 90% retention of all of our clients.”

- Parham Nabatian, Infinite Communications

But, remember that not every new marketing strategy will be of value to your company’s needs.

Every year there’s a new technology or service that garners too much attention from the media, causing marketers to feel the need to jump on board. Groupon has taken centre stage this year and while they do offer a great product and service, it’s not right for all clients. We evaluated it for one client and the financials just didn’t work for them.

You need to stay focused on the business impact, not just how shiny the new metal object is.”

- Peter Plats, Catalyst

Let’s hope that the wisdom you gained in 2011 proves worthy for 2012, and the years to come.