Author: John Rampton

4 Resources for Your Team to Get Up to Speed on Mobile Marketing

The more you know, the more likely you are to succeed at whatever you do. And, that includes mobile marketing. The investment in learning and training will pay off. That's because it will provide a way for you and your team. The result will be better decisions about new technology investment and effective strategic actions that deliver results.

Here are four mobile marketing resources I've found useful but have no affiliation with except that I incorporate them in my own company to enhance our efforts:

1. Research Reports

There is a wealth of information available from research firms that produce annual and quarterly research reports on mobile marketing. Research firms, such as Global Information Inc., Spendedge, Forrester, and others, devote considerable expertise and energy to collecting qualitative and quantitative data. Buying one or more of these reports makes more financial sense than doing all the research ourselves. Many of the mobile marketing reports available for purchase include specific statistics that can inform and guide decision-making around where to invest marketing dollars. The research keeps us current on what consumers think about the mobile environment and aware of new technology. It also provides insights into their mobile behavior and preferences.

2. Swrve

This mobile marketing resource company also provides access to a comprehensive library of past and current materials about mobile marketing. Their collection includes webinars, white papers, and video content to direct your mobile marketing effort even if you don't choose to use their products.

For example, their webinars include measuring customer satisfaction in a mobile world, mobile ROI and the first-time user experience, and how to test and release new mobile features. The focus on video content makes this mobile marketing resource particularly effective. My team finds the videos easy to follow and they retain more. Also, numerous white papers deliver best practices that can be directly implemented.

3. Amazon

Although I enjoy all the digital resources available, I'm still an avid reader. I believe books are a great way to absorb the necessary knowledge and skills. I regularly visit sites like Amazon to find out about the latest mobile marketing books to continue enhancing my education in this area and encourage my team to do the same. Just plugging in the search term, "mobile marketing," reveals over 4,000 books and e-reader content that is readily available.

There are handbooks, textbooks, manuals, and guides from well-known mobile marketing specialists and researchers. Plus, you can focus on one type of mobile marketing or enjoy a wider picture of the mobile environment, including the latest consumer and business trends related to the mobile world. Some books even feature key issues related to mobile marketing and potential ways to solve these challenges for your business.

4. Mobile Marketing Association (MMA)

This is a global non-profit trade association that has over 800 member companies from fifty countries. This is an ideal resource for learning from each other and sharing on-the-job insights. Plus, this collaborative resource environment can help propel the mobile marketing world and drive a higher standard of best practices.  Members include brand marketers, marketing agencies, mobile marketing technology firms, and media companies.

Although this mobile marketing resource does cost money to join, including an annual membership, it does give a considerable return in the form of education, research and insights, events and networking, case studies, programs, tools, and more. The depth of information available to leverage can be particularly useful as it provides a global perspective that is critical to more businesses that want to serve a larger audience.

More Mobile Marketing Resources

However, these four mobile marketing resources are just the start of what you can find to help you and your team improve your mobile marketing strategies. Also, online courses, conferences, trade publications, blogs, social media discussion groups, and forums are other resources to consider that are made to fit your time and budget. I make time each week to study mobile marketing resources so that I can further refine my own mobile marketing strategy and optimize the incredible results that are out there.

Did you know 65% of marketers have no official mobile strategy? Don't let that be you. We have some helpful guides to started.

 

7 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Your Mobile Campaigns

Mobile marketing continues to be a critical strategy as statistics show how much consumers rely on their mobile devices to research, interact, and shop. According to Statista, there are over 3.5 billion unique mobile internet users. And, comScore noted that users spend an average of 69 percent of their media time on smartphones. Lastly, mobile devices will drive 80 percent of global internet usage as reported by Zenith.

With so much opportunity to reach your target audience, mobile marketing tops the marketing strategy list. However, it's not an absolute you will achieve success with your mobile marketing strategy. Many brands have made mobile marketing mistakes like these seven misses:

Mistake #1: Optimizing Landing Pages But Not Mobile Ads

The first mobile marketing mistake is to not apply an optimization strategy to everything you do. While your website, social media content, and landing pages are optimized, there may be an area you forgot. And, that area is where you actually may be investing more money. That is, mobile ads. With the amount of money that goes into purchasing mobile ads, you want to make sure you optimize the content for maximum reach.

For mobile PPC ads, don't forget to optimize your ad copy, including using search ad device targeting. By providing mobile searchers with notification that your mobile site is optimized for iOS or Android, they will happily choose you to shorten their search.

Mistake #2: Mobile Campaign Links to Nowhere

While it seems obvious that you should check every link you use in your mobile campaign, brands often skip this task in the rush to launch. However, by not checking links, you defeat the purpose of your campaign. When users click on the links in your mobile campaign and they get an error message, you've just hurt your conversion rate and tarnished your reputation. Plus, if your competition has done their due diligence on mobile campaign links, then you may have just lost those conversions forever.

Always test your mobile campaigns links for dead pages and correct them before launching your mobile campaign.

Mistake #3: Not Emphasizing Your Mobile App

Often, companies don't promote their mobile app as they could be. Instead, they think that the app's appearance in major app stores is enough. However, these companies are missing out on the opportunity to have more app users by not pitching their apps on mobile web pages, reminding users of the benefits of this app.

In reality, there are already thousands of similar apps in the app stores. No user wants to sift through all of them to find an app. They want the app to come to them and make it easy to download and use.

By adding the app to your mobile landing pages and then having it link directly to where users can download it, you'll be able to get more traction from your app investment while adding more brand value for the customer.

Mistake #4: Making it Complicated to Opt-In

Everything about what you do on mobile has to be as easy as possible for the audience, but many companies still complicate things such as the opt-in process. At one point, the answer seemed to be to offer QR codes. However, that seems to be a mistake because it's still too complicated. Plus, this strategy assumes that consumers have a QR scanner on their phone or are willing to locate, download, and learn how to use one. Yet, it doesn't mean you have to forego the QR opt-in method.

Instead, keep the opt-in process simple for users. Offer an SMS opt-in as well as the QR one so that consumers have a choice for what they would like to use.

Mistake #5: Not Providing Enough Information

There is a false assumption among some companies that mobile marketing means limited content. Therefore, these companies tend to leave out critical information that customers are looking for when interacting with mobile platforms. This missing information includes specific direction on how to participate in a program or campaign event.

Don't forget to give the customer every incentive to participate. Give them social media buttons, links to landing pages, and even in-store signage with offline options to join in on what you want them to do. Additionally, make sure that the call to action clearly explains the value to the customer. That way, they understand the incentive for acting on what you are telling them to do.

Mistake #6: Not Creating an Omnichannel Experience

Many companies are still putting their mobile marketing efforts in a silo. By doing so, they are losing opportunities to deepen the interaction and connection with customers and prospects. This can also mean lost conversions for those customers that may choose to take a unique journey to reach their purchase decision. When you put mobile marketing all by itself, there may be customers that don't want to close the deal on that channel. Instead, they may want to continue the journey on another channel.

Keep the conversation going by creating an omnichannel experience rather than just a mobile experience. Learn how to move traffic between your various touch points, including knowing what to say to influence their continued journey with your brand. Personalized messaging and easy access to the touch points can enhance this omnichannel experience.

Mistake #7: Ignoring Privacy and Data Regulations

Most of the mistakes related to compliance with privacy and data are by accident rather than disregard. This is because the laws are continually changing in terms of data, privacy, and security. Companies do not regularly review current laws related to mobile marketing tactics, such as email, unsolicited texts, and data storage. You don't want to incur fines and penalties. Also, it would be challenging to face a tarnished brand. It will take a long time for a company to recover from their lack of knowledge and respect for the mobile regulatory environment.

Instead, take the time to continually review the current regulations related to the information you can collect. This will effectively shape how you can interact with customers and prospects on this channel. This builds trust with your target audience, which is so important to today's omnichannel presence.

5 Key Skills Your Team Needs to Nail Cross-Channel Marketing

The cross-channel marketing model has been in effect for many years, but it continues to evolve as an art and science. That evolution requires an ever-expanding skill set for the talent you add to the team. To identify talent or determine what type of skills development to invest in, here are some of the key skills for succeeding at cross-channel marketing:

Video Production

It's important to develop skills in video production. It has become such a popular form of content across channels. For example, audiences like to watch videos on social media, websites, and even through emails. Sure, you could outsource this task or hire a production company. However, it's better to add this to the internal team's skill set as a competitive advantage. Also, it provides a way to add videos at any point that an opportunity arises. This includes participation in conferences, community events, or special campaigns.

Acquiring skill means developing an understanding of video software, social media video tools such as Facebook Live, and other technical capabilities associated with video production including editing and sound. A good place to start is online technical training courses offered through organizations like Udemy.

Paid Search and Social Media

There are opportunities across search and social media to reach a targeted audience. Yet, there's a lack of understanding of how to do it to achieve the maximum ROI.

Therefore, it helps to add this skill to your marketing team's toolbox. This means learning how to leverage Google AdWords and Bing for paid search opportunities. The results of this know-how can drive more traffic to your website. It can also provide insights on how to improve SEO and your overall content strategy.

The same goes for sponsored content and social media ads on Facebook and Instagram. Include a team member who has experience beyond organic social media, someone who can use these social media advertising tools effectively in conjunction with your other channel tactics.

Content Strategy and Development

While you can hire freelance writers to produce content, they may not have the acumen to truly understand how to craft content or develop the topics that work effectively for your audience. That's why it helps to have team members who are highly skilled in content development. They know how to conduct the research. Then, these content experts can apply existing insights to create a content calendar that delivers the most relevant and engaging content.

Plus, they understand how to leverage different tools to enhance the content development process. This includes content management systems (CMS) and tools such as BuzzSumo that reveal trending topics. This skill should include knowledge of how to take content and repurpose it into specific content vehicles. These vehicles include infographics, infomercials, podcasts, social media posts, and video scripts. Additionally, knowing where to distribute the content, including the appropriate syndication outlets, adds value.

Analytics

One of the biggest challenges is measuring results in cross-marketing channel campaigns. This is because using a combination of channels means that each channel has some impact on the results. But, in what measure? And, how do you know which channel to emphasize and when to get the greatest results?

Therefore, having a team that can leverage analytics tools and understands the insights they deliver is one of the greatest assets. This skill determines the combination, frequency, and timing for all marketing tactics across channels. From there, the team can refine content messaging. This skill requires learning how to use Google Analytics and similar programs. Also, it includes the ability to create various reports from the available data. Finally, a team member skilled in analytics can explain how to apply the findings to specific strategic goals and tactics.

Programming

Although not as critical, being well versed in coding can propel a marketing team member's value far above everyone else. This is because it's a skill that can address the marketing department's need to personalize and customize its tactics for a diverse audience.

For example, someone who knows how to program can localize a landing page based on the incoming IP address of a website visitor. This means the landing page could have content that reflects a particular city where that visitor is from as well as offer specific promotions to them versus someone visiting from another city where you do business. Additionally, programming skills may be valuable for APIs that further customize marketing efforts as well as for adding chatbots or apps.

What Key Metrics Should Inform Your Cross-Channel Marketing?

 

 

Knowing what to track in your marketing can help shape your future tactics. Today's marketing success comes from the ability to make the right improvements at the right time. This sounds fairly straightforward. However, with the increased number of metrics available, it can be difficult to know which to incorporate in your cross-channel marketing strategy. Plus, not every metric is meaningful to what you’re trying to achieve for your business or audience.Not every metric is meaningful to what you’re trying to achieve for your business. How do you choose what to focus on?

Therefore, consider key metrics that include channel approaches and an integrated framework. Here is one way to approach analytics for each channel in your marketing strategy:

Website Channel Metrics

Your website has the power to inform, engage, and, most importantly, influence purchase decisions. With your other channels, you’re trying to direct prospects to your website. Hence, it's important that they stay after all the effort you put in on the other channels to get them there.

Site speed significantly impacts the user experience. It determines if customers decide to stay or turn to your competition. Also, review each visitor's session duration. This indicates their level of engagement. Heat maps assess where each visitor spends the most time, what pages they like best, and what page they were on before they bought something or left your website. When and where they leave can indicate where you need to improve content or website navigation.

Social Media Channel Metrics

Whether you’re participating in social media ads or just generating your own social media content, this channel needs to be assessed for engagement and influence. Your posts influence if followers take the next step to buy from you. To get more companies to advertise and spend their marketing dollars on social media, the major social platforms offer all type of analytics.

These tools track these metrics without having to learn or pay for additional tools. This adds to the value of investing in the promotional features on these social media sites.

Email Marketing Channel Metrics

Since email continues to be a results-driven marketing channel, it's important to measure certain metrics for email campaigns. Look at how many subscribers are added as a result of each campaign. This tells you if the content was compelling enough to peak their interest on future content you may share.

Additionally, you can find out how many recipients opened the email and followed through based on the call to action. Of course, knowing how many unsubscribe is also good. It's a sign you’re not connecting with certain people. Understanding why can direct how you alter future email campaigns.

Integrated Channel Metrics

While these metrics are all a key part of your overall cross-channel marketing effort, the reality is that today's audiences are influenced by numerous channels and don’t necessarily have a pattern or habit for which channel they prefer or feel influences them the most. After all, this is why you’re crossing channels in your marketing efforts to reach more people. Therefore, your analytics have to do the same in terms of following an integrated customer journey that determines how different channels work together to convince their target audience.

Examining metrics in an integrated way identifies cross-channel synergies that increase influence and, in return, ROI. Therefore, integrated analytics can reveal how much each tactic and channel contribute to conversions. This also points to what combination wields the greatest influence over purchases. There are powerful analytics platforms available that incorporate forecasting algorithms for digital and traditional channels.

Also, machine learning capabilities can identify changing customer behavior that separate metric analysis cannot deliver. Incorporating artificial intelligence will then provide a way to predict traffic and pinpoint the exact time to post content on a particular channel and in what sequence across channels.

Therefore, cross-channel marketing will need to go beyond looking at key metrics and evolve into a model that takes an integrative approach through applying statistics, modeling, machine learning, a range of algorithms, and predictive analytics. Cross-channel marketing becomes more of a whole-business approach when it comes to analysis, bringing together online and offline data from across the organization and the external environment. By doing so, your company can more effectively track and respond to customer behaviors with real-time changes to campaigns across all channels.

Want to read more? Check out our Cross-Channel Fundamentals Guide and Streamline CX Guide here.

 

4 Little Known Ways to Implement Cross-Channel Marketing

It's a great time to be in marketing because there are so many more channels and outlets to reach customers and prospects. Each channel has different expectations and opportunities to connect with your audience.  You need to know which channels mean the most to your specific audience. Plus, it's important to determine how to leverage them effectively and how to use them together to increase return. It's a cross-channel marketing strategy that brings all those components together.

One way of creating and implementing your cross-channel marketing strategy for business success is to use tactics like these:

1. Have One Script, Many Writers

In a choir, everyone sings from the same sheet of music. Yet, it doesn't mean they all contribute the same thing to the overall sound. Use the same approach in your cross-channel marketing. Be consistent in your messaging and theme across channels. However, don't just copy and paste what you had in your blog onto your social media pages and then make it an email, too. This bores your audience. Eventually, they will stop following you on certain channels and you'll lose that engagement.

Instead, a choir features a soprano, alto, and other distinct pitches. This adds depth to the sound while creating harmony. Likewise, your cross-channel marketing effort can use many writers on the team. They can generate multiple dimensions and narratives for your brand message, resonating with different audience members on various channels. This same harmonious result can be achieved where there are not conflicting messages or redundant content.

Use a content calendar to create your overall themes and messaging. Then, assign various team members or freelancer channels so their voice and unique style put a different spin on your storytelling efforts. Consider rotating these writers across channels so that they work on blogs one month and perhaps email marketing the next.

2. Localize Your Efforts

With cross-channel marketing, it's easy to just focus on the broader set of channels that reach across your entire target audience. To change your approach, consider looking at how to localize one or two of those channels. Select those channels where you know your audience might be inclined to use in conjunction with their local errands and needs, such as social media, SMS, and search. Then, you can adapt your content periodically to address local promotions at certain locations while still maintaining an overall promotion strategy.

Likewise, you can consider this strategy if you plan on expanding into international territories and need to address the subtle differences, cultural attributes, and varied languages of these markets. When implementing this type of cross-channel approach, you'll also need to think about how to adapt taglines, product names, slogans, and other types of content for other languages and cultures. Get local talent to help you achieve this to ensure you are not sending a confusing message to this new international audience segment.

3. Integrate Your Data Across Channels

Cross-channel analytics is an integral part of your strategy that’s often not implemented to the depth it should be to create the valuable insights for greater success. Instead, companies tend to leave their analytics in silos related to each channel. Then, they view the data separately for each channel. The better implementation strategy is to synchronize data across all channels. This uncovers how your audience interacts with more than one channel – and sometimes does so simultaneously.

The results from doing so will provide a way to make sure all the customer experiences and interactions you are creating across all the channels – email, social, mobile, web, and more – are relevant and timely for your audience. Also, it's a way to understand the impact and location of referrals. Additionally, analytics can uncover which channel combinations deliver the greatest conversion rates. That will help you optimize your spend on channel strategies such as paid social media, Google ads, and other tactics that may consume more of your budget.

4. Return to Traditional Channels

What has also happened recently is an obsessive focus on digital transformations, which means that traditional marketing channels are now being neglected. In reality, a large part of the millennial demographic prefers these old school marketing methods, especially tactics like direct mail. Determine how your audience might respond to print ads, billboards, television ads, and direct mail.

For example, a direct mail piece to a targeted local area can drive prospects and customers to your physical location. However, if you add a QRC code, they can also use that through their smartphone. This can connect them with your business through a website or social media page. In this way, your call to action is drawing customers to your online or offline presence and influencing their purchase decision. Also, you can use the traditional channel as the introduction to the new campaign. Then, follow that up with a digital rollout on email or social media a few days later. This reinforces the message and catches your audience on different channels at an optimum time.

7 Ways to Future-Proof Your Organization With Data Driven Marketing

The way prospects buy is changing. This truth has been identified by a number of studies. Even without such studies, each of us intuitively understands that our shopping habits have changed and continue to do so. Today, if we are in need of household items, we turn to Amazon. If we want to be entertained, we turn to Netflix. If we want to plan an amazing vacation, we turn to Tripadvisor or Google.

Empirically speaking, buyers research between 1 to 4 hours online before making any purchasing decisions. This was not the case a decade ago when Android did not exist and when the iPhone was just launched. Similarly, in a few years, the buying preferences of your target audience will undoubtedly have changed again.

This article is designed to help marketers prepare their marketing organizations for change. Even though we may not know what those trends will be, there are seven steps that any marketing leader can take to position their organizations for future success.

1. Embrace Data Science

Some of the world’s most successful organizations use a combination of data scientists and marketers to acquire more customers, improve customer retention, and reduce acquisition costs. The term “data science” can be applied to many different aspects of business, from software development to business operations, Marketing teams that embrace the principles of data science will be more successful because of it.

Google Trends GraphThe Google Trends chart above highlights the growing interest among all searchers in regards to data science. When it comes to marketing and data science, mining datasets for customer insights can help organizations find the right answer much faster than by relying on traditional techniques.

Businesses like MailChimp, Uber and Amazon (among countless others) have all embraced data science as a way of uncovering hidden opportunities for many different business units, including marketing. As the VP of Product Management (and previously the Chief Data Science), John Foreman says, “The data science team at MailChimp leads from the back in this way — constantly finding ways to serve other teams and our customers using analytics and data-driven products.” 

2. Create a Growth Team

Marketing teams responsible for fueling demand are essentially helping to grow the business. As a result of this focus, Growth Marketing has become a popular new trend used by companies like Hubspot, Dropbox, and Warby Parker.

Growth marketing teams are usually comprised of an eclectic mix of data-driven professionals. It is typical for growth teams to include a lead marketer who is supported by an engineer, product manager and data scientist.

When thinking about what skills a growth marketer should have, consider the “T” example shown here. The visual shows a “T” shaped skillset where growth marketers are knowledgeable about many different aspects of marketing, while also having deep knowledge about a few key areas related to growth. In this case, search engine optimization and pay per click advertising are key skills for the growth marketer represented by the diagram above.

Creating a growth marketing team will help your marketing organization to drive growth in a scalable and sustainable way, by incorporating growth strategies into many different areas of your business.

3. Measure Every Marketing Channel

The famous management consultant, Peter Drucker coined the phrase, “what gets measured gets managed.” It was true when his book The Effective Executive was published in 1967, and it is true today.

For marketing teams to be successful both today and in the future, it is important that key metrics are measured, tracked, and incorporated into company culture. Team updates should be centered around performance related to KPIs, as should individual performance evaluations.

Unfortunately, some areas of marketing—such as PPC performance or email marketing—are often over-measured while other areas are under-measured. Measurement of new social media platforms is the one facet that marketing teams should focus on, for example. After all, investing in an Instagram analytics platform like Owlmetrics can help your team get the most out of one of the fastest growing social media networks in the world.

4. Successfully Forecast Performance within a Few Percent

Being able to successfully forecast marketing performance is key when working in a data driven organization. Marketing teams that reliably forecast performance will gain trust within the organization, while also helping other teams understand what they should reasonably expect from marketing performance results.

This skill goes hand-in-hand with the idea that business will become increasingly data driven as analytics become more accessible. A great way to begin forecasting is by learning a simple exponential, or a double exponential smoothing model. This analysis takes past performance into account when predicting future performance. A double exponential model is a bit more sophisticated, as it weighs recent performance more heavily, making it perfect for organizations that are scaling quickly.

5. Set Skill Benchmarks for Your Team

The company that created telegraph infrastructure in the United States, now needs talent that is comfortable with computer programming and business intelligence. AT&T developed an expansive employee training program to bring current AT&T employees up to speed. This move allows the company to forgo costly recruiting expenses, while retaining people loyal to the company.

In a recent Harvard Business Review profiling this strategy, “AT&T estimates that, all told, 140,000 employees are actively engaged in acquiring skills for newly created roles.”

It is impossible to know exactly how marketing will change in the coming years. The only thing that is certain is that changes are coming. Businesses can prepare employees for these changes by investing in employee development. In doing so, businesses can avoid expensive recruiting costs, while retaining hard-earned on the job knowledge that can take marketing teams to new heights.

6. Experiment With Chatbots

Over 2 billion people use at least one messaging platform a minimum of once a month. The rise of social messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Kik (among others) is changing the way people communicate with one another and with brands. While in some cases, messaging platforms create marketing challenges because accessing analytics is difficult (which is why messaging platforms are called “dark social”), a few companies are already capitalizing on these new platforms.

Chatbots use either machine learning, or pre-programmed conversation trees that allow users to interact with brands through the messaging platform of their choice. Brands like Sephora and Lyft make it incredibly easy for customers to make purchases from most messaging platforms.

Sephora’s chatbot provides Facebook Messenger users with a free beauty consultation. Depending on how a user interacts with the chatbot, Sephora will recommend specific items based on that user’s needs.

Lyft also created a chatbot that works with Facebook Messenger and Slack. In just a few sentences, anyone can order a ride without even opening their Lyft app. In addition to text based messaging platforms, Lyft also integrates with Amazon Echo, so users can request a ride by voice as well.

Marketing teams of all sizes can get started with chatbots by working with a third-party software like ChattyPeople or Chatleap. Alternatively, they can outsource the work to developers that specialize in building chatbots. Marketing teams that are interested in providing a chatbot experience but would prefer doing so on a company website, can use a tool like Drift to get started.

7. Create an International Marketing Plan

Guess which country had the most people using the Internet last year. If you guessed China, take a moment to congratulate yourself. If you didn’t guess China, take a minute to educate yourself.

Over 700 million Chinese residents, which is 2.5 times more than the number of people in the United States, used the Internet last year. Similarly, over 400 million people in India used the internet last year, which is 1.5 times more than US internet users.

Marketing teams interested in scaling products to become billion dollar companies should realize that a great deal of opportunity exists internationally (regardless of where you are working as you read this article). Localization marketing can help brands access less competitive or more profitable markets while scaling customers.

Trello provides marketers with compelling evidence that highlights the effectiveness of localization marketing. Before being acquired by Atlassian for $425 million, Trello created a team of talented international marketers. These marketers helped the brand to acquire new users in markets like Brazil, Germany, and Spain by tweaking Trello’s strategy to suit local preferences.

Research whether or not a localization strategy can help your business scale more efficiently. If you find that it might be useful, consider building a team of international marketers with knowledge in the region you hope to target.

Conclusion

Marketing is sure to continue evolving as prospects change buying habits and uncover new pinpoints. For marketing teams to be prepared, it is important to focus on hiring individuals with data-driven expertise.

Businesses should invest in analytics platforms, and should ensure that marketing teams are capable of successfully forecasting performance. In order to truly prepare for the future, it is also a good idea to create some sort of training program to update current employees on the latest best practices.

What else should your business be investing in to empower the marketing team? Download the Marketer's Backpack to find out what questions and insights marketers should be pursuing in order to make the most of your marketing strategy.

Marketers Backpack

Geolocation-Based Marketing in 2017: The Impact on Businesses

The ongoing use of mobile devices by consumers means that companies have a much better way of tracking where their customers are going. Knowing where they are thanks to geolocation technology means that a new marketing opportunity has emerged that can maximize the return you invest in marketing. Now, companies can leverage geolocation-based marketing to reach out with personalized, local messaging, promotions, and other strategies designed to raise leads and encourage impulse purchases.

A New Language

The marketing language has changed with the introduction of geolocation. First, there is geosocial networking. Consumers commonly use this to check in from their current location on social media sites like Facebook or Foursquare. Second, there are location-based services. Consumers leverage this service to learn what is nearby like a restaurant, shop, or gas station. Also, marketers can offer promotions or messages at just the right time. That's because they have each mobile device's geographic position.

Then, there is what's known as geofencing. This is a marketing tactic that involves putting a virtual perimeter out there. When people enter that with their mobile devices, they then receive specific alerts, messages, or promotions.

Who is Using Geolocation-Based Marketing?

The Location Based Marketing Association generated an infographic from research conducted by The Pew Center that illustrated just how widespread this type of marketing has become due to the increased use of mobile and social location services among consumers. Their findings included the fact that 58% of adults with smartphones have used location-based services while 55% of these have used it for directions or recommendations.

With the majority of adults now using smartphones, there is the potential that more people of all ages and backgrounds will adopt some type of location service or feature. Companies and consumers all over the world use geolocation services. Therefore, this means more opportunities for marketers.

Geolocation: An Evolving Marketing Process

It is also important to understand how technology furthers geolocation services. Sensors are an integral component. This includes Bluetooth Low Energy beacons, microchips, and sensors and microchips that power near-field communications (NFC). It's this technology that also enables mobile payments. There are also geofences, which incorporate technology like GPS, WiFi, electromagnetic fields or RFID.

Beyond technology, marketers still have to be aware of other factors if they want the technology to be effective. That means understanding where your customers are coming from and where they are headed. You'll also need to figure out what gets their attention and admiration. All the technology in the world identifying where a customer does not matter unless the marketer has the context for the various types of experiences that customers go through, it won't yield results. As the technology evolves, a marketer must still be that human point of context that can integrate that very necessary perspective about behavior and customer expectations. An Immediate Impact

The real impact is in the benefits that this marketing strategy is providing to companies of all sizes and across multiple industries. Here are some of the key ways you can gain an advantage quickly:

  • Social media sites offer location-based searches that allow you to find prospects by city, region, or country. This is ideal when you have a physical location and want to draw customers to your business. Targeted marketing messages are sent to these prospects. These include a special or promotion as an incentive.
  • You can receive an alert when customers are in a certain area. This allows you to interact with them. Customers like to know that you are interested in what they are doing. This can quickly increase the engagement level with them, especially if you can tie some reward to it. When they are walking into your store, use a geolocation alert you and send them a greeting with timed promotions or a coupon to increase the chances of them buying while there. Even beyond a purchase then, it can also encourage them to come back again in the future.
Long-Term Benefits Then, there are advantages that can be achieved over time:
  • While the ability to incite impulse decisions is a great benefit, the results don't have to always be immediate to get your ROI. For example, the geolocation data leads to a profile of buying habits. This profile shapes future marketing campaigns. This profile can also include dates so that you know when to follow-up with certain customers. An analytics platform assists with developing this profile.
  • Other information that comes from the geolocation data an tell you where they went in your store and how long they stayed. This also can impact other marketing endeavors, including store layout, in-store promotions, and product placement. This approach improves their experience. 
Things to Remember

When it comes to geolocation-based marketing, you still must proceed with caution. While customers like the engagement and attention, they are also very concerned about their privacy and maintaining some distance. That means finding the right balance between respecting those boundaries and taking the available data to do something that enhances customer experiences. A best practice is to use an opt-in arrangement for location-based services. That way, users can choose to agree with this sharing or not. For those that do connect with your business this way, you can target even more precisely as well as engage in new and exciting ways. It also delivers a win-win for a sustained relationship.

When you can personalize the customer experience across channels, you can provide a unique experience that increases customer loyalty and satisfaction. But in order to do that successfully, you'll need to know how. Download the Personalization Playbook for more information on how to make it happen.

Personalization Playbook

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5 Things About Email Marketing Your Boss Will Want To Know

An email marketing strategy always needs approval from the boss to ensure it is in line with the company's overall strategy, delivers on key objectives, and fits the marketing budget. While these are the obvious factors you have to address, there are some other key things that your boss will want to know about the email marketing campaign you have planned, so be ready to talk about the following five critical things:

1. The Audience is Correct

Nearly a third of all contacts on your email contact list or database will change every year in terms of their interest and contact information, so your boss will want to know how you ensured that the current email list is accurate. After all, resources are limited and should not be wasted on sending emails to the wrong person or email address. At the same time, your boss will also want to see that the list is growing with the best targets for what you offer.

To ensure your boss that your email marketing list is accurate and growing, you need to create frictionless signup opportunities through all channels so it's easy to join the list of prospects. This means keeping the signup form basic with just the minimal information you need to contact them with an email marketing campaign. You can also consider incentivizing them with a discount or something else that will convince them to sign up.

Consider using automated contact update software that integrates with your contact list so that if there is a change of information or if someone unsubscribes then this information is automatically updated. MailChimp, Zapier, and Constant Contact are three examples of automation tools for ensuring a current email subscriber list.

2. The Format is Engaging

Your boss will want to know how the email marketing format you selected will truly engage your audience, so be prepared to offer the rationale. This may involve explaining why you have chosen a certain email format for the email campaign, including the need to create an authentic, trustworthy message for recipients in light of fake email marketing campaigns some retailers have experienced.

The format needs to be easy to read on all devices as well as intuitive so it knows what device the recipient is using to read the email. You will also want the email marketing to reflect a consistent look, feel, and message to the rest of your marketing communications.

Other formatting aspects are important to note in case your boss is not sure why you are using these, including white space, text size, balance in color selection, and a CTA button for your call to action. You will also need to consider optimizing the email for those who might be viewing it with images turned off. While the use of images is typically one of the most engaging factors in an email, not everyone prefers to view them. If that's the case, your email marketing content is what will need to engage these audience members.

3. The Content is Optimized and Segmented

While you are not optimizing the content for a search engine, your boss needs to know how you are creating the content in a way that works specifically for inbox delivery and the expectations of your segmented audience. To help your boss understand how you will achieve optimization and segmentation, you will need to provide specific examples that show how various forms of content and types of mediums you are sharing with your email audience looks. For example, your content will be different for an email campaign that shares new video content than it would with a white paper. The former may require an embedded clip while the latter might benefit from static visuals or charts.

Just like optimizing content for search engines, illustrate to your boss how you have addressed the details of an email that can also impact upon conversion rates, including the subject line, headlines in the content, preheader text, and the call to action (CTA) content. For example, an iPhone will only show 32 characters of a subject line so make sure those characters count. You'll also want to point out how you have personalized and segmented the email list and accompany email content for those groups to illustrate that you realize the value of doing this over just sending out the same content to everyone.

Explain to your boss how you have personalized and segmented the email list and accompany email content for those groups to illustrate that you realize the value of doing this over just sending out the same content to everyone. This segmentation can be done by age, location, purchase behavior, or place in the customer lifecycle. Just ensure that you have reasons as to why you have segmented the list this way and how the relevant content has been optimized for the needs and interests of that particular segment. Be sure to mention how you have optimized the timing and frequency of the email campaigns according to the segmentation that you developed.

4. The Campaign is Linked to the Rest of the Marketing Strategy

Your boss will always want to know how what you are doing within the email marketing campaign relates to the bigger picture of the overall marketing strategy. Your cross-marketing efforts are vital to your company's leadership because they have to ensure that all the marketing tactics are working together to create a greater return on the investment that's being made.

You'll want to work with other members of your marketing team to see what they are doing, when they are doing it, and through what channel to see if you can coordinate efforts. You don't want to send out an email marketing campaign when every other channel has the same information being broadcast. It's better to spread out the messaging across channels at a designated time to create a flow rather than a flood.

5. The Program is Using Specific Metrics to Prove the Return

Be prepared to give your boss specific metrics that illustrate how the email marketing program has delivered on its goals and provided good return on investment. The best metrics to focus on for email marketing campaigns include clickthrough rate to see how many recipients clicked on a link within that email; the conversion rate that shows how many recipients clicked on a link and completed a specific action like buying a product or filling in a form; and the bounce rate to see how many emails did not make it to the intended inbox.

Other email marketing metrics that are good to share with your boss include email list growth, email sharing/forwarding rate, and the overall return on investment. All of these email marketing metrics deliver a picture of the effectiveness of the campaign and the ability to engage with recipients in a way that delivers on how many marketing dollars were spent to achieve those results.

Deliver the Goods

This information delivered to the boss can help you continue to get approval to generate more email marketing campaigns because you have proven your worth in developing and executing marketing tactics that engage and convert.

For a more detailed approach to prove the value of your email marketing campaign, verify that you're following all the steps in the Email Deliverability Modern Marketing Guide. It's free and available now! 

Email Deliverability Modern Marketing Guide

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How to Build a Social-First Thought Leadership Program

Thought leadership is a strategy that can lead directly to brand equity enhancement and offers an incredible return for the time and effort that you put into developing this program. While you would like to think that you could pour some water on your thought leadership tactics and they instantly bloom, that's not how this works.

My own thought leadership program has grown over time, which is what you should expect yours to do if you build it strategically and continually manage its development. In implementing it over social media platforms, it's gained additional momentum, thanks to influencers who share the content I've produced. Once your program is launched and getting traction, you will need to continue overseeing it, but it will pay you big dividends in return.

Here's a framework to build your own social-first thought leadership program, which delivers relevant, valuable, and insightful content that answers the questions that your audience is pondering as well as provides actionable solutions for issues that they are facing.

Study Your Audience

This tactic takes considerable time because you want to ensure that you know who they are, what they are asking and seeking, and how they want to engage with brands to get that assistance. Learn when and where they are having online conversations and sharing with their social circles in a public environment. Study your findings, particularly looking at how they respond. Also, pay attention to their values to see where you can align yourself based on your own belief system.

By arming yourself with this audience intelligence, you can figure out how to deliver the best answers as well as approach them with that information at just the right time. How do you determine the right time? Note when they are holding conversations, including the day and time they frequent specific social platforms.

Identify the Social Platforms for Conversations

Go where your audience is spending their time. However, if you are not sure about all of these social platforms and how they work, start with just those that you can already navigate.

Save the new social platforms for research before you announce your presence there. You want to make sure you do it right because there aren't any "do-overs" when it comes to social media. And, you don't want to blow it when it comes to trying to win their trust.

Craft Your Unique Thought Leadership Story

To stand out within your industry and even business segment, there has to be something memorable about you that people will be drawn to. Think about your strengths and what makes you the entrepreneur that you've become. How can what has shaped your evolution help your audience?

Or, what is it about your personality can you leverage to engage with others? For some, it's being completely transparent about their past and current startup experiences. Others may feel comfortable using their sense of humor to enhance what they are sharing to connect with the audience. Charisma, passion, and excitement on your part are definite musts when it comes to audience engagement.

As part of your leadership story development, research what topics related to your brand appear in your online search results. These topics will then shape the story you create on these social platforms.

Understand and Address Your Limitations

Just because you know a lot about a particular subject doesn't mean you know everything about it or other topics. Define the areas that you know and, if you want to know more, add talent to the team who can be your eyes and ears to extend that thought leadership library of subject matter.

You may also be limited in terms of the amount of time you can invest in creating the content. It's okay to bring in ghostwriters who can craft the best content that matches your voice from existing content so that they can "take over" to continue regularly publishing similar content that keeps the conversations going with your audience.

Uncover Unique and Relevant Content Types

When studying your audience, determine how various segments use social platforms to get to the content types that they are most interested in. If that's a silly video, live stream format, listicle or a combination, focus on delivering the content in their preferred way. This can simultaneously speed and deepen the engagement level.

Always use facts, statistics, and quotes to add leadership credibility to the content you are supplying. You can also consider curating content from other sources to further the belief that you are an expert in this subject area. The ability to know what everyone else is saying and apply your own perspective is one strategy that has really worked for me in boosting thought leadership.

Leverage Offline Opportunities to Enhance Online Awareness

You might be wondering what offline presence has to do with your social-first thought leadership strategy, but it is an important tactic that builds momentum for you. By looking for speaking engagements at conferences, trade shows, seminars and networking events, you are adding to the persona you are building online.

These offline opportunities can also be shared across your social platforms to illustrate your focus on developing personal relationships with your audience by also meeting with them, face-to-face. When you do have these meet and greets, you also get more insights into what your audience needs, which continue to feed you with the content themes to pursue.

Don't Sell

Whatever you do, steer clear of sounding like a salesman. Thought leadership doesn't involve a hard or a soft sell. Instead, it's just about providing education and specific information. It's through this assistance that you establish trust and credibility that can motivate your audience to delve deeper into what you offer and decide for themselves if they want to buy your product or service.

The need to reach most audiences through mobile has been written about again and again. If you sense the need to brush up on your mobile testing expertise, check out the Mobile Testing Guide. It's free and provides the best advice from thought leaders and experienced mobile marketers.

Mobile Testing Guide

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