Last year I listed 7 channels that should have been seriously considered when creating your 2012/13 Marketing plan. They were;

  • paid search
  • natural search
  • email
  • affiliate marketing
  • social marketing
  • re-targeting
  • SMS/mobile

You can read the full post here – 2012/13 marketing plan – a solid base

We are now well into 2013 & I’ve taken a look at what else you should be considering. Last year’s plan is still valid of course but with Marketing changing so rapidly there is always some new tactics to consider & test.

Results based marketing

Just before I launch into these, I read a piece last week where research company Forrester was suggesting that 2013 would be the year digital marketing would in fact just be called marketing. Here’s the full report.

Couldn’t agree more. The idea of a separate digital team within a marketing department in my view just hindered integration. Any senior marketer who doesn’t understand the digital channel is going to find it very hard to compete in today’s market. Yes have specialists but we’ve always had these.

It’s the marketing director’s job to understand the business, create the strategy & apply the best balance of channels (tactics & specialists) to exploit ‘their’ market.

So what else should be in your 2013/14 Marketing Plan? Here’s my top 6; 

Data & Software

Nothing new here. Knowledge is power, it just that current technology has enabled anyone to measure virtually everything.

Each business will have a different balance of channels to reach their audiences but now there is no excuse for not examining the data to define profitable strategies.

A business should be able to track their customers & potential customers, see what they want from the business & respond accordingly

More Mobile

Tablets & smartphones continue to grow at an increasing pace – my mother in law has just bought her first iPad at the age of 81!

Some businesses I work with now have 20%-30% mobile traffic. It’s therefore critical marketers take the opportunity to reach mobile customers with an experience that matches their device & searching environment (on the train, at the coffee shop, on the couch).

I’d go further & suggest a company’s main website will also need to reflect the changing way customers want to search for and interact with brands. Once you’ve experienced a great mobile site or mobile optimised email, navigating a long winded website is often frustrating

More pictures

A picture paints….!

Better to say it with a great image. Just make sure it is well described & tagged. Remember Google is a bat – see my post on Google is a Bat! for tips on making sure Google can see your pictures.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest are all making images central to their offering

More Content

PR, Content Marketing, Social, call it what you will but getting your message online is the objective.

Today there are many tools that will help you create your own content & distribute it online. The tricky bit is coming up with a strategy of what to say! Back to the marketing director’s role of understanding the ‘market buyers’, setting the plan, outlining the ‘news’ that your audiences will find interesting, marshalling the specialists & measuring the result

Google AdWords

The vast majority of internet journeys start on Google. It’s today’s Yellow Pages. Therefore you should have an Adword campaign. Even a small monthly budget of £100 properly researched & managed will give a fast return.

More Social

Think of social media (Twitter & Facebook to start with) as a way to;

  1. improve your online visibility (search)
  2. talk directly to your audiences (crowd source ideas, customer feedback etc) and
  3. share content both visual & written.

When viewed like this it’s a given you should be using social media. Just make sure you have some guides on what you are sharing.


If you would like some help with setting up, reviewing or implementing your marketing to build results, please get in touch.

The was a time when a well crafted ad, placed in the correct environment was the way. However marketing has changed.

Customers are much less interested in messages that are pushed to them. They want to discover new & interesting things for themselves & then show their friends how clever they are at unearthing a great deal or recommending a winner.

Get inside your customer’s head

All you have to do is make it easy for them to ‘find’ your offering & share it!

The link between Google & social networks has never been more important. A friend highlights a great ‘new thing’, you start by searching it then maybe look for recommendations on social networks before sharing it with your friends. But here’s the critical point it will only get shared if it’s either very bad, which of course you want to avoid, or it makes the sharer look good. 

The best content is not only a good read & easy to comment on but it is also easy to share & gain some kudos in doing so.

Here’s some tips on how to improve your content;

  • Pictures are better than words: video, photos, infographics etc
  • Add share options to everything
  • Tell  the story behind your product
  • 140 characters is a good target: customers are used to short text
  • Be funny, approachable, honest & credible
  • Seek feedback, what do people think?
  • Will your content impart some credibility to your customer?
  • Only the best deals will do
  • Don’t forget the keywords & remember to research the results

Twitter have created a helpful  video to give you a few tips on how to improve your Twitter profile.

There are tips on profile pics and the new header photos that Twitter introduced earlier this year. As well as doing these on your desktop PC you can also make these changes on the go via your mobile phone.

BTW if you want to embed YouTube video’s in your blog, just click the Embed button under the video, select your player size & copy/paste the iframe code into your post.

 

We can all see that digital marketing is evolving at an ever increasing pace – a website that looked fresh just a couple of years ago, now looks old and outdated.

A redesign can be the answer but here is where you must balance form and function. A gorgeous looking new site can also wipe out all your hard earned site traffic.

Better search results through design

Here are 10 top tips from searchenginewatch.com together with some of my suggestions,  if you are considering a design update of your website;

  1. Don’t just use designers. Get a team together that includes a search specialist, a customer specialist, a developer and someone who can bring the whole project together and keep it on track. A fresh look and functionality with SEO in mind is always the best solution.
  2. Google loves speed. Use the redesign as an opportunity to re-code and condense. As well as upsetting Google, a slow site annoys users.
  3. Don’t delete or duplicate. Build your new site away from the eyes of the search engines and employ permanent redirects (called 301’s) for your old pages/URLs
  4. Don’t let Google see what it shouldn’t. Identify which pages shouldn’t be checked by the search engines e.g. login pages
  5. Tracking. Ensure your Google Analytics code is in your new site before it goes live
  6. Check the flow. Is the content hierarchy still relevant? If not simplify through a good folder structure
  7. Page URL’s. Relevant, keyword-rich text in page names without the filename extensions is the way forward. Don’t forget the 301’s from your old URL though!
  8. W3C/Section 508/Code Validation. Safe to say you should ensure your new site adheres to these compliance requirements. Raise the question during the early planning stages.
  9. Usability. Aim to shorten the number of clicks/steps a visitors needs to make to reach a goal or purchase
  10. Benchmark your old site. It might look better but without some comparative measures and statistics versus your old site you won’t be able to make improvements or indeed prove it was all worthwhile.

Avoid the mistakes and make the best of the opportunities a redesign presents and you should end up with a better looking site that also performs better!

 

Back in the spring, I wrote a piece about being Too old for digital. My suggestion was that the traditional rules of marketing still apply in today’s digital world even if the channels & strategies are different.

I listed the 12 P’s of marketing with product and price in their traditional first two slots. However as product and price converge perhaps some of the other P’s, summarized as a good sales experience, should move up the list?

Sales experience is more important that price and product

Just to survive you must have a good product competitively priced. Your benefits list is likely to be similar to your competition and your price within a range. This gets you on the buyers consideration list, so what do you need to offer to win the sale?

McKinsey reported that customers want good products at fair prices but above all, a good sales experience.

This good experience might include;

  • a comparison of how your product compares to the market
  • just enough communication to feel wanted and informed
  • a recognition of where on the purchase journey a customer is, how much information they have already gathered  and what they now need to move towards a sale
  • an understanding of how sophisticated the customer is and the ability to adapt accordingly
  • a summary of how your product will improve a customer’s business and answer its challenges

Product and price will often but held up by the poor sales executive as the excuse for a lost sale. Improving both is usually costly and time consuming but essential if you are not in the market range.

Improving a customer’s experience on the other hand can be achieved quickly and at a relatively low cost. The results are often customers who are less price driven and easier to negotiate with because they enjoy buying from you!

A few months ago I mentioned pulling together 100 Content Marketing Ideas – here’s the previous post where I mention it  7 Steps to Feeding the Sales Funnel

Well I’ve been jotting down ideas as I’ve read various articles & other posts & I’m glad to report the eBook is now finished!

Content marketing ideas

You can request a copy of this free 23 page eBook by simply filling out  this request form on our website.

We will then send you;

  • a PDF of the eBook
  • an offer of a free 1 hour sales & marketing consultation
  • a follow up framework marketing plan
  • an outline proposal to help you implement the marketing plan

You might want to also take a look at these other content marketing posts for more ideas, suggestions & tips;

Top 5 types of content marketing

Social media is free but social marketing isn’t

 

I’ve written quite a lot about the importance of social media; how easy it is to connect with potential & existing customers but here’s the problem, if you don’t CARE you will lose business.

I’ll come back to the C.A.R.E acronym but essentially social media can expose your good customer service as inadequate in today’s digital world.

Customer service advice

Here are 5 tips that if followed will turn good customer service into a competitive advantage by delighting your customers;

1.    Map and communicate your customer journey

Even if it is a short relationship, make sure your customer & your team know what’s going to happen & when – there should be no surprises!

2.    Good advice

Your organisation should be the go to people when it comes to advice on your product & market. Make it easier for your customers to freely benefit from your product or service.

3.    Always learn

Foster a culture where you are always looking to improve & innovate. Ask your customers, research your competitors, and ask yourselves where improvements can be made. Then make sure you make them!

4.    Consistent

Your brand can only grow if you consistently add to its equity. Simply put only

Make promises you can keep and keep the promises you make.

With all the tools available online you have little excuse to keep a close eye on your promises e.g. turnaround and response times, speed of web pages, delivery timings etc

.5.    Continuous improvement

Customers expect the service level that is right for them so you can no longer have a standard rather a current service level that might well be better tomorrow.

Most customers don’t buy just the cheapest. They consider if there’s an additional ‘price’ in dealing with a company. Make sure that other ‘price’ is excellent value through excellent customer service.

 C.A.R.E.?  Customers Are Really Everything

Here are some of my previous posts on becoming a better customer centric organisation;

Don’t talk when selling!

How being too helpful isn’t helpful when it comes to sales

Free or Fee?

10 ways to become a better business

Social media drives purchase & recommendation

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