Online + Offline = Bottom Line

Online + Offline = Bottom Line for Institute of Directors

Conor Lynch presented to an audience of Irish business directors for IOD Ireland last week about how Online + Offline = Bottom Line.  His short presentation focuses on the opportunities available using social media and digital listening.

Please get in touch if you would like Conor or one of our team to come and talk at your business event.

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Select The Right Digital Channels For Your Next Campaign

For any type of campaign or marketing plan your business has run in the last few years (and certainly in future), digital channels may be playing an increasing role.  They make your audience easier to reach, providing instant delivery and the chance for rapid response.  Any offer or update you deliver digitally also allows easy sharing over social media and possibly best of all, digital marketing channels are so easy to measure.  Digital can now stand shoulder to shoulder with traditional marketing channels in the majority of businesses.

The various types of digital marketing channels all hold different strengths that will make some more important for your own business to focus on.  The mix you select depends on your own goals for your online marketing plan, the type of message you hope to deliver, and of course the audience you hope to reach.  Let’s start with a quick look at some popular uses of different channels.

Digital Channels – The Usual Suspects

Email – For lengthier announcements like new product launches, monthly newsletters, email is often the channel of choice

SMS – Great for bite size offers and updates.  Often includes a prompt or code to redeem on another channel (e.g. purchase online with voucher code).

Website – With the rise of content marketing, a company website often houses important areas like the company blog.  It is now usually the hub for many digital marketing campaigns.

Mobile Apps – Often used by existing customers. GroupOn, Booking.com, eBay are some of the companies keeping customers ‘captive’ while browsing this way.

Social Media: Facebook – Great for awareness based campaigns.  Allows brands to humanise themselves and improve interaction with their audience.  Useful for promoting offers too.

Social Media: Twitter - Useful for building interaction, and for improving customer service satisfaction.  Suited to important announcements, breaking company news and pop-up sales.

Don’t Overload Your Digital Audience

 

As you can see above, some digital marketing channels are more suitable for certain messages than others.  It is important to bear in mind too that many members of your audience may have simultaneous access to several of these channels at once.  The smartphone means that your offer could be received by SMS, email, Facebook and Twitter all at once to the palm of the owner’s hand.  This can reduce the effect of the message you hope to deliver so consider this when planning a campaign across multiple digital channels.

 

The Power Of Measurement

Digital marketing channels offer a reliable, instant and easy to digest measurability that can be key in monitoring performance during and after a campaign.  You can actively monitor digital metrics such as responses and shares, viral reach of your social media posts, click-through rate and many more. We explored metrics such as this in a previous post.  Match what you are measuring to your own marketing goals and all can be useful signposts on the road to a successful multi channel marketing campaign.

Always be testing

It could be seen as conventional wisdom to say that younger consumers, especially ‘digital natives’ are best contacted through digital means.  Will they eagerly share an offer posted via social media, or any digital medium that pops up on their smartphone?

Then consider older consumers, do they still prefer the tried and tested ways, loving a letter in their postbox to offer them a discount or bonus?

If you assumed this is the ‘norm’ for these different types of consumer, this may be a good guess, but what about your customers, can you be so sure?  Don’t rest on your laurels and assume you have everyone figured out.  Your own audience will tell you by previous behaviour how they can be tickled with an offer and what digital channels they are happiest to respond by.  Your own findings may even surprise you.  Launch, test, refine, repeat!

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In Summary

Whether your next digital marketing campaign is primed to raise awareness, build customer interaction, increase sales or to generate new leads, you have many marketing channel options to ensure you can deliver your message successfully.  Match your channel mix to your own campaign focus, always be aware of what your customers are telling you by their previous responses.  Don’t be afraid to evolve the process over time.

The next time your business has a new product or offer ready to promote by digital means, delivering it appropriately to your audience is a big step in turning a good campaign into a great one.

 

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Match Metrics To Your Strategy – A Focus On Facebook

We have looked at the main success factors in great digital marketing last week, so today we’re going to laser in on one of the social media giants: Facebook.

Besides your own website, Facebook is arguably your online shopfront.  With this in mind, using Facebook to build customer satisfaction is key but monitoring your performance is just as vital.

 

Facebook – Made to Measure

Okay, so you have built up a healthy following and you feel you are engaging your fans well.  Regular updates and the odd cat meme?  Excellent, but remember that every aspect of your Facebook interaction with fans can be measured to hone your efforts further.   One point to note however, is to link these metrics with your Facebook strategy.

The basic (and the most popular) metrics to note are fan count, likes & comments.  As these grow, they provide many a marketer with a warm and fuzzy feeling of success!  Simply speaking, a rise here is a positive step but if not allied to your objectives they mean surprisingly little.

Measure Against Your Goals – An Example

A brief example that this humble writer can recount was from time spent working with a local visual arts festival.  One early objective was a campaign for artistic submissions launched worldwide to give the festival an international flavour.   The net was spread wide to forums, Facebook & Twitter communities etc to attract them.  After this big push, the event’s Facebook friend count increased by 400% in three weeks!   Cue the celebrations, until the next phase of marketing began.  This was centered upon promoting ticket sales and attendance, where local fans are the obvious target.   The discovery was sobering – our hyper-inflated friend count revealed that most of these new fans were international, from Asia, South America, even Australia…  None exactly in a position to attend a festival in Dublin!

Ready, Take Aim, Measure

What to take from here is that while basic Facebook metrics often highlight positive trends, they may not be the right ones for your aims.

Looking to spread great content?  – Look for number of shares of your links, or its ‘viral’ spread

Promoting an event? – Measure if fans are primarily in your area, promote posts to local users only

Increasing leads & referrals? – Check Google Analytics, are clicks from Facebook to your website growing?

If you want to use social media to improve your business, you’re in for the long game.  Returns may not be rapid, or easy to pinpoint at first but keep your objectives in mind and stay the course.  Growing your Facebook presence must be a means, not an end.  Whatever your business is looking to achieve, use Facebook to assist these goals and measure to suit.

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Installing The Digital Marketing Cog Into Your Business Engine

Think of your business as an engine (a finely tuned one, no doubt)! If you introduce a new part or component into any engine, it will affect how the rest of the system performs. This principle is certainly true when looking at the explosive growth of digital marketing and its integration into your marketing and business functions. Let’s look at your business holistically and ensure that any digital integration assists and augments your existing business engine – a new part installed to increase performance!

 

Digital VS Traditional Marketing – No Need To Argue

Your business now has access to an already massive and ever growing digital marketing toolkit – a huge array of methods to interact with, understand and sell to customers online. Pulling back the curtain into this world means that you can dispense with traditional methods in future and bask in the warm success web based marketing offers? Not quite!

Traditional methods should rather be combined with and enhanced by digital options rather than being dispensed with. These methods have not been made obsolete by any means. Depending on the size of your business, the old reliables of TV, radio and print advertising can still be highly effective means for creating mass brand awareness. Direct mailing has stood the test of time but has arguably been surpassed by email marketing and is an example of digital’s great impact on the marketing old school.

Many companies have married old and new and created a little synergy by making the call to action on these campaigns digital based. Point customers to your website, encourage them to follow and interact on social media. Now these passive, unknown customers are made visible and ready for you to build relationships, leads and sales. This gives your brand an extra dimension through digital and is something we will delve into more tomorrow.

Tune-Up Your Other Functions With Digital

Once the marketing department have caught the digital bug, it often takes longer for these same approaches to be considered throughout the rest of the organisation.

Many firm’s customer service is still primarily phone based, but this burden on costs and man hours can be reduced by introducing platforms such as customer forums, live chat services and even website FAQ sections. If you are increasingly savvy gaining customers digitally, they may be disappointed that they cannot then follow up at other stages of their life cycle with you by these means also.

Digital is here to stay, so integrate it when possible all around your business, it should improve performance to misfiring parts and have the already finely tuned functions purring like a kitten.

Social Media Training – Special Offer for May

Training

SocialMedia.ie is continuing to train more and more people every day in the basics of social media. That’s why we are launching a multipart, introductory course to Social Media.

These days you need to be engaged with social media programs and platforms to stay up to date with the latest tools, technologies and trends especially if you work in business.

Choose from one of the three options:

Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
May 8th May 8th and 15th May 8th, 15th and 22nd
Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & YouTube in more detail plus Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, mobile media and online strategy. Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & YouTube in more detail plus Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, mobile media and online strategy.
 You will also learn about budget software tools for measurement, monitoring and managing social media like a pro.
€55 €95 €145

If you’re interested in this offer then please call us at  +353 (0) 1 906 0006

All classes starts at 6:30pm and finishes at 9pm.

The classes will take place at the Digital Depot on Thomas Street, part of the Digital Hub.

 

Learn to love your social media competitors: They can do your market research for you.

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Market research is difficult and expensive, in both time and money. There are, however, those that already understand your market and they’ve been researching it for years. They are your competitors.

Don’t try to understand the market by yourself, let your competitors do it for you! Using Public data available through Social Media, you can analyse the market, see the status quo and understand what works and doesn’t.

Here are some of the things you can do by looking at your competitors data.

customer-segmentationSegmentation

Understanding your potential customers is of paramount importance. Who are they, what age are they, where are they located? Rather than trying to figure this our yourself you can just analyse the audience that follow your competitors. This will allow you to see the average customer that’s targeted by your competitors, which will make it easier for you to target them as well.

Which channels to use

Not every channel is equal. For some businesses LinkedIn works better, for others it’s Facebook. Experimenting to find out which works best for you can be time consuming. Instead, look at the channels your competitors are using. See which channels get the most attention and which gets the most shares. These are the channels you should be focusing on. There’s no point putting all your energy into a channel your competitors have already proven to be ineffective.

influencer-social-webInfluencers

Finding influencers takes a lot of effort, tools like Klout can make it easier, but a large time commitment is still required. There is a simpler way, use your competitors audience as a sample. Look for users that are highly connected in their communities. Look for people featured in multiple communities. These people have real sway over their audience. If you can get them to publish your content then you instantly get access to their market. Click here to learn more about influencers and how effective they are.

Emerging opportunities

Look at your competitors audience, listen for areas where they seem to be having problems. This will give you a much larger audience to listen to than just your own. Use the tips we outlined in our previous post to see the kinds of things you can learn. You’ll get a much broader picture of the problems people face. These problems are opportunities, by identifying them across the sector, you’ve given yourself a serious advantage.

These are just some of things that can be learned about your market by looking at your competitors. Remember, don’t waste your time performing extensive market research when you can use your competitors to do it for you.

If you’d like to be kept up-to-date on the latest Digital Marketing news, tips and trends, then signup for our newsletter here!

SocialMedia.ie Whiteboard Masterclass No.1 – Targeting Social Media Influencers.

This is the first in our series of videos explaining Digital Marketing concepts. This week we’re explaining Targeting and Influencers, two of the most important concepts for a focussed marketing strategy.

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Why listening to your competitors audience on Social Media can greatly improve your online business

wltycauWe’ve all done it: eavesdropped on a conversation on a train, in a restaurant, on the street – it’s human nature.  Sometimes though, we’ll over hear some nugget of information that we can use to our advantage. A bit of ‘right place, right time’ opportunism can make all the difference!  This certainly applies to your business and its position of the digital marketplace. Monitoring your competitors’ dealings with their audience can gain you valuable insight into how the larger market works.

CustomerSegmentationBroadening/sharpening your appeal

Do you know who your audience is yet?  If not then you’d better get started. You can use tools like Facebook Insights or Tweetreach to get some starter information.  Once you know the vital statistics on your audience, eg. gender, location, age, look for segments where your competitors have a foothold and you do not.

Ask yourself, how did they get them, and how do they interact with them?  Use this information to tweak your own message, this will give you access to this untapped customer segment.

problem-freePre-empt problems before they occur

Monitoring your competitors can be used to future proof your business against upcoming problems. Customers can now escalate complaints and service issues with ease, and they are not afraid to do so!  You can fill gaps in your customer experience before your own clients even realise that one may exist, just keep a keen ear to the ground.

Let’s say you noticed a problem with your competition’s customers over delivery times.  So far, nothing has gone wrong for you, but it’s an increasing bugbear for their customers. Why not strive to improve yours further?  Implement a new next day delivery promise and make that your next campaign!

Use these opportunities to your advantage. Play to your strengths by locating chinks in your competitor’s armour!

surveyListen out for great client feedback

It is an old adage that for every ten complaints you get, you’ll only receive one compliment, but that doesn’t mean that compliments should be ignored. Customers will often post about their purchases to their own network. Be it bragging or genuine feedback to the company, these messages give real insight. Listen to compliments about your competitors, then cherry pick the best parts to strengthen your offering.

Etsy sellers (who live and die by word of mouth) now offer little ‘extras’ with orders, eg. branded stickers or hand-written notes.  This increases their client’s affinity for dealing with them again, and they will often tweet the seller with photos of the extra items and thank them for going above and beyond for them.  Of course, an active monitoring of this competitor will unearth these nuggets and allow you to add this type of value to your own orders.

In summary, no brand is an island, and you cannot hope to enjoy a harmonious and undisturbed relationship with your clients indefinitely.  If you ensure that you are keeping an eye out over the fence for how your competitors are doing things (their successes and failures) you can bring more understanding and better customer experience into your own backyard.  A little digital eavesdropping can go a long way…