Now that the nights are getting longer and the weather is getting colder, it is time to start getting prepared for the holidays.
For marketing departments across the country, this means beginning to enact holiday marketing campaigns, hoping to tap into the festivities of the season to create connections with their target audience.
When it comes to Christmas marketing strategies, the power of email marketing cannot be overstated. This is why, as an early present, we at Positive Results Marketing have compiled a list of email marketing tips to see you through the holidays.
It is never too soon to start planning out your holiday emails. Planning ahead gives you more time to tweak and perfect your content and avoids you having to rush during one of the busiest periods of the year.
You should also be spending time before the festive period conducting research. Taking the time to find out what the predicted trends are for this Christmas, how much people are likely to spend, what they’re going to spend it on and when, will help you craft precise email content that people will actually want to receive.
Keep it focused
As Christmas gets closer, more businesses than you could count will be sending out scores of festive themed emails to as many people as they can. The last thing that you want happening is for your emails to get lost in all this noise, and end up being ignored.
To avoid this, make sure you hone your target market as much as you possibly can. Your mantra should be quality over quantity. Look to create personalised emails that appeal to specific customers individually, offering bonuses based on their past purchase history so your emails will have appeal.
If you are sending out emails about Christmas it makes sense that those emails look festive, but it is important to remember that less is more. Because people will most likely be receiving many festive emails, you need to make sure your emails fit in with the theme without looking over the top or gaudy.
If you have revamped your webpage or social media channels to look more festive, then make sure you tailor your emails so that they have a similar look and feel, to boost your brand cohesion.
Decide if festive marketing is right for your business
Although the festive period represents a great opportunity for businesses to up their marketing game and potentially reach a higher audience than other times of year, it is important to realise that not every business will suit a festive marketing campaign.
There is no point running an exhaustive (and costly) holiday marketing campaign if the customers who click through to your website find nothing that is relevant to them for the festive period.
Hopefully, with these tips you’ll be able to craft an email marketing campaign that really works for you over the holiday period. For more marketing tips and tricks, visit Positive Results Marketing now.
It should, of course, go without saying that search engine optimisation (SEO) plays a major role in the marketing strategies of any competitive business operating today. Put simply, the higher your ranking within Google’s search results, the more traffic your site will receive.
It is interesting that, given SEO is something everyone agrees is important, surprisingly few people know how to effectively improve their rankings.
If you are trying to reach the top of Google’s search results, take a look at our top tips for how you can make the most out of SEO:
Knowing what keywords the people you want visiting your site are using is a key step in improving your SEO ranking. Once you know these keywords, you need to introduce them organically into the copy of relevant pages on your website. Remember to use your top keywords in your page title, a search engine’s favourite part of any given page, as well as the page header and the name and alt tag of images.
You should also make a note to frequently visit the websites of your biggest competitors and track the keywords they are using on their site. You can also look for any gaps in the market your competitors haven’t noticed and use them.
One of the holy grails of SEO is the external link. It is very important to get links to your site from other websites, because search engines directly equate the number of external links a page has with how trustworthy it is.
Think quality over quantity, and make sure you aim for trusted, high quality sources rather than a great deal of lesser trusted sources or link farms, because Google is sophisticated enough to know the difference.
You should also be providing internal links within your own content to relevant pages from your own site.
At the end of the day, as Google and its competitors develop ever more sophisticated algorithms to fine tune the results on their search engines, one of the best practices a company can adopt to improve its SEO ranking is to produce the highest quality content possible.
This means that the content on your site should be concise and easy to understand, and keywords should appear organically and be woven into the copy.
No only should the content be of high quality, but it needs to be presented effectively as well. Make sure your website is easy to navigate and everything is laid out in a clear, intuitive way, and be aware that particularly bad coding on websites has been known to have a negative impact on SEO rankings.
Remember, improving and maintaining your SEO ranking takes continuous work, so get into the habit of monitoring your search engine rankings so you can see if your SEO techniques are having a positive or negative impact, and adjust your SEO strategy accordingly. Use an analytics program such as Google Analytics or any alternative to make sure you get an accurate image of your website’s performance.
As modern technology gets more and more sophisticated and permeates even further into every facet of modern life, brands and businesses are trying to understand exactly how this technology is impacting and changing the way consumers interact with them and their products, and how technology is affecting the way consumers make purchases.
A new report from Coversant, Epsilon and Loyalty One shows that there is a definite shift in how customers shop and engage with brands in previous years compared to now. In fact, if you aren’t willing to adapt to meet the high expectations consumers now have, you run the risk of getting left behind. The report showed that almost two thirds (65%) of consumers feel that companies are sending them too many irrelevant, impersonal communications.
One of the biggest ways to create a connection with your target audience is to focus on providing them with personalised communications that make them feel uniquely valued by your business. According The 2017 “Holiday Retail Outlook Report,” 87% of millennials are very likely to shop at a retailer, if that retailer provides personalised offers. That is a staggering percentage of millennials, and it is one that is only likely to increase across all age groups as time goes by.
There is also a generational divide that affects what individuals are looking for from their shopping experience. Millennials are concerned with factors such as price and value, but also place an emphasis on the functional and emotional aspects of the shopping experience. Baby boomers, meanwhile, care more about product quality and reliability, as well as price and value. Comparatively, top influencers on Gen X shoppers include the speed of checkout and ratings and reviews.
According to Elliott Clayton, vice president of media UK at Conversant: “Consumers expect a lot more from brands today. They certainly do not want to be inundated with mass, irrelevant communications and it is only by focusing on true personalised communications that brands will be able to build a mutually beneficial relationship with consumers.”
Interestingly, whilst there is a huge emphasis on buying online, it hasn’t completely erased the consumer’s desire for businesses to have a bricks-and-mortar presence. While 80% of consumers now buy online and have gifts delivered, over half of consumers prefer to buy products online and pick them up in store. Additionally, 51% of consumers like to browse and purchase items in store while reading product reviews online. This shows that consumers across the board are looking for an integrated shopping experience that combines all the benefits of online and in store purchasing.
Clayton went on to say that although “most consumers are buying online, the purchasing process is still operating across multiple channels. Retailers and brands need to have an ongoing one-to-one conversation with consumers across all consumer devices, including offline. Using data is key for brands to stop just serving up the same ads and instead have tailored messages to reach consumers on an individual level across all channels.”
Whilst the idea of using influencers is hardly new or innovative – it goes hand in hand with the principle of marketing your business via good word of mouth – it is certainly something that has hit the zeitgeist in a big way in 2017.
You can barely glance through any well-known person’s social media accounts without catching them singing the praises of the latest purchase they’ve made, perhaps along with a handy link for any of their followers who want to make the same purchase. When done well, it’s a great way for you to reach a huge target market by only having to interact directly with one person and their team.
While influencer marketing has readily apparent benefits for a B2C company, for many, the question still remains: can influencer marketing have a valued position in a B2B company’s marketing strategy?
We think it can, but the issue is a lot less clear for B2B companies than it is for their B2C counterparts, where marketing strategy tends to be a simpler affair. So, here are some of the basics you need to consider if you want to start developing influencer marketing strategies for your company.
Before even thinking about trying to find influencers you need to make sure your brand story and message is airtight and well defined. Make sure you have the story of your brand down, and that you are not only considering how this story is relevant to your target audience, but that this content is built with your influencers in mind.
It is important to know exactly who your target buyers are. You need to ascertain who the decision makers are in your target businesses who will have the final say in whether or not to buy what it is you are selling. Finding out who this target audience is will then allow you find out where this audience goes for information.
Finding out who your target audience uses as trusted third party sources of information will allow you to pinpoint with greater accuracy who the most effective influencer will be to reach them.
Look for people who are experts on topics that relate directly to your business. Find out who your target audience follows on their social media channels – particularly LinkedIn – and follow them as well. Make a point to search regularly through twitter and follow people relevant to your product / business. Engage with these people on their social media and see if they have blogs you can interact with in a meaningful way.
Don’t just look for the mega popular people with the most followers either, and try to focus on people who have more actionable than vanity metrics. When finding influencers for your B2B company, a deft hand is better than broad strokes. It is better to look for highly niche focused influencers who offer opinions on specific issues that you know you can trust than a broad strokes person with a large audience but small credibility
We’ve all experienced that moment of frustration; loaded up a website to read a breaking news story, to buy something you’ve been saving up for, only to be greeted with an error message. The website is down. You may refresh the page a few times to see if it fixes itself, then you might plan to check back on the website in a few hours. But in reality, you probably won’t.
As the consumer in this situation, it’s annoying. As the business, that period of time where your website has crashed and people can’t access it could prove not only to be costly, but to damage your reputation as well.
This is the case according to new research published by Wirehive. The report, titled ‘The Marketing Cost of Downtime,’ surveyed 1,000 UK consumers and found that a whopping 45% had been shut out of a website they were visiting to buy something during the week before they were polled. Almost 10% of those polled said they had suffered a failed online journey between six and ten times within the same period, while 55% reported difficulty in reaching a site to check a product or service out.
Wirehive’s report also revealed that digital downtime is costing companies more than just money. Of those surveyed, over two thirds (68%) agreed that their opinion of a brand would be negatively affected by downtime on its website. Additionally, 57% agreed that they might be put off buying from a brand in the future because of downtime, showing how seriously consumers take being inconvenienced.
This is a problem Wirehive believe is endemic on the internet. In ‘The Marketing Cost of Downtime,’ Wirehive state that a shocking 95% of websites are not currently fit for purpose, with digital assets on platforms with an “unacceptably high level of risk.”
Wirehive calls for marketers to take notice of the damaging implications poor web hosting has for a brand’s reputation. It is noted that there needs to be more integration between marketing and IT departments, as marketers are consistently more conscious of brand reputation than their IT counterparts. According to publisher ClickZ, 88% of IT respondents view their company infrastructure as cutting edge, compared to just 61% of marketing respondents.
In closing the report, Wirehive director Kevin MacDonald states that “Consumers, and to an extent marketers, take domain hosting for granted. This report has highlighted how a broken online journey can ruin your brand’s reputation and, worse, dent your sales. It has also attempted to quantify the cost of being offline, which makes grim reading.”
MacDonald goes on to advise; “We’re on a mission to make understanding the intricacies of hosting, and finding the right solution for your business, a marketing industry standard. Get it right and your customers will have a satisfying experience while your organisation saves money and face. In a digital world, this should be front of mind for all brand guardians. It’s time to change the way you think about website hosting.”
You may be of the opinion that SMS marketing is a vestige of a bygone era, being taken over by more advanced forms of mobile marketing as more and more of the general population take to using smartphones. According to a new white paper published by leading UK SMS marketing platform Textlocal, however, you’d be wrong, very wrong in fact.
The white paper, titled ‘The State of SMS,’ takes a look at mobile marketing in a society which, according to the latest estimates from Ofcom, has a massive 91% mobile usage among UK adults, with 71% smartphone usage.
Time and again throughout the white paper, the statistics show that SMS marketing is the fastest growing marketing channel in the UK, with a huge amount of potential for businesses. At the end of 2016, 37.2 million consumers had opted in to receive business SMS, with this figure expected to rise to a staggering 48.7 million by the year 2020.
Not only is SMS marketing the UK’s fastest growing channel, it is also one of the most effective. According to the white paper, of the 7 billion business texts that will be sent this year, an average of 98% of mobile users will read the text, while 90% of those 7 billion will be read within the first three minutes of being sent.
SMS marketing has also been found to outperform mobile marketing – such as mobile search advertising & video bumpers and banner ads – in many different categories. For example, SMS has an 8% response rate for taking the action of going in-store to make a purchase, double mobile advertising’s 4%.
Furthermore, of the 37.1 million people who receive business SMS, the response rate revealed by ‘The State of SMS’ is 23.5 million, a proportionately huge number. Compared to the peak email response rate of 23% across all industries, the fact that the white paper lists the average response rate for a bulk SMS campaign as 32% shows just how effective SMS marketing can be, preferred ahead of even Facebook, Twitter and app push notifications.
But it seems that businesses aren’t yet taking advantage of all SMS marketing has to offer, as, across all researched sectors, businesses will only operate the SMS channel at 38% capacity, which means they will fail to reach more than half the consumers who are willing to receive business SMS.
However, according to Jason Palgrave-Jones, Marketing Director of Textlocal, this could all change in the shape of an increasingly “mobile-first” society, with SMS taking its rightful place among other marketing channels. “My point is; there’s a change in emphasis and businesses are starting to take note of text messaging. Of course, like any other marketing channel, SMS requires a certain level of thought.” Palgrave-Jones states; “But the underlining fact remains; SMS is here and will continue to grow in 2017.” So it is up to businesses themselves to realise all the potential that SMS marketing represents in the years to come.