Appendix on Digital Marketing
Email is one of the oldest digital communication channels and as its name implies it represents the evolution of physical mail or “snail” mail as the Internet generation dubs it. This channel can allow marketers to reach individual consumers with targeted, personalized messaging and offers. The typical marketing and sales process relies on the model of a “sales funnel” Marketing messages create awareness and entice consumers to enter the organization’s sales funnel as a “lead”. It is still considered the goal of many online marketing campaigns to generate leads which can be nurtured, through various means, to persuade the lead to “convert” their expressed interest into a “buying decision”. Email marketing is a vital link in this sales funnel process. Email marketing can serve both to connect to a first time lead or to nurture a lead still uncommitted or to maintain awareness with and make new offers to an existing customer. Email is particularly relevant among business to business marketing as this represents the common means for individuals in organizations to communicate between each other, their customers and their suppliers. Many tools exist to support email marketing efforts, primary among these are Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programs. A CRM tool can be used to manage mailing lists and send customized emails to new leads or existing customers.
All use of email marketing must be done in compliance with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) guidelines (Can Spam Act). These rules can be summarized as:
- Don’t use false or misleading header information.
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
- Identify the message as an ad.
- Tell recipients where you’re located.
- Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you.
- Honor opt-out requests promptly
- Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.
(Can Spam Act: A Compliance Guide)
A constructive email should be one which the receiver genuinely appreciates receiving and which encourages some “call to action”. These CTA’s can be to visit the web site, e-store, make a donation or other defined “conversion” activity. Using email marketing to grow awareness, maintain relationships and reach a desired response from the recipient can be done effectively and inexpensively on any scale.
Content marketing focuses on creating compelling content that attracts and retains the attention of your target audience. At the 2017 University of New Hampshire Digital Marketing Conference held May 17-18th many experienced professional digital marketers presented their tactics and strategies for effective digital marketing. Charlene DeCesare () presented seven simple and smart content marketing strategies. Her seven recommendations are:
- Business strategy must drive web content strategy
- Content must focus on the audience’s needs, no need to focus on your superlatives
- Pick digital marketing platforms based on goals and capacity
- Build a Plan and Schedule for content creation and deployment
- Rotate content regularly to maintain interest
- Engage with leads and customers but do it respectfully and at reasonable intervals.
- Measure what works and do more of it.
- (Proceedings, 2017)
Blogging is the act of writing a “weblog” or “blog”. The term was coined in 1997 by Jorn Barger (Blog) a specific type of web activity in which the authors write on topics of any and all types and allow comments from readers and visitors to these blog (Web Log) sites. A blog can attract many readers and its content is indexed by major search engines. In most blogs the writing content (or video content in the case of video blogs) is added to frequently by the author(s). Well written and produced blogs are able to create high relevancy and therefor high search engine ranking for their affiliated websites and are an effective component of a digital advertising campaign. Effective blogging techniques were shared at the UNH Digital Marketing Conference by Joanne Randall. Key recommendations were to be sure the blog content is aligned and follows your marketing plan. The inclusion of quality visuals will retain reader interest and improve readership comprehension. Strive to activate engagement by your readers and develop a unique content voice that appeals to your target audience. A well-organized structure for blog entries will encourage concise and effective communication of you blog entries message. If quoting facts always provide links to credible resources. (Proceedings, 2017)
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of tailoring the content, structure, metadata and registration of a website with the goal of improving its organic ranking for relevant search terms. As part of a digital marketing strategy SEO is an essential element. SEO practices for “local” SEO optimization was presented at the UNH Digital Marketing Conference by Mariana Trombly. She stated in her presentation that 93% of online experiences start with search engine queries. A first step in any digital campaign is to verify your organizations business signals on the web. This can be done with basic search queries for your organization or business and analyzing the resulting data presented by different search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Once the baseline is determined it is possible to focus on the relevant weaknesses and make improvements. Her recommendations were summarized in 5 steps.
- Google My Business page is established/ setup
- Optimize landing pages with local keyword data
- Ensure NAP listings are consistent across the web
- Generate genuine reviews from customers on google/yelp
- Focus on localized link building (link to other local, relevant organizations)
At the UNH Digital Marketing Conference speaker Alec Newcomb shared his insights on digital marketing in a talk titled “The Yankee Marketer”. His recommended practices for executing marketing on the web focused on inexpensive, efficient and unusual models for reaching web users and turning them into customers. A graph summarizing survey results from 614 companies ranked web marketing channels according to return on investment in order from best ROI to worst.
- Email marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (organic search)
- Content Marketing
- Paid Search (PPC)
- Social Media
- Offline Direct Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
- Mobile Marketing
- Online display advertising
- (Slide 7 of 24; The Yankee Marketer- Alec Newcomb.pdf)- (Check for permission to use this slide and slide #23)
Mr. Newcomb’s list of 5 keys to efficient digital marketing are:
- Keep it as simple as you can
- Test your assumptions
- Do it low cost and low risk
- Turn the winners into a process
- Accept failures as part of the optimization process
His key elements to executing digital campaigns are:
- use Google analytics to manage the data concerning your digital campaign’s performance impact on your website.
- Lower your cost-per-thousand-impressions with Google and Facebook PPC advertising
- Establish repeatable marketing processes based on measured positive results of test campaigns
- Refresh your creative content often to lower you CPM’s (costs/thousand impressions)
- Boost your Search Engine results with Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages
- Be “mobile first” with Google’s AMPs
- Survey customers using free tools (google forms, Surveymonkey)
- Keep it simple and avoid “fad” tools with expensive subscriptions
- Test, test, test & expect to fail 70% of the time
Social Media Digital Marketing
Social media is an important part of the online activity of many consumers. As the popularity of social media has grown so has the interest of marketers to leverage the use of this communication medium to reach consumers with branding and marketing messages. The creation of Facebook in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg (Phillips, 2007) leveraged the power of the “6 degrees of separation” (Smith, 2008) said to exist between all people on the planet. By way of this concept and the human need for affirmation by our family and peers this and similar social media platforms draw millions of users to spend thousands of hours engaging on these channels. Selling advertising provides the owners of the social media channels with revenue and return shareholder value. The marketing and advertising models applied to promoting in these channels is evolving rapidly. The available detailed and personal information allows highly targeted campaign to be deployed.
Melissa Albeno Davis presented her best in class strategies for social media marketing during the UNH Digital Marketing Conference 2017. (Proceedings, 2017) Her concept was framed in the statement “Getting from Like to Buy”. In social media a “Like” is a vote by a user for something they found interesting enough to click the “Like” button. But it can be a challenging path to move from casual interest(Like) to a purchasing decision (Buy). The basic process as defined by Albeno Davis is to first define “personas” or pyscho-social representative profiles of fictional target individuals that are typical of your target audience. Using these personas can help in creating targeted messaging with style, tone and content appropriate to that segment. Once persona’s and messaging are defined a digital marketer needs to define goals and conversion paths to simplify the journey of an interested consumer.
In social media marketing there are four steps on the journey from Like to Buy according to Albeno Davis. These are attracting interest, engaging the interested party, converting them into a customer and delighting them with your product or service.
Attracting interest can be accomplished through geo targeting, demographics, interests, life stages or simply purchasing qualified lists from existing marketing databases. Engaging the interested individual may be done with the use of visuals like images, videos, podcasts or puzzles and contests. The process of converting the interest to a sale can be challenging. The use of conversion offers and persuasive landing pages are proven methods to move the engaged, interested party along their journey to become a customer. Remembering that digital marketing and online business is a cooperative and collaborative environment means once we have a new customer it is imperative to delight that customer with our product or service so they will want to rate our company online, share their experience on social media and in some cases become a brand advocate for our brand. Social media marketing can be used to maintain relationships with existing customers and reduce and simplify future marketing expense and effort.
The rapid evolution of cellphone technology took a rapid and dramatic turn with the launch of the iPhone in 2007. (Price, 2015) Although other cell phones were available with some Internet connectivity and certain touch screen Personal Digital Assistants had been available for more than 10 years it was the combined integration of calling with browsing the Internet that captivated consumers. Only 10 years later the impact on marketing is still being realized. Mobile applications or apps are can be simply extensions of existing Websites or self-standing software tools to enhance the daily experience of the user. Apps like those from retailer’s Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts can simplify caffeine addicts ordering their daily fix while binding those brand loyal consumers more tightly to their chosen purveyor of alertness. Game apps can be addictive entertainment for smartphone owners. The app creator may give away the app for free and then sell advertising to third parties who wish to reach the subscribers. Watching an ad can net benefits within the game to the player. A few moments watching or listening may get “net” the player of “TapTapFish” and new clownfish or coral for her reef. (Abyssrium, ND).
Smartphones followed the past technology ratchet of hardware advances allowing deployment of new software and services in a fully portable, high resolution screen connected nearly 100% of the time to the Internet. This marvel of engineering includes a bevy of sensing technology that can record sound, images, video, location data, speed, acceleration, magnetic fields and gravity. Instead of advertisers seeking the prime time spots of top rated TV shows their potential audience is spending up to 11 hours a day looking at their portable advertising delivery device. All previously mentioned online marketing; email, content marketing, blogging, search engine optimization, social media marketing apply to Mobile App marketing. Smartphones are placing more demands on marketers to optimize their previous digital campaigns to blend seamlessly and leverage fully the mobile handset paradigms.