Martin Beeson has the basic guide to websites, e-newsletters, apps and the “like”...
In the last marketing column I explained a 10 stage process for creating a marketing plan. It mentioned there’s often confusion between “strategic” and “tactical” marketing activities.
If you follow the marketing planning process then understanding which marketing tactics you invest in should be the result of your research. We all love our new electronic tools and devices but at the end of the day we also still breathe, see, smell and taste. There is still incredible value in reading a magazine on the beach, laughing at a radio ad on a road trip, trying to work out the message on a billboard, visiting a trade show or having someone personally recommend a product to you.
In the spirit of “not putting all your ice in one esky” here is a guide to digital/electronic tactical activities that you can use for your business.
The World Wide Web was invented in 1990 by Tim Berners-Lee. It started by just transferring ugly bits of text or documents between computers.
We are now allegedly in the era of “Web 2.0” which is the transition period where we changed the way we use the web. In simple terms it became a community rather than an encyclopedia. You need to know all this because most websites should no longer be online brochures.
Here are some top tips:
- Design is important but it is not as important as content.
- Update your content. If you don’t have something to update on your website each week then your business is probably not going in the right direction.
- You also need to think about how your website will look on smart phones and tablets
- Stay away from Flash animation. If Google can’t read it, it ignores it.
- You need your phone number and email on the home page, the number one reason for mobile internet searches is to get contact details.
- You are not smart enough to fool the Google algorithm, keep your content honest and Google will reward you.
- Encourage people to go to other pages on your website.
- Use friendly URLs such as www.fpimarketing.com.au/blog rather than www.fpimarketing.com.au/wp/pages/content/06/anotherfolder/itmustbeinheresomewhere.aspx
- Create test pages for every promotional campaign. They are free and they give you insights.
- Use Google analytics and review the trends in your sales meetings.
- Embed video from your YouTube channel.
- Be patient, natural rankings on Google can take time.
Search engine optimisation is a popularity contest. The Google algorithm looks at more than 200 different “things” when assessing and ranking your website. These can be:
- Keyword relevance
- Keyword density
- Title length
- Image names
- Image descriptions.
The simple advice is to have an “honest” website with lots of great content which is directly relevant to your business and more importantly to your target audience. If you build it so your customers will love it then in a few months you will be ranking well naturally. There are of course short cuts but tread gently or you might get your website banned. The other side of SEO is “back links”. These are links from other websites to yours. If a good website sends people to you and they stay on your site then the assumption by Google is that you must be relevant to what they were searching for.
Remember Yellow Pages? You used to get a free listing or you could pay for an enhanced advert. Search Engine Marketing is the enhanced advert. The good thing is that you only pay per click, the bad thing is that you pay for every click whether they buy or not. If you have “gone wide” with your campaign and have used too many non-specific keywords (we should more accurately say “key phrases”) then you will be attracting clicks from people who do not intend to buy. It’s the difference between a search for “outboards” versus “outboard dealers in springwood”. You might get a boat load of visitors from the first but you might get a sale from the second.
4. E-Newsletters and CRM
There are many lonely databases sitting in companies around Australia that only get tickled by the accounts department from time to time. You can do your own research on whether you can legally contact those people via email, if you think you can then e-newsletters can be a great way of engaging with people who like your product and like to hear from you. Bear in mind that a well performing campaign will get a click through rate of 2% to 3%. This seems small but remember that not everyone is buying all the time. If you run a special on outboard servicing this month the majority of outboards will not be due a service. However if you know when they last serviced their outboard and your email coincides with this then you can expect a better response rate.
This is where CRM or Customer Relationship Management systems come in to their own. Talking to the right people at the right time with a relevant message.
5. Social Media
Social media is not right for every business. It’s become a reason why you should follow a strategic planning process and establishing what tactics are right for your business. Some thoughts:
- Social media can eat up your time.
- Social media is not free, it takes daily engagement by a member of staff.
- It’s not appropriate to just give it to the most junior member of staff to do. They are representing your company with every key stroke.
- Unlike Google this is not just just about popularity it is about attracting and having dialogue with your target market.
- Facebook have a more cost effective and targeted adword program than Google. They are planning on launching their own search engine this year.
- Youtube is the number two search engine after Google. YouTube is the easier option to sit, absorb and possibly be entertained.
- Feel free to test and measure Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pintrest and the rest but remember is is only one part of your communications plan.
As of January this year Apple had 775,000 apps in the app store. The guidelines for App marketing are the same as for other products. You still need to do your research, define a market, define a target market and then focus your marketing activity on that market. You also need a good idea. If you want an app to represent your business with similar information to your website then you may want to investigate “.mobi” websites which recognise that they are being loaded on a smart phone and deliver the content in a format suitable for that size screen.
This has been a basic guide only, there is much more to tell but limited space. There are specialists in each of these areas who understand how to get the most out of each and they are sure to advise you that their way is best. The closing note is a reminder to look at strategy first and tactics second. Digital media is fantastic but always ask yourself “How will this activity fit in to my strategy and achieve my goals?”.
By Martin Beeson