Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Catherine Park from Backoffice Pro.
Digital marketing is always a hot topic in business, given the fact that the internet changes very quickly and new trends emerge every few months. Additionally, wide adoption of digital devices means digital marketing has never been better, and if done correctly, it can pay off multiple times. This is why everyone is online today and wants to promote products, services, or organizations on the web.
Accessing the data which allows accurate targeting is never that easy and the amount of information needed for creating a good digital marketing strategy has never been more available. With the right tools and approaches, everyone can create a strategy that will bring results according to the amount of money invested. To keep you updated, we made this blog post that explains what you need to be doing in 2018 to create an effective digital strategy in 2018 .
Big data rules
The use of big data and the overall data gathering is starting to grow at rapid speeds. Gathering, analyzing, and creating marketing strategies from valuable data are the new trends that has showed tremendous success. The amount of benefits practical data can give businesses is enormous.
Businesses can learn about customer behavior in the past, analyze the current market, and predict future outcomes. Based on these metrics, marketers can adjust the current service, learn where their strategy needs improving, and create new strategies that have a good chance of succeeding.
Although marketers don’t do this directly, they outsource data management services to be able to handle such a volume of information and make the most of it.
The number of mobile users is growing rapidly. There are a lot of people who solely browse the web via their phone. On the other hand, almost all of the computer users use their phones as well to get online. People are now more open to buying and browsing products or services online on their mobile phones.
This group of people also needs to be targeted. Given the fact that all ecommerce stores, payment tools and websites are optimized for mobile users, there is great potential for marketing with mobile users. All of your marketing efforts should be optimized to target mobile users as well.
Content is an old king
It is old and underrated by some people, but nobody can say that content marketing is not an effective marketing strategy. Content is still sitting on its throne and, although many predicted that this type of marketing will die, it is still an effective marketing technique. It has changed over the years, but it still has the potential to bring great results. The quality of the content must meet certain standards. For example, blog posts need to have at least 1500 words to have an effect. Additionally, today, you need to deliver engaging content that is truly interesting to readers and contains valuable information.
Catherine Park is a content marketer presently working with Back Office Pro, a Business process outsourcing company. A writer by day and a reader by night, she loves working in the ever-changing world of digital marketing and is fascinated by the role content plays in today's marketing. You can find her on Twitter here.
Despite all the excitements surrounding social media, apps, and blogs, there’s still a solid place for good old SMS text messages in your marketing strategy. It’s 98% open rate, straightforward format, and high conversion rates are just some of the reasons why SMS Marketing should be a standard for businesses . On the other hand, SMS messaging done wrong could easily turn off potential customers. To ensure that your SMS campaign continues to bring positive growth to your business, keep the following guidelines in mind and revise your strategies accordingly.
Be short and simple
Most carriers limit the length of a text to 160 characters. This means you must be straightforward and concise. A good message gets right to the point and offers easy instructions on what to do. Don’t annoy your customers with extended and trivial messages. For example, “20% off Valentine’s day special. CLICK HERE. Expires 2/15.” would be an excellent message to communicate all essential information to the subscriber. It’s efficient, easy to follow, and discloses any important limitation.
Be mindful of appearance
A lot of decisions are based on first impressions. As such, the appearance of your text is important. Make sure it’s pleasant and easy to read. URLs with tracking extensions are not pretty. You can solve this by using URL shorteners like Google’s Goo.gl or Bit.ly. These will shorten your URL and clean your overall layout. Simplifying your links not only make them look better, but also save space for more substantial words.
Segment your customers
Your messages are only as good as the sales they generate. Therefore, make sure you’re effectively targeting your customers. Use data from your marketing automation software and CRM to segment prospects into the appropriate contact lists based on their past interactions, purchases, interests and preferences. Personalize the experience so what you’re sending is relevant and interesting to the receiver.
Timing is key
We know that SMS messages have high open rates, and 70% of opens happen in the first 60 minutes . Therefore, you want your customers to read your message at the most opportune time. For example, when someone makes an order, send him or her a SMS message about a complementary product to sustain interest. If you’re an eatery, send location based SMS messages around lunch or dinner time with special offers.
Additionally, take advantage of triggered messages to increase sales and consumer insights. These messages are triggered due to certain consumer activity (such as a purchase) or inactivity. For instance, if you haven’t seen a customer in a while, a trigger message can remind him of your products and services, or ask him about his experiences to discover the cause for his inactivity.
It’s a privilege to be able to send an SMS to a customer. But you will lose this privilege if you bother them with frequent and pointless messages. The success of your SMS campaign rides on your ability to balance between its content, timing, and frequency. Good messages should be personal, informative, and valuable to the consumer. You want your messages to be anticipated and missed.
We’d love to help you polish your SMS campaign! Please leave us a message or a comment.
Mobile marketing is a powerful tool to help businesses unlock opportunities. It allows businesses to engage and communicate with larger audiences in a way that is real-time and personal. If you’re new to the digital marketing world, you may be feeling some pressure from competitors to stay on top of the game. Fortunately, we have just what you need to get started. Below are 6 tips to help you hop on the mobile marketing wagon!
1. Use a simple template that works for all devices.
This is the bare minimum. Customers should be able to navigate through your contents and communicate their inquiries with ease. Incorporate the appropriate multi platform sizing so your contents are displayed as intended for the platform on which it’s being viewed. Don’t lose out on potential leads and conversion opportunities due to lack of functionality.
2. Utilize location based strategy such as geo-targeted ads.
There are more consumers on-the-go looking for local businesses. You want to capture them while they’re at the ready-to-purchase point.
3. Include information about your location in all mobile marketing.
On-the-go mobile users usually search with a local intent. In other words, local and mobile are strong catalysts for each other. Consistency is the key here. Location information such as address, neighborhood, area code, maps, or anything else that communicates your location needs to be consistently displayed across ALL mobile marketing channels.
4. Incorporate focused campaigns.
With so many competitors out there, sometimes the customer needs a little push, such as with mobile coupons or limited time offers when a search result pulls up. This helps to motivate purchase when the customer is deciding where or whether to buy.
5. Don’t miss out on calls to actions.
Typically, mobile on-the-go consumers are action-oriented. You want to equip them with the necessary tools to follow through with their purchasing decisions on-the-spot. Implement action functions such as click-to-call, online reservations, request for more info, or purchase. Make sure these buttons are easily accessible.
6. Don’t forget to include Millennials and Gen X consumers.
With aging boomers, you want to target younger consumers to build long-term brand awareness and customer relationships. More importantly, mobile marketing will reach younger consumers much more often than older consumers. Keep this in mind even if your products and services are intended for older audiences. It’s only a matter of time.
This simple list of items will go a long way in enhancing the effectiveness of your mobile marketing strategy. Just remember to regularly monitor your marketing results and change your approach accordingly.
If you are ready to create your mobile marketing plan, please leave us a message and let ERC elevate your marketing game!
As we enter the fourth quarter, it’s time for convenience stores to think about their 2018 marketing plan. With near 155,000 convenience stores in the U.S., competition is certainly fierce. To make the matter worse, large retailers and grocery stores—Walmart, Starbucks and Hy-Vee to name a few—are also trying to take a bite off the pie by expanding their grab-n-go, hot foods, delivery, and drive-thru services. Their goal? To capitalize on the convenience factor. It is no secret that the strength of C-Stores lies in its convenient location, extended hours of operation, large variety of merchandises, and speedy services. However, as large retailers close the gap on those fronts—exemplified by the launch of the revolutionary Amazon Go—how can C-stores differentiate themselves and retain customer loyalty?
Below is a list of actionable items to help C-stores show the value of innovation and all that a C-store has to offer.
1. Go Mobile
In this day and age, going mobile is no longer an option. It’s a must. Whether through SMS messaging or mobile apps, C-store competitors are delivering products and services to the customers with a touch of a button. C-stores need to make it easy for their customers to reach them and connect with them. More importantly, they want to be there with an offer while customers are browsing. Mobile marketing communicates the business' messages to its audiences in a way that is real time and personal, so the business can effectively capture customer attention and bring them through the door.
2. Focus on Food-Service
A weakness of the C-store is that it is largely restricted by its location’s population density and traffic flow. To combat that, it needs to break through the location barrier and make the store a destination. It should to do so through food. Why? Because the average gross margin on merchandise is only 27%, while the average gross margin on food-service is 43.7%. Yet, food-service sales only encompass 15% of total in-store revenue. Check out this article on the profitability of food service. But don’t start loading up on the Twinkies. The key is to embrace a better balance between health and indulgence to help meet the evolving demand for nutritional products without alienating core consumers.
3. Amplify the Convenience Factor
This includes creative payment functions that maximize convenience. For example, apps such as Pilot Flying J and Speedpass+ allow drivers to choose a fuel lane based on wait time estimates and make payments through an app or other touchless solutions such as MasterCard. C-stores should also explore delivery service options through yelp or their local delivery services to expand its customer reach.
4. Look Smaller to Grow Bigger
In other words, localize. Leverage the ability of smaller independent shops to remain flexible and cater to the needs of the local customers, whether it’s later hours or special accommodations, products, and deals. Build the store's community presence through participation in community events or involvement with notable nonprofits in its area. Take advantage of location based social platforms such as Yelp to increase its word of mouth effect. Lastly, use social media to differentiate the store from its competitors by adding an original twist or personality to its profile. People will always be responsive to enthusiasm, sincerity and passion.
As C-stores continue to experience competitive pressures from large retailer moving into the convenience space, they must pivot quickly and strategically to establish their points of differentiation. Talk to a marketing specialist today to discover how to leverage your unique pivotal points to continue thriving in convenience retail.
If you’re in marketing, you’ve already bypassed pumpkin spice lattes and are thinking about Christmas carols and decor. Holiday creep isn’t anything new, it’s here and it’s real, especially in the advertising world.
According to the National Retail Federation, retailers can stand to make up to 30% of their yearly sales just in the holiday shopping season. [i] With customers starting their seasonal research early, it pays to be ready and armed with a plan.
Here are some tips to get you going:
Tip #1 Retailers should have websites and resources ready by no later than October.
Why? Customers start researching holiday gifts as early as September.
Tip #2 Make sharing of information easy with in-store apps or email marketing.
Why? 44% of customers get ideas from family and friends.
Tip #3 Create a sales recommendation list.
Why? 54% of shoppers utilize recommendations from retailers.
Tip #4 Send limited time offers via email, SMS, or direct mail campaign.
Why? 48% of shoppers still make impulse purchases for themselves and others. [ii]
Happy holiday marketing!
[i] To Maximize Holiday Sales Start Planning Your Marketing Early, Entrepreneur Magazine Online, August 1st, 2017 https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/248165
[ii] National Retail Federation Holiday Planning Playbook July 2017, https://nrf.com/system/tdf/Documents/retail%20library/NRF%202017%20Holiday%20Planning%20Playbook.pdf?file=1&title=2017%20Retail%20Holiday%20Planning%20Playbook
5 Reasons Your Business Needs an App
1. Keeping up with the times
Successful businesses are no strangers to the benefits of mobile apps. According to data collected by Biznessapps, nearly half of small businesses are expected to adopt a mobile app by the end of 2017. Apps provide an innovative mobile experience for customers that can be as unique as your business.
2. Solidify your brand
When a business creates an app, they are investing in their brand by improving recognition. Even when users aren’t directly interacting with your app, they see the icon on their mobile device. This serves as a visual reminder of your company which can lead to more sales. Competitors are aware of this and the trend of mobile apps is still on the rise.
An app is open 24/7 which means customers can access your goods and services at any time. By learning more about users and their preferences through app activity, you can also better target your audience. Increasing efficiency and catering to consumer needs will make your customers happier!
4. Provide value to your customers
Apps are often designed with incentives for loyal customers. Discount codes or reward points are only one example of how a business can retain their customer base through an app. Making it easy to connect with your brand will also provide value.
Apps are created to make a customer’s life easier, make the customer happy, entertained or are usually a tool. All of these things add value to the customers life. In return, through incentives and small surveys/questionnaires on an app businesses can receive feedback on their service as well as help them better understand and target their future audience.
5. Engage with your customers
Mobile apps receive a higher level of engagement than regular websites. This is a perfect platform to promote products or services, highlight special deals, offer discounts etc. Push notifications and social media channels through your app also provide additional ways to interact with customers.
Whether you love it or hate it, these tips will make writing content easier and more effective.
1. As much as you don't want to, create outlines.
Creating outlines can be daunting, but they’re worth the time spent. Focus on these few questions when brainstorming about your future blog article.
2. Set deadlines and stick to them.
It's easy to lose track of time when writing. In your next session, record how long it actually takes you to complete a post. This will allow you to budget time effectively in the future and work on becoming more efficient. After you have a schedule, shave off a few minutes on each task to challenge yourself.
3. Write about what you know.
Deeply familiarize yourself with a topic to establish credibility with your audience and to provide valuable content. Readers aren't going to waste time on a post if it seems vague, confusing, or inaccurate. Explore online forums to see what topics your direct audience is curious about to create content that is filling a void.
4. Use action words.
Motivate readers to action by making it easy for them to follow through on suggestions. Avoid salesy language and always be clear and concise. Adding visual content to demonstrate actions can also increase chances of users heeding your advice.
5. Include data and statistics.
It's all about the numbers. Adding stats can help build credibility by supporting your writing with clear-cut facts. They also make great headlines. Grab a user’s attention with some eye-popping stats to increase chances of your post being read.
Now, set the timer and begin writing effectively!
Utilize SEO to Increase Blog Post Rankings
Applying these 5 effective tips to the back end of your website and written content will get your site noticed and increase search rankings.
First and foremost, be sure to write captivating headlines to attract readers attention. Next, format headlines for search engines using the <h1> header tag. This will improve your ranking over other headlines that only do one or the other.
2. Title Tags
Title tags are by far the most important element for SEO because they identify your topic and theme to the audience through HTML. Title tags are displayed in the search bar of your web browser and help users find your website through post relevancy. Make sure your title tags are not more than 55 characters or they will get cut off in search engine algorithms.
3. Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are a snapshot of text to entice users to click on your web link. Meta descriptions are shown in search results as a 160 character page summary of the webpage. Descriptions are just as important as titles; they both attract users and encourage them to click to action. Imagine this as an organic ad text for your business viewed by users.
Users need a way to find your posts, and the best way to help them do so is to create keyword enriched content. Keywords are words used to describe your business or products in a search engine. Including these words and phrases in your content can easily connect you with your audience. Do not mistake this for keyword stuffing, which is when titles, descriptions and page listings are filled with an excess amount of keywords to trick search algorithms. This dangerous practice will ultimately ruin your ranking because search algorithms will identify your page as spam.
Link new and old content posts to one another, along with product pages too! This will be helpful to users who are browsing for relevant content and encourage users to trust your business as a source.
The stats say it all... Having a mobile app can only benefit your business. Watch your brand grow once creating an app, we can help you do so!
Qinghua Lao & ERC team