The dos and don'ts of digital
- 19 April 2018
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From omnichannel engagement to mobile-first strategy and analytics, we look at the best practice to provide your organisation with a strong foundation for digital marketing
Follow the customer
There’s no point trying to engage your customer with offers and eye-catching graphics if they’re not active on a channel, so before you commit to a campaign, ensure they’re present on your channel of choice. Track them through time, too, following the customer journey from pre-engagement through to beyond the sale itself. This will provide insight that will you with future targeting, and build customer loyalty.
Make it mobile
It’s over two years since Google defined the age we live in as one in which we seek information, make discoveries and take decisions in the ‘micro-moment’. According to Forbes, 87% of connected devices sales this year will be smartphones and tablets – and your digital presence should reflect this. Responsive web design isn’t just about making content clearly visible on small screens either, it’s about page load times. Only fast-loading pages stop customers from scrolling on by, or leaving your page for good.
Re-engage and re-target
Deliver the right message at the right time to an engaged audience and your advertising isn’t likely to annoy your potential customer. Customers use the internet to browse (a web browser is called just that for a reason) and generally don’t object to being served ads that remind them of products they have expressed an interest in but haven’t yet purchased. Conversions rarely happen on the first visit to a website, and cart abandonment rates remain high across online retail. So don’t be shy in coming forward and reminding consumers of the product they viewed and keeping your offer fresh in their minds.
Digital marketing is about building relationships over time – and that means in consumers’ own time, and in their own private spaces. In effect, you’re a guest in their lives. This means you must be friendly and polite, uphold their house rules and know not to overstay your welcome. In practice it means liking, sharing, and commenting on the things they like and do, demonstrating what a supportive friend you are, and how intuitive and helpful you can be, and that you understand their habits, needs and desires and can provide real value through your offering, as and when they need it. This is a long-term project, not a quick-win campaign.
Do it just because you can
Digital marketing is often seen as a quick and cheap means of engaging customers. It can be, but that’s not reason enough to do it. Effectiveness is what you are looking for, so don’t waste time building an inventive Snapchat campaign or hiring a band of influential Tweeters as brand ambassadors just because you can. Focus on the channels and touchpoints that are likely, based on analysis, to deliver the best results.
Take a one-size-fits-all approach
A multichannel digital marketing plan might encompass your responsively designed website, plus social channels including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. However, it is important to make sure that your content isn’t distributed evenly across them. People use different channels in different ways, and the type of content and communications you create should be tailored to each. This might mean a focus on engaging copy on Facebook, speed of response to queries on Twitter, and using influencers on Instagram. Your audience are likely to vary across channels, too, so always make sure you know exactly who you are speaking to, and why.
Forget the old ways
In digital, there’s always buzz around the latest trends and technological innovations. A few years ago, it was Vine videos and iBeacons, then it was Snapchat, Pokémon Go and Facebook Live. Exciting, perhaps, but don’t forget that sometimes a simple email to a customer, a timely push notification or a well-placed digital ad would be a better use of your budget.
Dismiss the data
A real benefit of digital marketing is being able to track and measure each touch point your brand has with your audience. Use it to build a detailed picture of who that audience is, whether that’s through programmatic marketing software, Google Analytics, or Twitter or Mailchimp email data. Data analysis should never come after the event, it should be the basis for the marketing activity itself, to use it from the start and hardwire it into every aspect of your marketing.
Find out how you can develop your skills to create a solid digital marketing strategy with the CIM Digital Diploma in Professional Marketing.
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