Marketing has drastically progressed over the past decade. When once a simple flyer or a highway billboard may have been sufficient, the digital revolution has forced marketers to evolve and adapt along with it. Now, marketers have more tools than ever at their disposal, and through thoughtful execution, they can create the most effective strategies possible.
Generally speaking, good marketing boils down to knowing your target audience and being able to connect with them on a meaningful level. In order to do this, you need to gain useful information—or data—about your consumers. Successful marketers will take this valuable knowledge and use it to develop a powerful strategy that will continually adapt based on the results.
Strong data-driven marketing strategies rely on the insights you gain from your target demographics. There are a variety of ways to obtain the information you need (and these can differ based on your business and intended audience), but the following suggestions are great places to start.
Analytics data is one of the most advantageous marketing tools a brand can have. Over the years, Analytics has become more and more specific, to the point where it is able to give marketers a near complete profile of the people that visit their website and/or social media pages, including details on their purchasing habits.
These visitors provide a great pool from which to draw information about your audiences, and determine if you’re attracting the people you need to be attracting. From age, gender, and location to device, pathway, and page clicks, Analytics gives brands knowledge to leverage to their advantage.
But analytics isn’t just about capturing the right people’s attention, it’s also about creating the best, most personalized shopping experience for customers. Take the British fashion brand Burberry for example, which has created one of the most efficient customer databases in the luxury industry. Their 360 Customer View integrates their online and offline channels to ensure that store employees are always prepared to best service clientele, and that marketers receive an extremely detailed picture of their audience. “Through this data-driven shopping experience, every customer can digitally share their shopping preferences, experiences, and buying history. The information of a particular customer visiting a store can, therefore, be delivered to store employee’s tablets in real time.”
Like most things in life, if you need an answer, the simplest thing to do is to ask the question. Collecting data from your consumers is no exception. Sounds easy enough, right? If you want to gain insight on potential consumers—insight that perhaps goes beyond the bounds of tools such as Analytics—ask them to complete a brief survey, post questions to your social media, and encourage discussions that can shed additional light onto who your consumers are and what they’re looking for. You may be surprised to find just how eager some customers are to offer their opinions! Be sure to listen carefully and translate their answers into actions.
Coca Cola is one of the many big-name brands using data to stay better connected to its customers—and this is why they’ve managed to stay one step ahead of the competition. Even way back in 2015, Justin De Graaf, Director of Data Strategy and Precision Marketing at The Coca-Cola Company, was lauding the many benefits data offers for customer retention. “Data plays an increasingly important role in marketing and product development. Consumers do a great job of sharing their opinions with us – either by phone, email or social networks – that allow us to hear their voice and adjust our approach. We often talk about why we have two ears and one mouth – it’s better to listen more than we speak. This holds true with our approach on consumer input. Data is also helping us create more relevant content for different audiences.”
It’s time for you to play detective. If you want to find out how to best connect with your audience, you need to think like your audience. Put yourself in their shoes. Visit the sites they are likely to visit, read their testimonials, view their comments, look at their complaints, and put together a comprehensive profile that you can then target strategically.
There are plenty of tools that can help you monitor your mentions and view online discussions pertaining to your brand or your competitors. Apps such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Klout, Keyhole and Buffer are just a handful of examples.
Tito’s Handmade Vodka brand uses Sprout Social, and have been happy with what it has helped them accomplish. “Sprout’s analytics let us see what is working–we can listen better to our customers and react appropriately,” says Nicole Brentwood, VP of Brand Marketing, “It’s an incredible platform to get a macro look at what’s happening with your brand’s voice in the social space. It aggregates that information and really creates one solid picture for us to understand the feedback loop.”
This is the part where you determine how these results translate to your marketing strategy, and then implement them accordingly. Use the data you’ve gathered in the various steps above to create a potent marketing strategy. The data should reveal things such as the channels you should be using to best engage with your consumers, what content best captures the attention of your target audience, what your consumers value in their brands, how they prefer to communicate, how often they’re online, etc.
It helps to approach this process in a scientific manner—let the data lead you to your solution. Web marketing strategist Alberto Mariutto writes in an article entitled Digital Marketing: Why a data-driven strategy is fundamental that, “we (marketers) don’t choose which direction to go in: it’s the numbers, the statistics, that decide for us. Our ability lies in identifying the right numbers, reading them correctly, understanding what actions they suggest, and putting them into practice in the best possible way. Everything combined – here and now – with the right dose of creativity.”
It’s essential to remember that your marketing strategy should always be evolving based on what your data results tell you. Careful attention to your analytics and to what your target demographics are saying will help you continually activate the right strategy for your brand, at any given time. With perseverance and adaptability, you’ll be well on your way to optimizing your marketing movements from the inside out.
Ellan Dineen is the Marketing Associate at Design Wizard. When she’s not hard at work in the Marketing Department, Ellan can be found en route to foreign lands with a book in her hand and a podcast in her ear. With a Master’s in English and Diploma in Social Media Marketing, she knows the importance of staying up-to-date with the industry’s latest trends and insights and is keen to pass these tips on to her readers
Google has slowly started sending out this email to Google+ page owners which has left quite a few business owners worried.
It looks like the Google+ page for [business name] has not been used in a while. To simplify your Google My Business listing, we will be removing this additional page from our system in 30 days.
This change won’t affect your Google My Business listing – you can still be found on Google Search and Maps. You can download a copy of your old content before it’s deleted by visiting this page. Alternatively, you can post or comment on someone else’s post within 30 days to keep your Google+ page active.
Your Google My Business team
Please note, this email address is not monitored.”
First of all, this email from Google is completely legitimate. However, there’s nothing to be worried about.
Let’s get a few things straight:
We’re not surprised that Google has decided to move in this direction. A lot of the functionality that was exclusively available through Google+ is now available through GMB.
All in all – we’re happy to see Google move in this direction to remove a lot of the clutter.
Here is the screenshot of actual email from Google.
Google is now rolling out “Mobile First Index”. The roll out is limited to sites that follow best practices for mobile first indexing.
Google has already moved a limited number of sites to mobile first indexing, but this time it’s on a much larger scale.
They confirmed that they will be informing webmasters / site owners about the migration via Google Search Console. So if you are a webmaster or site owner, you might receive a message like this:
Google added that the site owners will see significant increase in crawl rate from the smartphone Google bot. Also, they will show the mobile version in search engine results and cached pages once the migration is completed.
What is mobile-first indexing?
Google says it is about how Google crawls your site. Google will only have one index, but how Google crawls and creates the index will be based on a mobile-first experience going forward. Google wrote:
To recap, our crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page’s content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our — primarily mobile — users find what they’re looking for.
Google has a detailed developer document on mobile-first indexing.
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The brand new Google My Business dashboard is here and people are excited about the new features. Many influential marketers got their hands on the new dashboard about a month ago, and now Google is making it available to other people on…a random basis. Here’s a screenshot of the new Dashboard.
The new Google My Business dashboard boasts many improved features such as:
All users regardless of their size will be using the same interface. It means that you will no longer have to switch between the card and list view.
The new dashboard is easy to navigate, allowing you to view and edit your listings within the same window.
You can now find the posts and insights directly on the side navigation panel.
This one is big. Now adding more listings will not affect the loading speed of the page.
Not sure if you have the latest version of the dashboard? Log in to your account and check if there’s a “Black to Classic GMB” option in the left side navigation menu.
You can now add description of your business directly within Google My Business. It’s not a new feature though. Google removed this feature back in 2016 when they dropped the Google+ support. And now made it available again. This feature offers a hassle free way to keep the information about your business updated and ultimately help the searchers.
Here’s how you can add business description:
The character limit is 750, so make it crisp and engaging. Learn more about it here.
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Many companies have their ways of managing social media use in the workplace. Some block social networks, including Twitter and Facebook, while others allow their employees to log on to these sites during break times. Regardless of these policies, however, businesses have no way of controlling what their employees say about them during non-work hours. This is where problems start for employees and employers.
Research says seven out of ten employees use social networks. These users spend an average of 15 ½ hours on social networking sites monthly. Furthermore, one out of four social network users don’t set their privacy parameters. This means anyone can see their posts on anything – from updates on their busy schedules to complaints about their job. Many employees don’t see any harm in this. It’s their social network, after all; they can say whatever they want to say on it. But can you really?
There are no stopping employees from airing their feelings about their companies on social networks. This is why many businesses are now vigilant in monitoring what their employees say about them online. Sure, the First Amendment protects employees from legal actions of protected speech. This doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t deal with negative effects. Let’s think of it this way, you wouldn’t dare insult your employer to his face, for fear of getting fired. Right? Posting an insult on your social network is quite the same thing.
Here’s what can happen when you vent your dissatisfaction at work on your social networks.
Using social networking sites irresponsibly can cost you your career. Getting fired, however, isn’t the only consequence you have to deal with. You may face lawsuits, especially when you gave away confidential details about your company and their business processes. You may also have a difficult time looking for another job. Apart from monitoring their brands, companies use social networks to find potential employees. When they don’t like what they see on your profile page, they won’t even invite you for an initial interview. Furthermore, many hiring managers conduct online background checks on their future employees. According to a study, about 70% of job recruiters reject applicants after doing online investigations.
Creating a Good Online Persona
Your online profile is an extension of yourself in the real world. What you do on social networks say many things about your personality offline. While your employers can’t control what you post online, your actions can very well shape your career. How you use these social networking sites can either boost or ruin your profession.
It’s easy to create a good online persona. When you can’t stop ranting on social networking sites, think about fixing your privacy setting. This can effectively limit the things you share publicly. It can also prevent future employers from thinking you’ll be a bad hire for their companies. You can get your foot through the door and the chance to let them know you can be an asset to the company. At the end of the day, responsible use of social media can help employers and employees achieve their goals.
Do you want to learn more about social media? Contact us for more information on social media marketing and management.
Top 5 Things to Look for When Hiring An SEO Firm
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves increasing the quality of your website visitors which in turn increases your rankings in search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. SEO is one of the most important elements of your digital marketing strategy. It involves on-page SEO including keyword research and analysis, content relevance and individual webpage optimization as well as off-page SEO including link-building, content marketing and social media. Such activities can bring better quality visitors to your website who are more likely to convert. It will also result in a higher search engine ranking. When someone searches for a keyword in a search engine, they are most likely to choose one of the top organic results on the first page of results. Therefore, it is extremely important for your website to rank highly in order to achieve its maximum potential.
Google Panda and Penguin Algorithm Updates
Google updates its algorithms about 500 times a year. The latest major update – penguin is targeted at web spam. It will punish sites that it believes are violating Googles existing guidelines for quality. For those sites that use black hat SEO practices, they will face a severe penalty if caught.
On the other end of the scale, Google has updated its Panda algorithm again which inflicts site wide penalties. Panda targets sites that aren’t really spammy, but are of inferior quality in their eyes. It’s designed to decrease the rankings for already low quality sites, sites that upload duplicated content, or sites that don’t provide much value for readers. It will increase rankings though for those sites that have original content and good information.
Basically Google wants to increase rankings for the websites that provide decent content, and severely penalize those that try to use black hat techniques to manipulate the SERPs.
SEO really can be a full time job, especially if you want to get it right. Therefore, it can often be easier to leave it to the experts, and they are many of them out there! How do we know how to choose the best SEO firm? There are 5 top things to look for really:
Ask to see previous case studies and testimonials from real life clients so as the company can prove their ability to successfully boost the SEO rankings for a client. Look for definite facts and figures e.g. screen shots of search ranking position over time, 5% increases in revenue and website visitors.
Do they have knowledge of your particular industry? Have they worked with companies who sell similar products or services to yours? If an SEO firm is to be creating content and sourcing quality back-links on your behalf, they need to have some knowledge of your business. For example, there are certain SEO companies who may deal exclusively with those in the production industry. They may deal with several different niches but have knowledge of the generic industry.
Will the SEO firm ensure to communicate all SEO actions? How will they do so – monthly report, weekly meetings? Communication is a key element to ensuring your SEO strategy is being implemented exactly how you want it and as was agreed. Should something topical occur in the news which relates to your business, how are you required to go through this with your account manager? Always ensure to agree to a schedule of meetings or reports that suits your requirements before signing on the dotted line.
Ask the SEO firm to outline exactly what they believe they can do for you. Perhaps have them perform an SEO audit before contracting into any continuous work. Where do they believe your weak spots are and what can they do to improve them? Do they require any additional work from you to achieve higher SEO rankings? Ensure to not only hear what generic SEO services the company offers, but how they can apply these services to boost your business.
How do the SEO firm operate their fees? Some may opt for a basic rate plus performance bonuses once they achieve particular goals. Other may opt for a flat monthly fee regardless. It is important to ensure that the payment schedule suits you and forms a performance initiative for the SEO firm.