Engagement Marketing

young consumer excitement

Unlike traditional approaches to marketing where you specifically target prospects with direct response offers, engagement marketing allows your audience and potential customers to interact with you and shape how they would like to communicate with you.

Engagement marketing begins when an interested person takes an action to begin an interaction with you.

Engagement means someone is interested in listening to you, and you must engage that person in order to achieve your business objective while fulfilling their interest. As a commercial entity you will implement engagement marketing to drive your interested audience toward one of the following two key business objectives:

Cultivate the individual as an advocate of your thought leadership and market image. Advocates will recommend your products and services enthusiastically to their network of friends and business colleagues.
Encourage a dialogue with the individual to help them to make a purchase decision. An engaged customer is likely to become a loyal repeat customer.

Here are easy tips on engagement marketing to attract customers:

  • Develop an engagement strategy – To be successful you must prepare a clear plan and approach for your engagement marketing. Your plan will have to include how you will reach out to your listeners and how you will be able to respond and interact with your engaged participants.
  • Integrate with your marketing mix – All aspects of your marketing communications mix should include a ‘call to action’ for engagement from simply requesting comments or postings at your blogs or forums to encouraging reviews on your products and services.
  • Focus on content and relationship – Focus on relevant and interesting content as the key to engaging with your audience. Understand that building genuine relationships with content that is important to the individual is the best way to achieving the two key business objectives for engagement marketing.
  • Promote subscriptions – Use permission based techniques to encourage subscriptions with optimized web forms, RSS registrations, refer to a friend and social network sharing.
  • Invite listeners to interact with your Blog – Establish a culture and enthusiasm for engagement by encouraging your listeners to contribute with comments, suggestions and even as guest writers to broaden the points of view and resources available to your connected community.
  • Conduct surveys and polls – Run frequent surveys to give opportunities to initiate engagement while learning from and about your listening community. Use a surveys or web polls to start the dialogue that is relevant to the individual.
  • Engage with social networking – If you have not heard of Face Book, MySpace or Twitter that are behind the social networking phenomena, you must not waste anymore time, go straight to these sites and understand how these sites that are capturing literally mil¬lions of people who are actively engaging on these sites every day. These sites work because social networking communities need to share and want to know what their circle of friends and relatives are up to. Find out how you can leverage the engagement and sharing of your content using these social networks.

Remember, once you have an interested community engaging with you, make sure you keep the lines of communication going, learn and adjust your strategy to ensure your engagement marketing will delivery bottom-line results to your business by increasing your customer base and repeat sales from your engaged customers.

Digital Marketing

Web design for achieving better results.

Time to Grow Up

Twenty years after the first banner ads popped up online, digital marketing is still in its infancy, according to a recent study from A.T. Kearney and the University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business.

[source: A.T. Kearney] Digital media spending will reach $234 billion in 2015, and within two years, it is projected to eat up half of overall marketing budgets. At the same time, the number of ad blockers globally grew by 69 percent last year, suggesting that more consumers are rejecting digital messages. The loss of advertising revenue as a result of ad blocking is estimated to be $22 billion, or about 10 percent of spending. If this trend continues, which is likely given Apple’s recent incorporation of ad-blocking technology in mobile devices, the loss could reach $75 billion in three years. In addition, waste from ad fraud caused by bot networks amounts to $45 billion.

Six moves can help companies reach best in class for digital marketing:

Move from singular to social. Social media is too often used in a traditional way. Out of the top 50 global brands, 19 still show consumers a filtered selection of the posts on their Facebook wall, according to our study. While that is an improvement from 44 brands two years ago, a massive opportunity still exists to harness the full potential of social networks to engage hyper-connected consumers.

Pay for what you get. Know what you get out of your digital efforts and how that compares to your competition. Then pay only for the impact. In other words, move from pay-for-action to pay-for-result, similar to trends in fields such as law firms and consulting.

Organize your house. Although digital moves fast, marketing is on a “fast trigger”—it should be integrated not only with overall brand objectives, but also with sales, aftersales, customer care, and loyalty strategies as consumer interactions across the entire journey become more digital. In most cases, digital marketing is either fast or integrated because of functional silos and a lack of overarching strategies. Having clear accountability, decision-making rights with budget ownerships, and shared objectives across functions can help overcome this.

Move from centers of excellence to widespread expertise. More than half of companies plan to hire digital experts from technology start-ups in the next 12 months, according to our study. However, while this burst of new talent and specialized experts may be necessary in the short term, the long-term goal should be to embed digital expertise in brand owners. Digital is not a competence, just like TV isn’t one. Rip off the short-term Band-Aid as soon as possible.

Experiment but with discipline. As Twitter and Facebook lose their novelty to newer platforms, continuous and rapid—but structured—experimentation is essential. Don’t give digital a free pass anymore. Establish clear expectations about what to experiment with, pinpoint the right investment, and establish success metrics within a “fail fast, learn fast” culture.

Exploit digital’s true advantage. Understanding each consumer’s unique habits is something marketers only dreamed of five years ago. Now, we can turn a consumer’s digital footprint into personalized and engaging interactions. What is lost in depth of message should be replaced with personalization to achieve the holy grail of marketing: one-on-one dialogue between the brand and the buyer-consumer.

Technology has connected our world.

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The rapid development of business and personal technology has revolutionized our world within the space of a handful of generations.

One of the greatest benefits of this revolution has been the progress made toward an actual global community.

[source: Techi] As our digital world increases in speed and accuracy, people from various nations and cultures have the opportunity to share common experiences almost instantaneously.

1. Conquering Language Barriers

Technology has the ability to unite different cultures through various means. The key variable to this equation is communication. Rising technologies, like NTT Docomo’s Hanashite Hon’yaku, VRI translations, Google Translate, or Microsoft’s work with deep neural networks, are forever altering the way that translation and interpretation from one language to another are accomplished. Nearly instantaneous interpreting is breaking down the barrier of language. Smart devices greatly aid these new language-based technologies in delivering consistent and convenient service. This advancement in technology is only the beginning. The true magnitude of how it will change our daily communication between nations and cultures has yet to be measured.

2. Transforming Global Commerce

Business entities have historically sought ways to leverage each other’s products, services, and technologies to satisfy a local market need. With our emerging global economy, the whole world can be a potential market. Online retailers have utilized personal shopping carts, customer preferences, and focused marketing campaigns to appeal to local audiences, while also allowing customers to choose from products and services offered worldwide. Customers can more thoroughly research their potential purchases to find the best fit for their needs. Retailers can gather information about potential customers to pinpoint interests and trends.

Bank transactions, investment opportunities, and retail sales from only 20 years ago would be nearly unrecognizable in today’s digitally-driven economic world. The sheer speed of technology-based communication and product/service delivery has propelled international and domestic trade possibilities. Of course, with varying national economies being so closely knit, the rise or fall of financial institutions can have an astonishing impact on the occasionally precarious balance between global and local commerce.

3. Methods of Conducting Business

The world’s boardrooms and conference centers have also been greatly impacted by forward-thinking communication tools. Whether a business is centered in a small town in the middle of America or a rushing metropolis like Tokyo, it can possess the same capabilities to conduct business with partners around the globe. Skype, email, and presentation tools like GoToMeeting can make instant communication and organized meetings possible. Skype is the world’s telephone; it’s the access point where everyone can be connected. While many companies still depend on face-to-face meetings, the rising costs of travel may soon make the digital conference or meeting the standard for business. The convenience and savings that are possible with the aid of advanced technology are convincing, at the very least.

4. Establishing Personal Connections

The very nature of personal connection has been revolutionized by social interfaces like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. In many ways, this aspect of technology may have influenced personal communication and business opportunities more in the past decade than any other advancement. Through this networked technology, new modes of language, marketing, and instant global awareness have been achieved. The daily lives and interactions of people have been transformed by the seemingly simple idea of delivering a message electronically.

The role technology has played in the global landscape cannot be overstated. The result of these increasingly convenient, quick, and affordable advances is a more united world. People of various nations, languages, and cultures have the element of technology as a binding force. Past debates, centered on technology’s effects, focused on how these advances could lead to more isolation across the board. On the contrary, the 21st century promises a much more aware and connected world than many people could have ever imagined.

Digital Marketing on a Shoestring Budget

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If you’re a startup with a tight budget, digital marketing offers you more than traditional marketing routes.

Simon Burckhardt, UK managing director at Vonage, shares practical tips to make a big online impact with limited budget.

“A few things have been learned from our small and home business customers about online marketing on a shoestring. The biggest challenge for startups is how to attract new customers with limited time and resources, but the good news is that you don’t need to be a marketing guru or have a big budget to get your new business off to a flying start.” — Simon Burckhardt

Know your customers

Ask yourself what you know about your target customers, where they live, what their lifestyles are and their interests. Tools like Alexa help you discover where they visit on the Web and social networks, while free data from Google Trends will help you discover what they’re searching for.

Get blogging

Blogging is a free and powerful way to get your business noticed and scores highly in SEO (search engine optimization) terms by pushing your site up search rankings. Plus, you don’t need to be a star writer to get started:

  • Do research on social media, search engines or question and answer Websites like Yahoo Answers to see what your customers are looking for
  • Tools like BuzzSumo can help you generate blog ideas that are popular and current
  • Check other industry blogs to find hot topics; can you give a fresh insight?
  • Give your opinion on industry news or data from surveys and polls

Build an audience by contributing to other popular blogs and Websites. Guest blogging will generate inbound links to your Website, build brand awareness, help associate your business with the prestige of popular blogs and drive leads, Website traffic and social media buzz.

Be social: start and join conversations

A study by the Internet Advertising Bureau found that almost 80% of consumers would buy more often because of a brand’s presence on social media. On networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you can interact directly with target customers, but remember that social is about people. Your prospects want engaging conversations, not product promotions. It’s about listening too, so you can join a conversation about your industry or brand at the right moment.

Build your email marketing list

Email is a direct way to stay in touch with prospective customers and convert qualified leads into sales. To build your email marketing list, you must first win people’s trust and consent to be contacted. Offering a free download of an eBook, podcast or information sheet “in exchange for an email address,” is the best way to start an opt-in email list and make sure your emails aren’t rejected as spam. Email is also a perfect way to share news about your latest products, services and promotions.

Images speak louder than words

According to Internet marketers HubSpot, Facebook posts with photos get 53% more likes than text-only posts. You can create lots of great content without reaching for the dictionary.

Create infographics that go viral

An eye-catching infographic has a much better chance of going viral than text content, which means a potential marketing bonanza for you. You don’t have to be a design wizard either. If you’ve got a good idea, services like Piktochart offer easy design templates for free or little cost.

Make YouTube videos to boost search rankings

Did you know that YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google? YouTube videos get automatic priority in Google search listings and these days it’s easy to create low-cost but high-quality video. Do you know if your customers search for “how-to guides” on YouTube? If so, making a tutorial video will give you quick wins in traffic and visibility and it’ll be popular on your social media channels.

Use SEO to get ahead of competitors

Getting your business as high as possible up the search listings will boost your search engine traffic, which means free marketing and potential sales. If you convince search engines that your Website is the most relevant site for your targeted keywords, you’ll get a consistent flood of traffic. Investing in paid search will help drive increase traffic to your site which can result in an increase of organic visitors via SEO. You can do basic SEO yourself for free, but search engines are growing increasingly sophisticated, so consider the benefits of paying an SEO specialist.