By: Priscilla Salmasi
We’re halfway through the year and as a business owner; you may be evaluating your marketing strategy thus far to see what has worked, what hasn’t worked so well and how to improve your efforts. Small businesses often want and need the latest tactics in marketing but may not have the time to attend large conferences where these methods are discussed. The marketing team at Veugeler Design Group was in attendance at the 2016 Digital Summit Atlanta – the regions largest gathering of digital marketing industry leaders and are pleased to bring you some key takeaways regarding the latest in digital marketing.
1. Email Marketing is (Still) Huge
Email marketing is alive and well – it’s simply moved from desktop to mobile. There is a lot of power in a well- crafted email and one thing is for sure, businesses can directly connect to their clients, past and current, through an email campaign. First thing’s first, always legitimately acquire your email lists, never purchase a list and do not mass email those you don’t have permission to. Sending email to an address that has not opted in to your list can hurt you more than help. Mail clients such as MailChimp and Constant Contact can suspend your account – making it difficult to bounce back when that happens. By crafting a purposeful email and sending it to the right email addresses within your list, it can be well worth the return. Don’t be afraid of people unsubscribing, it’s worse to end up in spam. Offer a customer the option to reduce the amount of emails they receive or receive emails by topic instead of unsubscribing completely.
2. Video Goes Beyond YouTube
Customers want to put a face to a name and video is a perfect way to make that happen. Recording a video can feel intimidating for those who are not comfortable on camera, but there are ways to ease that tension. Bright lights, green screens and a lot of people watching can cause anxiety, so make it a simple process. Have one person with a simple camera, and use natural lighting to make for a more comfortable setting. Video can be very powerful and reassuring if you’re struggling to sell a “ boring” product or if customers feel uncomfortable in the buying process. When a video is accompanied with a product online, purchases are up to 30% more likely to happen. So, put yourself and your product out there and reap the benefits.
3. Customer Service is Going Social
Many companies are offering social media as an alternative to calling and speaking with a representative. Although some customers still want to speak with a person directly to resolve an issue or issue a complaint, millennials especially will take their concerns to the internet first, particularly through social media. One speaker at the conference made the claim that customer service will be completely social within the next two years. Yes, you read that right, two years! Many companies are already taking that step; take Humana Insurance for example – their ‘contact us’ page makes it easy for you to get in touch with them by any of their five social networks. They even encourage you to tweet at them for service. A good rule to remember is to handle negative comments privately by inviting the customer to direct message you and keep positive comments public.
4. Think Bigger, Braver, Bolder
Engaging content is more about brains than budget. Your story is what sets you apart. So how do you tell that story? Smart companies do it through content. Smart companies don’t follow trends, they lead them. Bigger context means putting your business into the lives of your audience. Bolder marketing allows you to tell a different story than your competitors. Braver perspective asks who is your company and why do you do what you do? To get the creative juices flowing, ask yourself, if you cover up your logo, would you recognize your company? Focusing on your story and how it relates to your customers helps you build an audience and become a leader in your industry.
5. Social Media Shouldn’t Simply Be A Footnote
Social media is here to stay – even if you don’t think your business needs it or you believe it’s a fad – it’s time to reevaluate your online marketing strategy. The user-generated content on social media is invaluable – it’s where your customers are and where they talk about their favorite brands, products and companies, share information and perform research prior to a purchase. Your business doesn’t have to be on each and every social media platform that’s out there. If you’re new to social media, start with one platform at a time. For a company offering a professional service, that could be LinkedIn, or for a retail business, Instagram may be the best option. Social media is a great place to start a conversation with your current and potential customers; we also encourage you to experiment with social media advertising for an added bang for your buck. Facebook ads can be relatively inexpensive and very targeted to your unique or niche audience.
6. Updating/ Redesigning Your Company’s Website
If a website update is needed for your company, it will more than likely include one or all of the following: 1) A content management system (CMS) change 2) Changing the URLs for your site 3) A redesign of the site, a domain change or moving to a secure site (SSL.) If you need to make more than two of these changes to your company website, give yourself 30 to 60 days in between these changes. Doing more than two of these at a time can have an adverse affect on search engine optimization as well as become overwhelming for your web team and confusing to your customers.
Use these takeaways as a guideline for the remainder of your 2016 marketing program and keep them in mind when planning for next year. Contact Veugeler Design Group for help on implementing one or all of these tactics for your company or business.