5 Tweaks in Your Online Marketing Producing the Most Change

By now, everyone has heard the story of how Target uses predictive analytics to better target their customers. So why does Target engage in predictive marketing? Is it worth their time and money?

Online Marketing SuccessAs an outsider, you can only measure their success through company growth. Understanding how much of that growth is attributable to analytical efforts is known only to those inside the company.

I have seen small changes in ad copy increase conversions by 50%. The fact is that every company has a set of marketing levers they can tweak to improve performance. Target may have the resources to become optimal, but small businesses can make use of powerful yet simple tools and tactics and still achieve higher results.

Below is a consolidation of channels and improvement guidelines where I have seen the most potential for growth.

Update Your Email Marketing

Email marketing commonly becomes a routine to the marketer. Therefore the offers and driving content usually becomes boring and repetitive.

According to this study by Exact Target, the 2nd most important reason people unsubscribe is that the content becomes repetitive.

To avoid falling under this trap, marketers should consider creating various types of offers to each of their customer segments, at different times during the relationship.

A,B,C testing all the offers, imagery and content helps you understand what works and what doesn’t so you can disregard those without much success and continue to use the most popular ones. Small changes in click-through rates can significantly increase sales and conversion rates.

Check Your Frequency

The problem of mass email is twofold. Consumers are bombarded with emails and retailers cannot capture well the consumers’ attention. Opting out of newsletters and offers has become a common practice and it is estimated that 15% of people once on your list will opt out.

According to the study cited above, the top reason is “email came too frequently.” You have data on how often people purchase and what content drives engagement.

A simple segmentation exercise based on last customer interaction, products purchased, and response history can provide insight on the ideal frequency for each customer.

Ad Placement is Key

The websites your ads appear on and page placements are the two main factors of click-through success. It’s been found that ads that appear above the fold and seven times more successful than those delivered below the fold.

Frequency turns out to be very successful. Ads shown 5 or more times to a user are 12 to 14 times more successful than ads shown less than 5 times.

I personally witnessed significant increases in click-through rates as a database marketing consultant. Simple tweaks in messaging and location improved our conversions and lowered costs. Trial and error is key in understanding what drives people to your sight.

Keyword Selection

Keyword research is more of an art than science (although everything can be measured online.) Search is becoming very specific when people look for a specific product for their needs. Many of these keywords go unnoticed by vendors. These are likely to be cheaper, drive less traffic, but provide higher conversion rates.

There are many analytical tools to measure keyword success so there is no gut feeling. If you clearly see that a keyword drives more that 85% away then one would want to adjust.

By continually adjusting, you will find the right set of keywords and messaging needed to position yourself in a stronger position than your competitors.

Content is Still King

What you put on your email newsletter, offers, website, blog, and even ads is the most important aspect of any campaign. Companies like Target cited above understand this concept very well: “The right content at the right time.”

In the article it said that Target even purposely sent offers about un-targeted products so it didn’t concern the shopper of privacy issues.

The secret to good content is adding value first. A coupon or offer can be helpful when one is in the market for a specific product and the coupon has the right price and ease of purchase.

Other times, marketers need to engage the customers by sending important and useful information. This is where you develop your customer life cycle campaign.

Content and messaging directed at increasing trust and engagement in a brand in pursue of a purchase at a later stage.

Marketing is about execution, trial and error, and value creation. Big ideas come from creative minds and having a high quality product still triumphs, but there are various levers to adjust and improve results. Continually study your online measurements, try new ideas, and be flexible to adjust.

Jaime Brugueras the CEO of Mineful – a customer retention and analysis software. Jaime writes frequently about marketing analysis, customer retention, and email marketing. He has been published in several industry publications including eCommerce Times. Follow Mineful on Twitter for industry insight and conversations.

How Internet Marketing Industry will Fare in 2012?

Internet Marketing 2012The Internet is a buzz these days with various Internet marketing predictions for 2012. Since we are Internet marketers ourselves, we thought to write about what we think will help to make money online in 2012 for Internet marketers specifically.

Internet Marketing Predictions for 2012

1. Traffic through Video Marketing

Cisco predicts that in the next 3 years, online video marketing will account for at least 90 percent of all Internet traffic. This means that we will be moving from “written content” to “picture content.”

While this may spell disaster for small-time content developers, this is an opportunity in disguise as they can broaden their skills with video content development.

For Internet marketers, we all know how the visual appeal works wonders for us so we definitely think this is going to be a positive trend.

2. Google’s Love!

Google shows its love towards us with bans and restrictions. We expect Google to come out with more restrictions in 2012 that will help to clean the Internet of inaccurate search engine rankings, sole keyword based domain names, and focus more on authentic content creation.

A latest Infographic.com data shows that Google still earns 97% of its revenue from advertisement so we can also expect that it will modify the search engine algorithms in a better way to reach a targeted audience.

3. Facebook IPO 2012

This is a touchy and confusing issue. Will Facebook IPO be successful or fade away like Groupon did after launching their IPO in 2011? Nevertheless, we can only hope that this new IPO will be positive for Internet marketers because lately, we have begun to depend on Facebook for business leads and conversion.

If Facebook promises highly targeted user information with its IPO announcement, it will create opportunities for us to cash in.

4. Blogging goes fully Mobile

Me and Joni were checking out some new ways to promote our blog when the WordPress page for mobile users came up. After reading in detail how the WordPress platform can be fully accessible though various mobile platforms like Android, iOS and Blackberry, we think 2012 will be a year when a large number of bloggers will take to mobile blogging.

This means a few things:

  • 24×7 anytime blogging
  • Connectivity between Internet marketers and publishers will strengthen
  • Good business opportunity for content developers
  • Internet marketing business can be optimized anytime

5. Common Social Media Monitoring Tool

Even today we have to Login to various social media platforms to promote and share content. Yes, we do have congregation tools like HootSuite but they don’t work always when someone has a huge web presence.

Ideally, if there will be a tool or plugin with Gmail as the center point and connected to all other chosen social media sites, it would have been ideal. In other words, just logging into Gmail would give us access to every social media account we have…let’s see if someone is able to do that in 2012.

6. Heavy focus on Social SEO

Now that Google has begun crawling social media sites to rank websites and blogs, we can hope that the service is further refined to include every kind of relevant social media content to determine a website or blog’s ranking.

Ideally, this should have started in the beginning of 2011 when the importance of social media in small businesses was becoming more prominent but anyways, better late than never.

7. Find Voice with G+

The more I read about G+, I am spellbound and awed. Even though we share published content on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, we often find difficulty in deciding on an editorial voice, which G+ seamlessly makes it easier.

G+ is a platform that is both professional and personal at the same time, and both the sides remain apart, which has recently been missing from Facebook and Twitter. We can unanimously agree that Facebook doesn’t give the personal feel that it used to previously and Twitter, as far as I am concerned, has turned purely business oriented.

8. Micro-Blogging

Major media organizations now think that publishing on smaller alternatives of WordPress and Blogger like Tumblr gives them better scalability and response. This can be because content readers mostly ‘scan’ the page for information so what’s the point in writing 2000-3000 word long articles?

Even Obama is using Tumblr in his re-election campaign. Micro blogging platforms keeps the content short and meaningful. However, we cannot discredit the power of macro blogging through WP or Blogger.

In 2012, a large number of bloggers will take to both macro and micro blogging.

9. Long Tail vs. Short Tail

After the Panda update, Google made it clear that only those websites who score high on engagement level will get the top place. Therefore, if you are planning to get good results with obscure term usage, forget about it.

Long tail keywords are more relevant for Google and be sure to include them in future 2012 blogs.

To monitor the improvement, keep a tab on the bounce rate through Google Analytics and keep improving the engagement related metrics accordingly.

Forget short tail keywords, use the long tail ones.

10. Schedule Posts and Social Media Connect

Unless you are covering breaking news throughout the day, small business owners need to understand the importance of scheduling posts at least three months in advance. I agree this is nothing new because people have been doing it for the last 2 years but more people need to join in 2012.

There are various tools out there which will help you to optimize the content and automatically spread it on social media sites as soon as the posts are published.

Scheduling posts is not that easy because you have to take care of three things:

  • What does the reader want to read?
  • What is the best time to publish posts? (Ideally the time when your site receives heavy traffic on any given day)
  • What method you are using to build user-blog communication?

This is important for small businesses so that they can concentrate on other business aspects.

That’s the end of it for today. We will update the list if we come across any new trends.

What is your take on this? How do want your Internet marketing business to shape up in 2012?