Email; The Lazy Person’s Digital Marketing Tactic

Think back to your early days of dating. You meet a great person and they happily provide their contact information in hopes of getting together soon. After you get home you call them. Then call again the next day. And the day after. And the day after. Wait, you shouldn’t do that! So why do so many companies think this is ok when we provide our contact information to them?

Email Marketing Is Great

Let us start with the good. There are few mediums out there where you have the ability to easily craft a specific message for a specific customer. Yes, display, text, social, and direct mail all have these capabilities, but email makes targeting easy. If you have obtained an email address it is typically because someone has given consent for you to contact them. Through tools such as MailChimp, Marketo, Constant Contact and others you can have emails sent automatically that are dynamically created to fit these customer’s specific needs. So the contact gave you consent and then you followed that by creating an email that matched their needs, reaching their direct inbox in seconds. Now that is powerful!

Stop Being Lazy Email Marketers!

Just this morning I received three emails from various arms of an organization I am intimately involved with. Yesterday I received just as many. None are connected. None speak to my specific interests of the organization. None get me excited about the brand. But I should not pick on a single brand. Recently I purchased furniture from a large online retailer. Since that purchase I have gone back to view other items that I may wish to purchase. As I browse the emails cometh at a rate of at least two per day. Again, no connection to me nor my browsing behavior other than simply reminding me that I browsed a product or category.

It’s Time To Do Better

Here are some keys to being a responsible email marketing guru;

  • Stop sending multiple emails per day; Send one that is a collection of the customer’s interests (and maybe only send 2-3 per week)
  • Make a connection; Put on your public relations hat and spark some emotion
  • Use retargeting less creepily; leverage other tactics to hammer the brand home, just don’t think that email is the only tool you have

Treat your email contact list just like that first phone number you received. You want to show you’re interested without being pushy. You want to remind them without smothering them. Be protective of your lists and remember that they receive tons of messages from others every day. In order to stand out be the one that communicates better than the rest!

Remarketing Without Stalking

I had multiple conversations on my annual tuna fishing trip (Bluefin Strategy… get it?) regarding what it is we do here. Inevitably someone always asks; “Wait, do you create those creepy ads that follow me around the web?” While we don’t create ads here we do advise on the strategies that may drive consumers to convert. Part of that strategy is always trying to get visitors back to your site who may not have converted the first time.

How Remarketing Works

It pretty simple. When a visitor comes to your website and either views a page or takes an action you attach a cookie to their browser. That cookie stays attached to the browser and as that visitor navigates other websites the ad servers see the cookie and serve up your ad to them. Additionally, email remarketing is a slightly less creepy version of this concept, but obviously requires you to have a visitor’s email address on file.

Remarketing Without Stalking Tip #1

Ecommerce sites are the worst at stalking in my opinion because the lazy programmatic ads that they run simply just show you a few products you looked at, inviting you to return to purchase. If they instead made a more personal message pushing the product benefits or promotional aspects I would consider that less ‘creepy’. Even less ‘creepy’ might be simple brand reminders; “Hey, remember us, we’re cool!” Certainly leverage the benefits of programmatic advertising, but do not be the lazy ones simply showing a product feed.

Remarketing Without Stalking Tip #2

Remember email? Ya, that thing everyone said was dead (side note; direct mail is still an amazingly viable marketing medium I might add, and that was declared dead in like 1997). There are some great programs such as MailChimp, HubSpot, Marketo and others that allow for easy remarketing via email.  First step, PLAN! Devise visitor segments, then develop a drip strategy (eg: how many emails will you send and when) with highly targeted messaging. Don’t go crazy, but 3-4 segments with 3-4 email messages is most likely sufficient.

Why is this less creepy? Well, because in order for us to send an email to a person we had to collect their email address so unless you acquired that address through shady means (DON’T do that by the way) that visitor should be expecting some sort of interaction from you. Don’t be pushy in your email, just simply invite them back, start adding in promotions, then if they don’t bite leave them alone.

Everyone should be doing some level of remarketing to visitors who don’t convert. It is super easy and the tools mentioned above make it even easier to automate the process. We have seen clients grow conversions by 10-20% simply by adding some level of remarketing to their digital strategy plan and it’s about time you followed suit!

Don’t Bother Me, I’m At Work

Targeting can be so granular these days. A lot of marketers we talk to use “targeting” as a sort of new buzzword to show how cutting edge they are. Big data didn’t help that conversation because now you’re almost forced into some level of hyper-targeting. The problem is that being too specific can really backfire on your marketing efforts.

I Know Where You Live

As a previous customer of yours you may have my home address and thus can target me in some very specific ways. Lets say you live in Arvada, CO with a zip code of 80001. If I target the Denver DMA I will reach you, but what if I want to hype up a new store opening in your city? Maybe I target all customers in the city of Arvada. Or even more granular, maybe I target by zip code. This is all possible of course, but what if you are a restaurant hyping your lunch specials?

But Are You Home?

In the above example I might send that customer a message about our great lunch special, but alas, they aren’t home. Instead they are at work, in an office out in downtown Denver and absolutely not willing to drive home for a simple lunch special. Thus my efforts would be wasted because even though that message may reach that customer it is absolutely not the right time nor is it the right message.

What Am I To Do?

When you strategize your marketing plan you must consider these things. Instead of using a zipcode database maybe you use geo-targeting by text or mobile display ads? Or, maybe you push a breakfast or dinner special instead? If you don’t think through when and how your message will be received you are risking A) wasted efforts/money and B) making your customer mad and unsubscribing. So target wisely and remember that just because you CAN doesn’t always mean you SHOULD.

Digital Strategy on Vacation

Bluefin Strategy came to be because of our love for fishing, well that and it was an available domain name. Never the less tomorrow Bluefin Strategy embarks on a much needed tuna fishing vacation. While our minds drift to the thoughts of fresh sashimi and tuna salad we must first make sure all our ducks are in a row on the work front. We all need time away and so here’s a quick guide to remind you of things to take care of before you power off and how marketing automation can keep your mind focused on the beach!

Pay Per Click (PPC) Automation

If you run pay per click advertising make sure that you set up any rules that you may have otherwise been doing manually. Turning off and on keywords, raising bids at certain times, and many more tasks can be automated through AdWords’ automated rules. Also, take one last look through your keywords and ads to make sure you aren’t targeting anything vague. Vacation is not the time to be testing out brand new ideas!

Content Strategy, Blog Posting & Social Media Scheduling

Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you can’t publish content! And no, I don’t recommend posting content after a few Alabama Slammers. Most Content Management Systems allow for future postings, so you can write the content piece before you leave and schedule it to post when you’re gone. The downside to this is that you’re posting something while you’re gone and technically “something” could be incorrect. Well, that’s why you triple-checked the content before clicking “schedule post”, right? Everything I just mentioned, do it all the same for your Social Media posts as well (NOTE: Many CMS’s automatically push new blog or page content to Social Media platforms, does yours?).

Email Marketing Scheduling

Combine the powers of automated rules and content scheduling and you have the tools available to you in most email marketing platforms. It’s time to do a double-check and make sure the messages are correct, in a particular order, and all links point to the right location. Any automated emails through forms or CRM’s should also be double-checked (eg: did you properly get submissions yesterday and today?).

Gone Fishin’

There isn’t really much to do with Display, nor do you have much need for auto reports from your analytics platform. Go enjoy your vacation and have peace of mind that you took all the strategic steps to ensure your web strategy keeps on truckin’ while you do… well, whatever it is you do on vacation!

We all need help!

Digital Marketing HelpI had a conversation with a small business the other day where after presenting them with several issues that are easily fixed on their website the marketing person responded with, “ya we know all of that”. I guess this is why so many of us keep driving the car despite the engine light shining a Texas orange glow on the dash? How is it possible that in today’s landscape a business can dismiss such easy wins? Below I will outline a few of the common issues with the digital marketing landscape and how to overcome them with a digital strategy partner.

Lack of Knowledge

Many marketers in top positions have come from the Baby Boomer generation and haven’t grown up in the digital world. This isn’t bad, it just means there’s a larger learning curve, and we always fear what we don’t know. Another thing I have seen in my career is that many marketers don’t want to rock the boat for fear of getting the ax. Therefore, they just do the same things every year and don’t worry about upsetting what might be ‘sort of’ working today. Trying small things can reap huge benefits, but the quickest is implementing web analytics on your site complete with Event Tracking and Campaign Tracking Variables included. This is all offered free by Google and has very minimal upfront cost when working with a knowledgeable small agency to implement a rock solid analytics strategy. Knowledge equals power and web analytics provides it!

Lack of Time

There are hundreds of mediums and tactics to get your marketing message out there. Just within the digital marketing world there is SEO, PPC, Email Marketing, Social Media… etc. Many marketers today have a traditional and digital mix and really don’t have the time (or so they think) to monitor all of these moving pieces. Therefore they simply dip their toe in the water or keep it out all together, meaning not much attention is being paid and the results will suffer. Once web analytics are implemented on the site automatic reports can be setup to show how your inbound marketing is performing as well as where abandonment points may be on your website. This may take a couple of hours upfront, but then the reports are ‘set it and forget it’. Yes you still have to read them, but you won’t have to dig for the data every month to see what is working and what is not. Now you can answer with certainty to the question “what is our best online marketing medium”.

Lack of Money

When you add the word ‘digital’ to anything everyone expects the price tag to jump wildly. And in many companies’ defense digital agencies have been taking advantage of them for years with high margins and outrageously padded proposals. It’s like your electrician. If he charges you $50,000 for a job and says it will take 3 weeks you say, “OK, if that’s what it takes”. The truth is that many companies can get real digital strategy help for as little as $500 a month or quarter. Obviously the greater investment the greater the return, but the point is that it doesn’t have to be an ‘all in’ approach when it comes to your digital marketing investment. Additionally, many companies often think they need to spend $60,000 or more bringing on an internal resource. The point is, for a small investment (as little as just $2,000 per year) you can have a digital partner by your side guiding your digital initiatives and ensuring that your strategy is optimized and driving conversion success!

Bringing it all together

You don’t have to save the world all alone. I personally know nothing about an electrical circuit breaker and my electrician knows nothing of web analytics. But I also know that when I need an electrician I go for a small shop with a person I trust rather than some large regional company. My needs are smaller and therefore I want someone on that level. Hiring a digital strategy company is no different. On the flip side, larger companies can benefit from bringing on smaller agencies with lower costs for better resources. Many large agencies hire young kids out of college, so you’re paying top dollar for junior talent. You want a firm that understands that you do not have the knowledge, the time, nor the resources to do this on your own. Bringing on a digital marketing agency helps you focus on what you’re good at and lets them focus on what they are good at, driving website success!