The one-to-one marketing capability that comes from the explosion of big data insights provided online through mobile devices and through social media channels is a game changer. The digital footprint of a consumer is growing at an exponential rate, allowing for a true relevant message to be developed for each individual.
Nowhere is the change being felt more than on Madison Avenue and the traditional “mass media” advertising buys. There’s no bigger mass media stage than the Super Bowl, which this past year reached over 108 million people.
Check out my recent article about the convergence of digital marketing and traditional marketing in the biggest game on earth.
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According to a recent Digital Marketing Spending Survey published by Gartner, the world of digital marketing is quickly dividing into the “Haves” versus the “Have Nots”. Currently companies spend over 10% of revenue on marketing and digital marketing commands approximately 25% of the overall marketing budget according to Gartner.
As you might expect, the level of commitment to digital marketing can have a big impact on the investment attached to the digital realm. Companies that employ a dedicated digital marketer spend nearly 10% more of their marketing budget on digital marketing than those without. This certainly makes sense as all forms of online marketing require technical knowledge that is constantly updating. If an organization falls behind in the digital marketing space, it’s easy to lose efficiency and optimization, which can kill return on investment.
According to Gartner, digital marketing spending averages 2.5% of company revenue, with budgets projected to increase 9% this year. In addition, 70% of companies have a Chief Marketing Technologist who can serve as the tip of the spear in terms managing and monitoring all the subcategories within digital marketing. SEO, paid search, social media, analytics and email mail marketing all have seen exponential growth in the tools and technologies available. They’ve also seen drastic changes within the algorithms that dictate response and success. Having a dedicated CMT to analyze and manage the rapid pace of change only makes sense when 25% of the budget is involved.
Another interesting note within the Gartner report is that up to 50% of digital marketing activities are currently outsourced. This shouldn’t be surprising considering the breadth and depth of razor-sharp skills required to be successful within the various digital marketing subcategories. Although a successful digital marketer needs to be well versed in all aspects of digital marketing, it’s virtually impossible to be an expert at email marketing, social media marketing, paid search AND search engine optimization, among others. If you can build and maintain a consistent knowledge base within all aspects of digital marketing, you’re also smart enough to realize the expertise required to optimize, especially in competitive industries.
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With nearly every single action that you take being tracked, databased and subsequently archived, your life history is taking shape in the digital world. Check our my latest article on how the intersection of big data and digital marketing is drastically changing the way CMOs and businesses think and react.
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If much of digital marketing is a pragmatic, statistically-based science, then developing successful landing pages is an art form. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, developing a quality landing page that converts is among the most essential elements of a high-performing website.
I often use the term “develop” when talking about landing pages since consistent testing and optimization are such a large part of developing a landing page that works. As Anne Holland’s Which Test Won illustrates, it’s virtually impossible to guess what will produce the best performing landing page, so the process of refinement rules.
So where do you begin when judging landing page performance? In Google Analytics, you can start by viewing your top 20 landing pages at Content > Site Content > Landing Pages. The pages with the highest bounce rates will illustrate who’s underperforming and who’s winning. Then it’s time to start testing. Is the page loading quickly? Is your call to action loud enough? Do you need additional content? Is your AdWords traffic to the page segmented properly? Be sure to consult both the winners and losers when looking for clues before and during testing.
As with all digital marketing, it’s a good practice to set up a dashboard for your landing pages to include entrances, pageviews, bounce rate and page value. Assigning a dollar value to conversions is a great way to segment your audience to help define higher value activities and conversions. Then you can prioritize your next steps using a mix of these metrics as they compare to each of your traffic sources.
I use the Unbounce landing page tool to help manage much of the development and testing process. It provides a quick and easy framework for testing performance of new fields and page components while providing really faster reporting. Unbounce has also added some solid functionality to pass your leads to marketing automation and CRM tools such as Hubspot and Salesforce.
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When developing an ecommerce page layout or landing page, it’s easy to lose perspective on how your potential customer experiences the world that you’ve created. As the person in charge of creating and optimizing the return from your product or service offering, your mission is to bring together the various components into a single source.
However, it’s the process of creating a page or website with the most efficient return from a business perspective where digital marketers can sometimes lose their way, sacrificing the experience and ultimately, the trust of the human being they’re selling to. Many of the tools available to digital marketers can add value to the customer, but only when used in the proper context.
Create an offer or upsell for a non-complementary product, and risk losing the trust of your potential customer. For your visitor to jump through multiple unnessary hoops within your interface and there’s a good chance they lose their patience and leave your site.
This recent video from Google does a tremendous job illustrating this delicate usability vs landing page optimization dance by bringing the experience away from the digital, into the “real” world.
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According to a recent study by Internet security technology company Commtouch in Q3 of 2012, nearly 74% all email sent was spam. Over 87 billion spam/phishing emails are sent around the world every day and 1.9 billion of those messages was sent with malware attached.
Despite those disappointing numbers, email marketing is still a leading tool for B2B digital marketers looking to create and maintain a one-to-one relationship. A highly targeted, well constructed and uniquely valuable email is still a great way to communicate with your audience.
As with nearly all digital marketing channels, successful email marketing is not easy. Four major hurdles, and their applicable metrics, that marketers have to manage include:
- Email list quality (bounce rate)
- Opening of the email (open rate)
- Take action within the email (clickthrough rate)
- Take action on the landing page (conversion rate)
Misjudge your target in any of these four stages and you’re out of luck. A recent study by marketing services provider Epsilon indicated that the average email open rate was 25.6% for 2012 Q2 while the clickthrough rate was just 4.4%. Certainly these numbers can fluctuate a great deal across industries and due to a number of additional factors.
However, the real takeaway from these figures is that the need to test and optimize each individual component such as subject lines, body copy and calls to action is more important than ever. B2B email marketing is still an excellent tool when used with a disciplined, pragmatic approach.
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Google’s recent Knowledge Graph introduction presents a significant adjustment to their search algorithm and their approach to search results presentation. In summary, the Knowledge Graph presents an overview of the search term with additional content and suggestions from Google. Here’s a brief video overview that explains what they’re looking to accomplish.
This change will impact all websites and the results displayed on Google. For the purpose of blog posts, it’s a safe bet to assume that your posts must now give more value than what the searcher originally intended to look for. It also means that thin blog posts, those that are mere rewrites of what already can be found elsewhere isn’t as valuable from a search engine optimization perspective as it was previously.
Here are some additional considerations when creating blog posts…
- Consider deeper topics for in-depth content, think documentaries rather than short, traditional news reports
- Answer as many important questions within your content as possible
- Stay away from direct linear writing – a blog post that has no dimension or depth will soon be dead. Always think of how you can add additional depth to your content
- Think of the impact of your article say a month from now, a year from now, the blog posts that will still have some sort of value at that time will continue to exist
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Over the past decade, the one primary constant with digital marketing is that the rate of change increases exponentionally. As technologies change, marketers adapt, search engines adjust and businesses succeed or fail depending on their ability to identify and manage change.
Keeping up with what’s happening in digital marketing can often prove to be a job within itself. Lee Iacocca’s famous time management quote applies today now more than ever, “If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.”
One terrific new tool to stay plugged-in with digita marketing is inbound.org, which was developed by Rand Fishkin, co-founder of SEOmoz and Dharmesh Shah, co-founder of Hubspot. The site uses crowdsourcing to aggregate the top digital or inbound marketing articles posted online. Users then can vote and help promote the most meaningful and useful articles to the top of the list.
To stay current with my marketing education, I’ve previously invested a great deal of time either parsing through a massive list of articles in my Google reader, or through hundreds of Tweets from my “marketing experts” list. Much of that informational inefficiency is now gone as I use the power of the crowd to find the best of the best, in terms of digital marketing knowledge sharing.
Fishkin and Shah are looking to bring the communities of bloggers and marketers together who write about non-paid channels like SEO, social media, content marketing, conversion rate optimization and other inbound or digital marketing tactics. The site launched in February and has been a huge success and a great tool to help educate yourself in the most time-effective manner currently available. Visit inbound.org today and stay up-to-date efficiently.