A few weeks ago around 100 marketers and business owner/managers attended the CIM SW Digital Marketing Conference at Exeter University. The line-up included 4 speakers covering the following topics:
Andrew Leon Walker, B2B content marketing consultant, Rame Marketing ‘Marketing is evolving, don’t get left behind’
Mark Challinor, Director of Mobile Platforms, Telegraph Media Group ‘The evolution of newspapers and the rise of the connected devices’
Damian Ryan and Calvin Jones, Authors of Understanding Digital Marketing ‘Turning knowledge into profit – how digital generates a strong ROI’.
Alastair Banks, Director at Optix Solutions ‘Explained how content marketing and social media are key components in getting your business found online
It was an extremely interesting afternoon and if you missed the event or you attended but would like a reminder of some of the discussions, please listen to the podcast recorded by one of the attendees, Emily of Radix Communications.
7 Key Takeaways
1. You need a plan
There was a general agreement that “Content” has to be at the heart of your marketing activities but there is no point in churning out content just for the sake of it or to tick a box that makes you feel good. The content that you create has to be based on a balanced mix of what your audience want and what you want to achieve for your business and in reality these should be one and the same.
So you need a plan that considers the audience types or “Personas”, where they may be within the “Buying Cycle”, which dictates the type of content you need to produce and the introduction of an editorial calendar to ensure it gets planned and produced.
2. Content Marketing + Search Marketing + Social Media Marketing = Success
Content drives search and social media activity, however even great content has to be distributed and promoted to increase coverage and engagement. This can be achieved via social media networks and Pay-Per-Click advertising. Therefore for maximum impact these disciplines cannot be viewed in isolation. Alastair of Optix Solutions demonstrated this very succinctly in his presentation by explaining how through a mix of content, search and social media marketing he managed to source the ideal suit for his recent wedding.
Andrew Walker of Rame Marketing provided an analogy comparing these 3 key pillars of success to a 3 legged stool, if the legs are strong then the platform is sturdy and can be built on but if one of the legs is shaky or broken then the platform is fragile and can collapse.
3. Don’t jeopardise your business by neglecting Mobile users
In 2010 20% of Google searches were on a mobile device* Sometime in 2014 it’s looking likely that for the first time ever searches on mobile devices and tablets will be greater than those on desktops and laptops. Ignore this at your peril. If you’re currently trying to compress your main website screen onto a much smaller mobile screen don’t be surprised at the high bounce rate and the corresponding drop off in enquiries. Newspapers and magazines, most of whom have seen a massive drop off in print volumes have latched on to this and are now offering packages based on a mix of hard copy, tablet, mobile and desktop access as the reading habits of their audience changes throughout the day.
Google Analytics will tell you the number of mobile visitors to your site and the trend over time. Make sure you act on this.
4. Be aware of the benefits of video and images
The rise in popularity of social networks and mobile Aps such as Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Vine, Flickr, Instagram and Slideshare is having a strong impact on our viewing and search behaviour. Mark Challinor of the Telegraph Group presented some really interesting next generation advertising formats including cascading ads and advertising methods based on augmented reality.
With so many options available its important to determine what’s right for your audience and to manage the mix of text and image and understand where and when to use each medium.
5. It takes time and resource
Planning, creating, managing and distributing content takes time, effort, budget and represents the single biggest issue for most businesses. But there is no silver bullet, no quick fix or short cut that can be taken to resolve this. However, the very fact that you have a plan will help ensure success and maximise your return on investment (ROI) by considering up front what content you will create, how and where you will distribute and promote it and where you can repurpose and recycle it.
Marketers and business owners need to sit down and ask the question “Can I meet my current and future marketing/business objectives through traditional marketing means alone?” I’d be surprised if many say yes. Traditional marketing isn’t dead but as technology changes the way people search for solutions to their problems marketers need to decide where best to focus and prioritise those scarce resources.
6. Get a Google+ account
Google+ offers some interesting features but it’s definitely a work in progress, so why should you be interested in investing time and effort into another social media platform? Well because Google are investing a lot of their time and effort into making this a better platform and because in this country at least, Google own the internet. At east 90% of the UK search engine traffic goes through Google and Google are linking many of their other services such as the new Google Places for Business, the new Google Maps (currently Beta), Google review site (Zagat) and Google Authorship to your Google+ account. This in turn has an effect on your website rankings.
Hot off the press: I came across this as I was writing this piece. The new Google Knowledge Graph Carousel, from these links you can determine the way Google are moving and the importance of local search to your own business.
7. Get your head around Google Analytics
Most businesses have an analytics package as part of their website and in the main it’s Google Analytics (GA). When I ask people if they use GA, most people say they do. However when I dig a little deeper it transpires that most people just look at the traffic overview. Oh yeah traffic looks ok, let’s move on. GA offers a hell of a lot more opportunities for a business to really understand what’s going on within their website, what’s good, what’s bad and is a great indicator for what needs to be done.
Make sure you use GA to it’s full potential, it will help your business to grow.
If you need help with your marketing planning or if your lead generation activities have stalled and you’d like to find out more about smarter marketing methods to help your business grow, get in touch. I look forward to hearing from you. Contact us today on 01803 413481 or email [email protected]