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By Ana Bubolea

In today’s digitally-driven world, where consumers are inundated with a constant barrage of advertisements and content, storytelling serves as a potent antidote to ad fatigue. By crafting narratives that resonate with the audience’s aspirations, challenges, and desires, brands can cut through the noise and forge genuine connections that foster loyalty and trust.

As the founder of a consultancy that leaders’ stories into their competitive business advantage, I’ve found that people remember stories more than facts. I focus on making the founder’s journey relatable and engaging through stories. I dive deep into their journey, focusing on the raw, unfiltered moments that shaped their vision. It’s effective because people crave genuine connections, and by sharing these stories, we foster a bond based on shared experiences and values.

To help leaders humanize their message, I asked members of the Marketing & PR Group, a community I lead through Forbes Business Council, for ways they’ve been using storytelling as content strategy in digital marketing — and why they’ve been successful.

1. Real-Life Customer Success Stories

Storytelling has a profound impact, particularly on entrepreneurs. By spotlighting real-life customer success stories, banking is infused with humanity, fostering trust and connection. Storytelling’s success lies in transforming impersonal financial services into experiences that resonate, creating a narrative that entrepreneurs can see themselves in, thus fostering deeper engagement and trust. – Aleesha Webb, Pioneer Bank

2. Brand Narratives

You can showcase your product through sheer brand narratives that connect with audiences. Start by creating a compelling story that revolves around the brand’s values, mission, passion and journey. This way, you can create an emotional connection with consumers by developing brand loyalty and engagement. I’ve found this strategy works well since it humanizes the brand and people can connect with the product more easily. – Vinay Chandrashekar, Long Boat Brewing Co.

3. Captivating Hooks

Captivating hooks will always be a pillar for any successful content strategy online. Without engaging hooks on each piece of content, you cannot capture the audience and “win the click.” Start each piece of content by immediately stating a problem, goal or emotion to your audience. This will lead to much stronger engagement and reach. – Reggie Young, Exit Advisor

4. Social Media Reporting

YouTube and social media reporting have become so impactful that they can even work against you. During the early creation of the company, we begrudged internet trolls which led to tons of false negative content being posted all over the internet. It taught us the importance of owning your content channel (YouTube especially) and being proactive in telling your own story and that of your customers. – Ali Mahvan, Terasynth

5. Brand Videos

Utilizing brand videos to weave compelling narratives around the brand’s values and products has been successful. This strategy emotionally connects with the audience, leading to better brand recall, increased engagement and higher conversion rates. – Mohammad Bahareth, MBI

Feature Image Credit: NOPPADON – STOCK.ADOBE.COM

By Ana Bubolea

Follow me on LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Founder of Buzzworthy Brands. Follow me on LinkedIn for daily personal branding insights. Read Ana Bubolea’s full executive profile here.

Sourced from Forbes

By Mike Wickham

As the sands shift around digital marketing, says Mike Wickham of Impression, it might be time to reconsider how we target customers online.

Good marketing should always be a win-win. The consumer should win because they’re being provided with a relevant option for whatever it is they’re in the market for. The brand should win by meeting that need and by providing its product or service to the right audience, hopefully, at the right cost.

As someone who navigates both the world of marketing and consumerism, I’m noticing a worrying trend towards fewer, less relevant options presented across paid media platforms.

The algorithm isn’t always our friend

Let me give you an example. I was recently on a quest to find the perfect pair of shoes. Versatile enough for all seasons, suitable for both smart and casual attire, and durable for years to come. Alas, I’m still searching, and not just because I’m incredibly fussy.

My customer journey began the same as most, with a broad search on Google, and I was served a range of options from boots to sandals. Not quite right, but after navigating to the shopping tab, I found a few items closer to what I was picturing in my head.

After clicking on a few options from different brands and browsing their catalogues I still hadn’t found the dream pair, but I had at least narrowed down the style I was looking for. So I returned to Google and provided a bit more detail for my next search (long-tail searches do still exist), only to receive virtually the same list of items in the carousel as before.

The results were pretty much exclusively from the three brands that I just visited. For the following days and weeks, browsing across the web provided me with limited new suggestions. I was re-served the same items time and time again. A poor use of frequency capping is partly at fault here, but the crux of it is, my behaviour gave signals that I was interested in these items, and so the algorithms pushed hell for leather to get me to convert.

I sympathize with these brands, and advertisers in general, who face similar challenges. With a shift towards larger audience definitions and a heavier reliance on machine automation, they’re a little at the mercy of the algorithms to distinguish who is the right customer.

How to identify the most likely customers

So what can we do to help differentiate between a person who clicks a visual ad of a product, engages with the website and decides the product isn’t quite right for them, versus a person who clicks a visual ad of the product, engages with the website and then decides that while they most likely will buy, they first want to compare prices elsewhere and wait for payday?

It ultimately comes down to developing a better understanding of the behaviour and psychology of your consumers. There are often more reasons not to buy something than there are to buy it, so we must begin to dig much deeper.

It starts with research. Understanding consumer behaviour to uncover the ’why’ behind the engagement – as well as the ’why not’. Is it to do with affordability, a lack of urgency, or too much choice? Or is it down to concerns over compromise, distraction, likeability, trust, principles, ethics… and so much more? The list of conscious and subconscious reasons for not proceeding can be many and varied.

Behavioural insight often starts with old-fashioned methods, like actually talking to people. Focus groups, surveys and questionnaires are often seen as archaic to digital-first businesses, but they will provide the insights that will help you identify where to begin looking within the data.

Don’t chase every would-be buyer

We have to measure in different ways than before. Parsing small but significant signals of consumer intent, such as attention mapping, engagement depth, dwell time, and frequency of interaction, will help to build a clearer picture between a genuinely interested buyer and a passer-by.

By identifying and excluding those who have shown signals of dis-intent, we’re able to better place our energy into more qualified customers, while the same data informs how we adapt our customer journeys to capitalize on the ‘likely buyers’.

We ultimately need to be better at understanding our customers’ wants and needs. And a key part of this is knowing when to pursue them, and when to let them go. Algorithms have made it harder to do the latter, as they miss the context and the cognitive reasoning in the mind of the decision-maker.

Those are the gaps we need to fill, and it’s the combination of blending behavioural insights with your machine learning tools that will not only help the marketer become more effective with their advertising spend, but also help bring back the relevancy to the consumer.

Like I said – win, win.

Feature Image Credit: Remy Gieling via Unsplash

By Mike Wickham

Sourced from The Drum

By Carl Goldman

Affiliate marketing has emerged as a potent business tactic in the ever-changing world of digital marketing. By using this tactic, you may broaden the range of your operations and boost revenue. The core of effective affiliate marketing programs is the requirement to track affiliate links, conversions, and commissions precisely. Marketers use specialized tools for tracking affiliate links to do this. These solutions streamline the procedure and provide insightful data that helps them refine their tactics.

Affiliate marketing has shown to be a successful method for businesses to increase their consumer base and revenue. Investing in reliable affiliate link tracking tools is necessary to use an affiliate marketing system to its full potential. The tools discussed in this article—Phonexa, Affiliatly, AffiliateWP, Boberdoo, and iDevAffiliate—offer different features that meet other marketing goals. By choosing the device that fits your business’s goals and needs, you can optimize your affiliate programs, properly track performance, and get the most out of affiliate marketing in today’s competitive market.

Let’s go into the specifics and see how these tools support businesses in achieving the best possible outcomes from their affiliate marketing initiatives.

Affiliate Link Tracking Tools: Pros and Cons for Effective Marketing

Phonexa: A Holistic Approach to Performance Marketing

  • Advantages: Comprehensive analytics, real-time reporting, call tracking integration, diverse attribution models.
  • Disadvantage: Higher learning curve due to advanced features.

Affiliatly: Simplified Affiliate Program Management

  • Advantages: User-friendly interface, easy setup, automation of commissions and pay-outs.
  • Disadvantage: It may need more advanced features required by larger businesses.

AffiliateWP: Seamless Integration with WordPress

  • Advantages: Native WordPress integration, extensibility through add-ons, compatibility with e-commerce platforms.
  • Disadvantage: Primarily suitable for WordPress-based websites.

Boberdoo: Customizable Routing Rules

  • Advantages: Advanced lead tracking, real-time lead distribution, and integration capabilities.
  • Disadvantage: More focused on lead generation may only be ideal for businesses with a strong lead component.

iDevAffiliate: Versatility for Diverse Affiliate Programs

  • Advantages: Support for various commission structures, multi-level marketing (MLM) support, and customizable branding.
  • Disadvantage: The interface may not be as modern as some other tools.

Exploring the Most Effective Options

As we thoroughly examine each instrument, we will not only point out its benefits but also any possible drawbacks that it could have. You’ll be in a better position to choose the affiliate link tracker tool that best suits the needs of your company if you are aware of the distinctive advantages and disadvantages of each one. Let’s begin our adventure to learn more about Phonexa, Affiliatly, AffiliateWP, Boberdoo, and iDevAffiliate’s advantages and disadvantages.

As the competitive landscape continues to evolve, understanding the nuances of these tracking tools becomes paramount in order to stay ahead in the affiliate marketing game. By evaluating the potential disadvantages along with the advantages, you can effectively craft the strategy you need. For example, how to maximize your affiliate campaigns using these platforms. Our comprehensive analysis aims not only to inform but also to empower your decision-making process. The tool you choose must fully meet your business goals.

1. Phonexa

G2 Rating: 4.9/5

Price: Starts at – $100 /month

Free trial: yes

Phonexa provides several tools for lead generation, tracking, and conversion optimization as a complete performance marketing platform. Marketers can precisely measure clicks, conversions, and commissions thanks to its affiliate tracking software. Real-time analytics and reporting from Phonexa enable marketers to quickly modify their strategy to take advantage of new trends while still making educated judgments. Phonexa’s multidimensional capabilities and cutting-edge innovation are two of the main selling points for the company to business customers. Phonexa is definitely the industry leader when it comes to solutions for affiliate tracking software.

Phonexa is unique in the affiliate marketing tracking software industry because of its cutting-edge ability to connect call tracking and attribution with digital marketing campaigns. This becomes especially important in businesses where most of the conversion process relies on telephone exchanges. This state-of-the-art technology bridges the gap between online and offline conversions, giving marketers a comprehensive perspective that enables them to identify revenue sources and enhance the pin-point precision of affiliate marketing tracking methods. Informed judgments and maximum advertising performance are made possible by this synergy for marketers.

2. Affiliatly

G2 Rating: 4.4/5

Price: Starts at – $16 /month

Free trial: no

Affiliatly is a marketing tracking software that is simple to use and ideal for businesses of all sizes. Affiliatly a user-friendly interface and straightforward setup make it possible for marketers to create and maintain their affiliate marketing systems rapidly. Clicks, conversions, and transactions are among the aspects of the platform’s affiliate marketing tracking that provide users with information on the effectiveness of campaigns and affiliate success.

One of Affiliatly unique characteristics is the automation of commissions and payments, accelerating the procedure for rewarding affiliates for their work. It furthermore offers completely customizable affiliate dashboards so that affiliates may monitor their output, earnings, and referral traffic. The focus on usability and simplicity of Affiliatly makes it an enticing affiliate marketing tracker for businesses looking to build and manage affiliate marketing programs.

3. AffiliateWP

G2 Rating: 4/5

Price: Starts at – $149.5 /year

Free trial: no

As a strong affiliate tracking software and affiliate tracker plugin for WordPress, AffiliateWP emerges to assist businesses that operate inside the WordPress ecosystem. The user-friendly interface of AffiliateWP and easy integration with WordPress websites allow it to give extensive affiliate tracking capabilities. Marketers may immediately assess the success of their affiliate activities thanks to the real-time statistics provided by the plugin.

Thanks to AffiliateWP’s flexibility through add-ons, marketers may adapt the leading affiliate tracking platform to their needs. The best use for this flexible affiliate monitoring software will be for companies with certain affiliate program requirements. Because it is compatible with several e-commerce platforms, the plugin is a desired option for businesses searching for the best affiliate tracking software and affiliate tracking solutions inside the WordPress framework.

4. Boberdoo

G2 Rating: 3/5

Price: Starts at – individual payment calculation

Free trial: no

Due to its innovative methods for tracking leads utilizing best affiliate tracking software, Boberdoo stands out. Due to its top affiliate program software qualities, Boberdoo is a fantastic solution for sectors that need a lot of leads. Marketers may monitor each stage of the lead’s lifecycle with the help of the partner monitoring tools and “affiliate link tracking software” available on the platform. The potential of the affiliate program platform may be fully used by your partner to increase sales by optimizing their marketing tactics.

Leads are more likely to be effortlessly sent to the most eligible partners right away when using Boberdoo’s Lead Distribution tool in conjunction with its affiliate tracking software. The success of your lead distribution efforts will be increased by the seamless data transfer across various systems made possible by the integration of affiliate program software. Boberdoo separates out from the competition by placing a strong emphasis on accuracy and quality in lead monitoring, especially by providing efficient solutions to track partner relationships in sectors where obtaining leads is of utmost significance. Boberdoo’s position as a top-tier solution in the field of lead distribution and affiliate marketing is cemented by its superb affiliate tracking software.

5. iDevAffiliate

G2 Rating: 5/5

Price: Starts at – $39/month

Free trial: no

iDevAffiliate is a flexible affiliate marketing program that offers businesses several tracking and administration tools. Because iDevAffiliate supports a variety of payment models, marketers can pay affiliates based on clicks, conversions, and sales. Valuable platform data, including affiliate tracking software, can be used by marketers to improve campaigns.

The user-friendly customization options in iDevAffiliate allow it to be adapted to meet the branding requirements of different organizations. A noteworthy feature of the platform is its ability to support multi-level marketing (MLM) programs, also known as tracking affiliate marketing, which benefit businesses with complex affiliate networks. iDevAffiliate’s adaptability makes it the best tracking software for affiliate marketing. It is a powerful tool for companies wishing to set up and manage various affiliate programs, especially with its extensive tracking features and advanced affiliate tracking system.

Making the Best Decision

Affiliate marketing is a powerful way for businesses to get more customers and make more money. Investing in solid affiliate link tracking tools is necessary to make the most of affiliate marketing. Popular brands in the field of affiliate program monitoring and affiliate conversion tracking solutions, all described in this article, include Phonexa, Affiliatly, AffiliateWP, Boberdoo, and iDevAffiliate.

These systems provide comprehensive deep analytics and precise tracking solutions that let companies successfully enhance their tactics. Every one of these items has a distinct set of characteristics that are created to satisfy particular marketing objectives. By carefully selecting the best solution for your company’s particular needs and objectives, you may significantly improve the efficacy of your affiliate marketing. You may acquire a competitive edge and maximize the benefits of your affiliate partnership by utilizing cutting-edge affiliate tracking solutions.

Feature Image Credit: Firmbee from Pixabay

By Carl Goldman

Sourced from HometownStation.com

By Sam Driver

Are you looking to transform your humble podcast into a buzzing audio sensation?

Podcast marketing is your ticket to reach new listeners and engage your audience like never before.

Through techniques such as strategic partnerships, effective SEO, and leveraging social media platforms, you can elevate your podcast to an entirely new level.

So, are you ready to captivate more listeners and skyrocket your podcast’s popularity?

Let’s dive in!

1. Leverage Social Media

Expanding your podcast audience could be as simple as clicking ‘post’ on social media!

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are teeming with potential listeners who are just one compelling post away from becoming your ardent fans.

To unlock this potential, consider creating diverse and dynamic content around your podcast episodes.

This could be a compelling quote from an episode that sparks curiosity, a mini-audio teaser that gives a taste of your captivating content, or an eye-catching episode graphic that stops a scroller in their tracks.

For example, if your podcast guest shared a provocative insight or a funny anecdote, turn that into a tweet or an Instagram post.

Another strategy is to start a conversation using trending hashtags or engaging polls.

If your podcast revolves around entrepreneurship, for instance, engaging with your audience using hashtags like #StartupLife or #Entrepreneurship can attract like-minded individuals who might be interested in your content.

Remember, the goal is to pique interest and drive traffic to your podcast, all while adding value and engaging your community.

2. Podcast SEO

When it comes to podcast marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t just a tool; it’s a secret weapon.

By optimizing your podcast episodes with relevant keywords and enticing descriptions, you can make your podcast more visible to potential listeners who are already searching for content like yours.

Consider the fact that search engines like Google and Apple Podcast are the highways that lead listeners straight to your digital doorstep.

By using SEO best practices, you essentially lay breadcrumbs that guide listeners from their search queries to your podcast episodes.

For example, if your podcast episode is about “vegan recipes,” make sure those words appear in your title, description, and even in your transcript.

Don’t forget your podcast website either! It should be as SEO-friendly as possible. Think of it as baking a digital marketing pie that Google just can’t resist.

An SEO optimized site will improve your search ranking and increase your visibility, which ultimately leads to a larger audience and higher engagement rates.

3. Embrace Email Marketing

Whoever said emails were outdated, certainly didn’t understand the power of email marketing.

In the podcasting world, an email list can be the secret ingredient for transforming casual listeners into engaged fans.

Email marketing allows you to connect directly with your audience on a more personal level.

It’s your chance to share exclusive content, episode highlights, or even teasers for upcoming guests. This not only keeps your listeners in the loop but also provides them with value-added content that enhances their listener experience.

For instance, consider sharing an exclusive mini-episode or a behind-the-scenes look at the podcast recording process with your email subscribers.

Or perhaps a Q&A session with you or your guests that’s exclusive to your email list.

Most importantly, unlike social media platforms, you own your email list.

This means you’re not at the mercy of algorithms for your content to be seen.

It’s a direct, unfiltered line of communication between you and your listeners, like sending a personalized invitation for them to dive back into your audio content.

Remember, the key is to provide value.

An engaged email subscriber can turn into a loyal podcast listener, and eventually, an evangelist for your podcast.

4. Harness the Power of Podcast Advertising

Podcast ads have come a long way from just a means to monetize your show. They’ve evolved into a potent tool for cross-promotion and audience expansion.

By forming strategic partnerships with other podcasters, you can swap podcast ad slots, giving each other’s shows a shout-out.

This is like networking at a virtual conference, except your introduction reaches a dedicated audience who love podcasts just like yours.

You could also approach podcasters in your niche, offering to sponsor an episode or series in return for ad slots.

This not only gives your podcast exposure but also associates it with another high-quality show.

Investing in podcast advertising on platforms like Google Podcasts or Apple Podcast is another avenue to consider.

These platforms curate content for their users based on their interests, and your ad could pop up in a potential listener’s feed.

5. Attract with Content Marketing

Content marketing is a crucial strategy that goes beyond promoting your podcast — it’s about offering additional value to attract and retain your audience.

The art lies in creating compelling, high-quality blog posts and articles related to your podcast content.

For instance, if your podcast revolves around cooking, you can publish recipes or tips on food pairing.

This additional content not only enhances your brand awareness but can also funnel readers to your podcast.

Consider repurposing your podcast episodes into engaging blog posts or articles.

For example, a fascinating interview could be transformed into a long-form article, a panel discussion into a listicle, or an informative session into an infographic.

It’s like creating a content ecosystem where every element is interconnected and supports the others.

6. Partner with Influencers

In the era of social media dominance, influencer marketing can be a game-changer for your podcast.

This isn’t just about getting a celebrity on your show — it’s about leveraging the influence of someone relevant and respected in your niche.

When you approach influencers, make it clear how this partnership can benefit them too.

Perhaps they’re launching a new product or book that they want to promote to your audience, or maybe they value the chance to share their insights in a deeper, more personal format than a typical social media post allows.

The beauty of influencer marketing is that it not only expands your audience but also boosts your credibility.

Your podcast gets the endorsement from someone who is already a trusted voice in the field, and their followers are more likely to become your listeners.

7. Tap Into Communities

There’s no underestimating the potential that online communities hold.

They are vibrant spaces where people gather around shared interests, which makes them an excellent hunting ground for new podcast listeners.

From niche-specific Facebook Groups and Reddit threads, to Q&A platforms like Quora and industry-specific forums, these digital communities are pulsating with individuals ready to be wowed by your podcast.

To tap into this, first identify the communities that align with your podcast’s theme or subject matter.

Once you’ve identified the right communities, don’t just dive in with blatant self-promotion.

Instead, aim to be a valuable member of the group.

Start discussions, respond to others’ posts, and provide genuine, helpful insights.

This not only builds your reputation within the community but also primes your audience for when you do introduce your podcast.

For instance, you might share an episode of your podcast that answers a common question within the group or tackles a trending topic.

This organic, value-first approach can earn you loyal listeners and enhance your podcast’s standing in the community.

8. Leverage Analytics

marketing strategy analytics

Understanding the numbers behind your podcast can revolutionize your marketing strategy.

Analytics is your secret weapon for decoding the habits and preferences of your audience.

Many podcast platforms provide built-in analytics, and tools such as Edison Research or Podtrac can offer you more in-depth insights.

These analytics can reveal which episodes get the most listens, what times and days see the highest engagement, how long listeners stay tuned, and where your audience is geographically located.

For instance, if data reveals that your episodes featuring guest interviews have the highest listens, consider inviting more guests.

If analytics show a spike in listens on weekdays around 7 pm, this could indicate that your audience prefers unwinding with your podcast after a workday.

Moreover, understanding where your audience is located can influence your promotional efforts.

If a significant percentage of your listeners are in New York, consider coordinating your episode releases with Eastern Standard Time or explore partnerships with local influencers or businesses.

Remember, these insights aren’t just numbers — they are clues that lead you to a more targeted, effective marketing strategy.

9. Optimize for Podcast Apps

Accessibility is key when it comes to expanding your podcast audience.

One way to ensure this is by making your podcast available on all major podcast apps. But it doesn’t stop at just being present on these platforms.

You also need to optimize your podcast for these apps.

So, ensure that your podcast descriptions are detailed and filled with relevant keywords. It makes it easier for potential listeners to discover your podcast when they search for their interests.

For example, if your podcast is about eco-friendly living, include phrases like ‘sustainable lifestyle’, ‘green living’, or ‘environmental conservation’ in your description and episode titles. The more specific you can get with your keywords, the better.

This way, you can reach the niche audience that is actively seeking content like yours.

Also, don’t forget the aesthetic element.

Make your podcast visually appealing with professional cover art and clear, compelling episode thumbnails. This can make your podcast stand out in an often overcrowded app interface.

10. Regular & Consistent Posting

Your listeners, much like fans of a TV show or subscribers of a YouTube channel, anticipate regular content.

To keep them engaged and eager for your next episode, adhere to a consistent podcast production and release schedule.

This reliability is not just good for listener engagement, but it’s a critical component for marketing too.

Regular posting sends signals to podcast platforms that you’re an active podcaster, boosting your visibility.

One strategy is to decide on a posting schedule that works best for you. It could be weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly.

For example, ‘The Daily’ by The New York Times offers new content every weekday, while ‘Radiolab’ opts for a bi-weekly schedule.

Find a rhythm that matches your content creation capabilities and audience expectation.

And remember, a missed episode could mean a missed opportunity to strengthen your listener relationship.

11. Engage with Your Audience

social media optimization audience

Engagement isn’t just for social media platforms. Building a community around your podcast encourages listener loyalty and deepens the connection they feel with your podcast.

One way to do this is by interacting with your audience through Q&A sessions, either on your podcast or through social media platforms.

For instance, Tim Ferriss frequently includes a Q&A session in his podcast ‘The Tim Ferriss Show,’ where he answers questions sent in by listeners.

Similarly, you could organize regular shoutouts, acknowledging your loyal listeners or even running contests for free merchandise or exclusive content.

This can foster a community spirit that makes your audience feel valued and seen, often transforming them from passive listeners into active advocates for your podcast.

Revitalize Your Approach with Podcast Marketing

We get it; the journey to podcast stardom can feel like climbing a mountain sometimes.

But let’s look at it differently — this is your chance to revamp your game, and this guide is your roadmap.

You’ve got an epic podcast to share, and these podcast marketing strategies can be the wind beneath your wings.

Your voice deserves to be heard by a vast audience, and these tactics can help you achieve just that.

Dive in and conquer this mountain!

 

By Sam Driver

Sam is an Associate Editor for Smart Blogger and family man who loves to write. When he’s not goofing around with his kids, he’s honing his craft to provide lasting value to anyone who cares to listen.

Sourced from SmartBlogger

By Chad S. White

Six of my favourite quotes along with the wisdom I see in them.

The Gist

  • Regulatory expectations. Laws protect businesses, but meeting customer expectations is crucial.
  • Audience acquisition. Choose the right customers for genuine engagement and reduced bounce rates.
  • Trust building. Avoid vague emails; clarity brings conversions and maintains subscriber trust.

In the new fourth edition of my book, “Email Marketing Rules,” I include quotes from scores of experts who have impacted how I think about the email channel, as well as about marketing in general. Here, I’d like to share six of my favorite quotes along with the wisdom I see in them. In no particular order, here they are …

Where Law Meets Emails and Consumers

“The law is the low bar.”

— Laura Atkins, owner of Word to the Wise

Most businesses are intrinsically against any new laws or regulations, which invariably introduce additional compliance costs or restrict business practices. Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and other privacy and anti-spam laws have undeniably done both of those.

However, I would argue that these laws have actually protected businesses and the email channel. The truth is the law always lags consumer expectations, as well as the expectations of inbox providers in the case of anti-spam laws. And a growing gap in expectations is a growing risk to businesses in terms of customer loyalty and brand image and reputation.

This danger is most evident in the US, where the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 is still sadly in effect. In this country, merely complying with CAN-SPAM would be disastrous, leading to block listings and wholesale junking and blocking of campaigns by inbox providers. As Laura says, our subscribers expect much more from us. At a minimum, they expect us to respect their permission, both in terms of opt-ins and in terms of responding to their inactivity by eventually suppressing future emails to them.

Quality Customers and Quality Emails

“Customer loyalty is mostly about choosing the right customers.”

— John Jantsch, author of “Duct Tape Marketing

Where you acquire new subscribers almost predetermines whether your email program will struggle or thrive. If you acquire many of your subscribers through list purchases, poorly done list rentals, sweepstakes and other sources that are far from your business operations, then you’ll be plagued by high bounce rates, low engagement and high spam complaints.

On the other hand, if you’re gaining the vast majority of your subscribers via signups during your online or in-store checkout processes, on your website and in your app, then you will have added lots of customers to your list who are genuine fans that are predisposed to engage with your emails and buy again.

If you’re unsure how your audience acquisition sources are affecting your overall email program health, then start tagging your sources so you can track the behaviours of the subscribers that come onto your list from each one. Chances are you’ll find that one or two of your acquisition sources are responsible for the majority of your bounces, inactivity and complaints.

Avoid Baiting Subject Lines for Open Rates

“Don’t confuse attention for intent.”

— John Bonini, founder of Some Good Content

Too many email marketers still believe that the key to getting more conversions is to get more opens. After all, a subscriber can’t convert if they don’t open the email, they reason.

In the pursuit of high open rates, these marketers often use vague and cryptic subject lines and preview text — often defending their use as being “clever” or in service of creating a “curiosity gap.” However, these open-bait tactics only succeed in attracting curious subscribers rather than ones who are actually interested in the email’s call-to-action. Not only does this result in low click-to-open rates, but open rates eventually decline over time as subscribers end up repeatedly feeling like their time was wasted reading messages they ended up having little interest in.

 

In these cases, the marketer has sacrificed subscriber trust in exchange for getting additional opens that rarely drove business goals. The wiser path is to respect your subscribers’ time by using envelope content that reflects the content of the email. Long-term, this results in higher total opens, as well as more conversions and less list churn as your openers will have stronger intent.

While John was talking about campaign engagement when he said this, his sentiment can also easily be applied to marketers’ habit of pushing their way into channels that consumers prefer to use for communicating with family and friends rather than focusing on the channels like email where consumers most want to hear from brands.

Marketers: Manage Your Audiences

“The customers are the assets; not the store and not the ecommerce sites.”

— Michael Brown, partner at A.T. Kearney

Marketers too often get confused about what they’re supposed to be managing. Often, they think they should be managing product inventories. In particular, email marketers often think they should be managing email campaigns.

As Michael points out, the truth is that marketers should be managing their audiences. I certainly understand that business demands routinely drive the goals of email and other digital marketing campaigns, but the overarching focus should be on serving your audience. If you do that well — sending relevant campaigns at the right time and right cadence — then you’ll likely find that you’re also meeting your business goals.

Trim That Bloated Email Content

“When you emphasize everything, you emphasize nothing.”

— Herschell Gordon Lewis, author of “Effective E-mail Marketing

Everybody wants a piece of email marketing, so marketers often find themselves fending off requests from their co-workers in merchandising, operations and beyond. (It’s because of those persistent merchandisers that so many marketers think their job is managing inventory levels.) If unshielded from that, email marketers often feel pressured to include an excessive amount of content in the messages they craft, with that clutter undermining overall performance.

Given the trend toward shorter, more focused emails with fewer calls-to-action, as well as the trend toward AI-driven content, it’s more important than ever to have a curated and clear content hierarchy to guide your time-starved subscribers to the actions you most want them to take. When it comes to email content, more usually isn’t better.

Make That Next Email Better

“The strength and power of anything — whether it is a business, an individual fitness plan, or event — has its foundation in an accumulation of small, incremental improvements that all either fit together or build on each other. To sum it up: small improvement x consistency = substance.”

— Nicole Penn, president of The EGC Group

One of my favourite things about email marketing is that it’s a channel that’s built for iteration. It doesn’t matter so much if your last campaign wasn’t perfect, or if you made this mistake or that mistake, because chances are that you’re sending another campaign in two or three days, if not sooner. And every send is an opportunity to get a little better.

I’ve tried to bring this spirit of iteration to “Email Marketing Rules.” With each new edition, I’ve added new rules, concepts and checklists — which are both a reflection of email marketing’s growing complexity and my own personal growth as an email marketer. I hope you’ll join me on this journey of incremental improvement.

Feature Image Credit: Mushy on Adobe Stock Photo

By Chad S. White

Chad S. White is the author of four editions of Email Marketing Rules and Head of Research for Oracle Marketing Consulting, a global full-service digital marketing agency inside of Oracle.

Sourced from CMSWIRE

By Lisa Anthony

Social media marketing can be cost-effective when you pick platforms suited to your business and consistently deliver messages that engage your target audience.

Social media marketing, a type of digital marketing, uses social media platforms to deliver online content to a business’s target audiences. Content is generally designed to build brand awareness and promote products or services, but it can also help a business increase visitors to its website and gather information about followers that can be used in email marketing and other campaigns.

Social media marketing allows you to engage in a more direct way with your target audience, even in one-on-one conversations in some instances. It can be less expensive than other forms of marketing, but it’s also highly competitive due to continuous streams of social posts vying for the attention of consumers. Creating an intentional social media marketing strategy can help you maximize your efforts and improve your return on investment.

How to create a social media marketing strategy

Social media marketing works like other forms of marketing as far as defining goals, identifying a target audience and creating content. However, to keep an active social media presence, a business will need to post regularly on their platforms of choice and regularly monitor brand mentions and customer comments.

Determine your social media marketing goals

Plotting out your goals from the outset will help guide you in the other decisions you’ll need to make, such as which social media platforms to use and the type of content to post.

Here are some general goals that are common to social media marketing:

  • Increase brand awareness.

  • Gain customer insights.

  • Increase sales.

  • Develop leads.

  • Increase website traffic.

  • Respond to customer complaints.

  • Retarget visitors to your website who don’t make purchases.

  • Get followers to share your content on promotional events.

  • Draw attention to a charity or non-profit organization you support.

When possible, be specific when setting goals, but also keep in mind that the success of some of your efforts may be hard to document. For example, it can be more difficult to measure an increase in brand awareness, but the goal of higher website traffic can be documented through marketing tools such as Google Analytics.

Define your target audience

Knowing your customers is important to any marketing effort. Customer information, such as interests, buying behaviours, pain points and demographic details like age, gender and annual income, can help you create content that will interest your target audience.

Also, demographic details may influence your choice of social media platforms. For example, if your target audience is primarily women, you may want to market on a platform that has a higher percentage of women than men. Or, if your target audience is younger, you may want to use a platform that is popular with that age group.

However, with daily users numbering in the millions on many popular platforms, your target audience may be well represented on any platform. Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram are a few of the platforms that offer audience insights tools you can use to learn about the people using the platform. Talking directly to your customers about which platforms they frequent most can also help inform your social media strategy.

Pick your social media platforms

You may choose to target even more niche social platforms based on your type of business and customers, but here are some of the most popular and how they’re used:

  • Facebook: Text, image and video sharing. A Facebook business page can provide important information about your business and build community.

  • YouTube: Video sharing.

  • Twitter: This social networking platform is mostly used for text-based Tweets, but you can also incorporate images, videos and GIFs.

  • Instagram: Photo and video sharing.

  • TikTok: Video sharing. Compared to YouTube, this is best for shorter videos.

  • Pinterest: Image sharing.

  • LinkedIn: A professional networking platform, LinkedIn is primarily used to market to businesses rather than consumers, or to increase brand awareness by participating in industry-specific forums.

  • Snapchat. Instant messaging, image and video platform.

  • Reddit: Forum-style discussions.

Assess your content needs

The type of content you’ll post on social media will depend on your business, goals and which platforms you’re using. It can range from promotional to educational and should reflect the human characteristics and voice that best define your brand, or your brand personality. For example, if your business sells outdoor gear, your brand personality might be rugged and adventurous. Or, if your business sells products and services for small children, your brand personality might be playful but nurturing.

Social media content can include text, images and videos. You may also be able to link to other content you’ve created such as articles, blogs, e-books and videos. Depending on the platform, there may be limits to what can be included in posts. For example, on Twitter, a Tweet can contain up to 280 characters plus up to four images, videos and/or GIFs.

Your social media marketing efforts might also include the use of digital ads on multiple social media platforms and search engines such as Google and Bing. Each platform will have its own requirements for ads and typically offer content recommendations. For example, YouTube offers step-by-step instructions on creating video ads, with pre-made templates and other tools.

Post consistently

Posting consistently is an important factor in successfully promoting your business on social media. Each business’s posting cadence, whether it’s daily, a few times a week or weekly, will depend on its goals and audience. You’ll also want to factor in the time it takes to produce quality content — a video or high-quality photos may take longer than a text-only Tweet, for instance.

Creating a posting schedule can help your business post consistently — and marketing software can help automate the process. While you can post the same content on all your platforms, it’s better to customize the content for the audience of each individual platform. Plus, as discussed, each platform has unique requirements for postings.

Posting regularly can help a business to:

  • Increase brand authority, credibility and reputation.

  • Build followers.

  • Gain familiarity with the platforms and tools.

  • Establish its brand voice.

  • Improve content rankings on platform feeds.

  • Support paid advertising efforts.

Monitor mentions and respond quickly

It’s important to monitor the mentions of your brand and comments made on your posts. Customers frequently take to a business’s social media when they have customer service questions or complaints. In those instances, responding quickly and positively is key, but aim to resolve the issue privately, by encouraging them to direct message or email your business.

Monitoring mentions — and encouraging customers to post about your business (while tagging your account) — can also help you identify brand advocates and gather user-generated content to repost, which can ease the burden of content creation.

It may take months before you see noticeable progress toward your marketing goals, but social media management tools like Hootsuite, Zoho Social and Buffer can help you monitor your content as well as help with posting, scheduling and measuring results.

Feature Image Credit: Getty Images

By Lisa Anthony

Lead Writer  |  Personal finance, lending, personal taxes

Lisa A. Anthony is a writer on NerdWallet’s small-business team, primarily covering payroll software and payment processing. She has over 20 years of diverse experience in finance, lending and personal taxes. Prior to becoming a writer, Lisa worked as a loan officer, business analyst and freelance marketing consultant. Over the years she has had the opportunity to interact directly with consumers to conduct product research, gather insights and evaluate user experiences. She is based in San Diego.

Sourced from nerdwallet

By Jennifer Torres
Musk’s revamped X network ushers in X Pro, formerly known as TweetDeck, behind its verified Twitter Blue tier.

The Gist

  • Transforming TweetDeck. Now a subscriber-only product called X Pro.
  • Pay to play. Users must be Twitter Blue verified.
  • X Pro view. Control multiple timeline columns in one interface.

In a move that could reshape the digital marketing landscape, Elon Musk’s revamped social network, X (previously Twitter), has unveiled its rebranded social media dashboard: X Pro, the successor to the well-loved TweetDeck. Long serving as the go-to platform for marketers juggling multiple brand and client accounts, X Pro is now ensconced behind a paywall, accessible exclusively to verified users of the platform.

The shift to a subscription model comes with its own set of perks, but at a price. Joining the “Twitter Blue” tier will set users back $8 monthly or $84 annually. In return, subscribers gain the coveted blue check mark, the power to edit tweets and a streamlined experience with prioritized rankings in conversations, searches and notably fewer ads.

For marketers, however, the key question remains: Will the benefits of X Pro justify its cost, or will they be forced to re-evaluate their social media management strategies?

From TweetDeck to X Pro: Will Marketers Embrace the Evolution?

TweetDeck served for years as a valuable tool for many marketers, with multiple account management capabilities, real-time monitoring and scheduled tweets — the collaborative platform also provided customizable columns to track specific hashtags, mentions, lists, keywords and the ability to perform competitor analysis.

Originally an independent app from 2009-2011, TweetDeck Ltd. was subsequently acquired by Twitter Inc. and integrated into Twitter’s interface, soon becoming one of the platforms’ most popular features — especially among marketers.

But the question remains, with the rebrand to X Pro, will the latest incarnation offer marketers even more?

What Can X Pro Offer Marketers?

In July, the company unveiled plans for a “new, improved version of TweetDeck.” However, they noted that access would be granted only to verified users, who were given a 30-day notice to secure their verification.

Mainly viewed as a name rebrand (as well as a new revenue source), the current features offered by TweetDeck are expected to remain with X Pro.

Among X Pro’s currently known features and facts:

  • All users will be able to continue to access their saved searches and workflows.
  • All saved searches, lists and columns will carry over and users will be prompted to import their columns when the application is loaded for the first time.
  • The platform supports full composer functionality, including Spaces, video docking, polls and more.
  • Teams functionality is temporarily unavailable but will be restored in the coming weeks.

And while X Pro is now offered as a paid service through Twitter Blue, verification does come with some perks. The subscription offers users a suite of enhanced capabilities, including sharing extended videos, the freedom to edit tweets within a 30-minute window, the option to retract tweets before they’re seen by others, the use of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) for profile imagery, and entry to the Spaces Tab, a hub for audio content.

As the digital world continually evolves, so do the tools that marketers rely on. X Pro’s transformation from the iconic TweetDeck signifies not just a name change, but a paradigm shift in how digital marketing tools are packaged and priced. While it brings a fusion of old (and possibly new) features, it’s evident that its success hinges on its value proposition to its core users — the marketers. As the dust settles on this transition, the digital marketing community waits with bated breath, poised to decide if X Pro is indeed the next frontier or a nostalgic nod to an era gone by.

By Jennifer Torres

Jennifer Torres, is a Florida-based journalist with more than two decades of experience covering a wide range of topics. Currently, Jennifer is a staff reporter at CMSWire, where she tackles subjects ranging from artificial intelligence and customer service & support to customer experience and user experience design. Jennifer is also the esteemed author of a collection of 10 mystery and suspense novels, and has formerly held the position of marketing officer at the prestigious Florida Institute of Technology. Connect with Jennifer Torres: X

Sourced from CMSWire

How AI is revolutionizing ecommerce, from personalized ads to dynamic pricing and enhanced customer support.

The Gist

  • AI powerhouse. AI for personalization enhances individualized ecommerce experiences.
  • Tech advantage. Machine learning dynamically adapts prices, boosting consumer appeal.
  • Customer support. AI-enabled chatbots provide personalized, emotionally intelligent assistance.

Attention ecommerce brands: The days of blanketing consumers with vaguely relevant ads are over.

Seven out of 10 consumers now expect brands to personalize ads and product recommendations, and 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t happen, according to McKinsey research.

In response, nine out of 10 businesses, including Coca-Cola, Netflix and Sephora, are investing in the practice of using artificial intelligence (AI) for personalization to give consumers a one-to-one experience, or something close to it.

In a nutshell, personalization in ecommerce uses data to show customers products and deals tailored just for them. Instead of asking shoppers to sift through a list of products, personalization uses a customer’s purchase history and browsing behaviour with the brand to suggest the most likely item that person would buy.

To return the favour, 78% of consumers are likely to make repeat purchases from companies that personalize, according to the same McKinsey report mentioned above.

Yet personalization will only boost customer satisfaction, brand loyalty and sales if it’s executed precisely. And to do that requires culling insights from droves of customer data that humans simply cannot process and analyse manually.

And this is where artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) come into play for ecommerce brands.

AI for Personalization in Ecommerce

Personalization in ecommerce is still possible without AI, but it relies on grouping customers into “personas” based on shared demographics or interests. While this is an adequate approach, today’s consumer can sniff out when they’re being marketed to as a persona rather than an individual.

AI-based personalization is much more specific, using advanced algorithms to scan volumes of customer data and deliver information to you based on your own specific behaviour.

“AI’s ability to process data in real-time and adapt on the fly to create personalized experiences is a key advantage for ecommerce brands,” said Kristin Smith, managing director and retail commerce lead at Deloitte Digital. “It also helps that AI isn’t prone to human mistakes and can work 24/7.”

With advanced personalization now expected by the majority of consumers, ecommerce brands have a variety of ways to utilize AI to deliver tailored shopping experiences. Here are three of them.

1. Product Recommendations for the Individual

One of the clearest examples of using AI for personalization are the tailored product recommendations we see in emails or when logging on to our favourite ecommerce brand’s web site.

Here, complex machine learning algorithms mine your previous purchases, cart adds, product reviews, and product interactions, and generate personalized product recommendations in real time.

This customer data becomes the basis for training an algorithm that continues to learn and improve on the accuracy of recommendations as it receives new data.

Example to Emulate: Netflix

Netflix is a recommendation trailblazer. The streaming giant’s recommendation engine, called NRE (Netflix Recommendation Engine), uses algorithms to analyse data from each member’s viewing history and generates hyper personalized movie and TV show recommendations.

2. Automated Dynamic Pricing

Constantly adjusting product prices is a necessary but time-consuming task. By incorporating machine learning into pricing, ecommerce brands can automatically adjust prices in real time based on their own manufacturing costs, competitor’s prices, market demand and seasonality.

AI-based dynamic pricing benefits consumers by:

  • Monitoring the competition and adjusting prices to ensure customers get a fair price.
  • Offering real-time personalized discounts based on a customer’s behavior. For instance, if a person continually shows interest in a product, a dynamic pricing algorithm could entice that person with a time-limited discount.

Example to Emulate: Amazon

Amazon is the king of AI-based dynamic pricing. The ecommerce giant uses machine learning to update the prices of millions of products several times every day. Its repricing algorithm factors in product demand, stock availability and customer behavior. This allows Amazon to consistently offer the most competitive prices.

3. Personalized Customer Support via AI-Powered Chatbots

Using NLP and sentiment analysis, today’s chatbots understand not just text but also the emotion behind customer support requests.

When you combine sentiment, access to customer data and speedy responses, it’s easy to see why chatbots are now a personalization tool. Today’s chatbots can greet customers by name, recommend products and discounts based on purchase and browsing data, and even help customers complete online purchases.

Example to Emulate: Sephora

Most ecommerce chatbots can handle rudimentary customer inquiries, but the more innovative chatbots also serve as shopping assistants.

Cosmetics retailer Sephora is a prime example. Sephora’s website chatbot answers questions about returns and exchanges. But it’s also a virtual assistant that asks customers questions about their skin tone and makeup preferences and then gives tailored recommendations.

The Big AI Personalization Challenge: Relevant Data

The benefits of using AI for personalization are clear, but the success of your strategy hinges on your data.

Kristin Smith of Deloitte recommends that ecommerce brands ask themselves the following questions regarding customer data:

  • What is the quality and source of the data your brand is trying to use?
  • Does the brand have permission to collect and use the data they have?
  • How actionable and granular is the data?

“Many organizations have customer data only at a high level,” Smith said. “But high-level, demographic data does not always translate to actionable insights for personalization.”

In addition to having the skilled staff in place to implement and maintain AI tools, the entire marketing and data team should always ensure that the data the AI algorithms are using is unbiased and specific enough to actually help the customer connect with your brand and buy from you consistently.

“There will be a rabbit hole of ideas for data points AI can collect for personalization,” said Derric Haynie, head of demand generation at Pipe17 and co-founder of Ecommerce Tech.

“Maybe you’re going to test new products based on previous purchase history. Or test personalized emails based on when customers last visited the site. There’s a lot to personalize, and the nature of personalization is recognizing each person has a different customer journey, and catering to it.”

Feature Image Credit: Blue Planet Studio

By Shane O’Neill

Shane O’Neill is an award-winning journalist and content marketer with more than 20 years of experience covering digital transformation, content marketing, social media marketing, artificial intelligence, and ecommerce. His work has been recognized nationally, earning an ASBPE Award for Blogging and a Min Editorial & Design Award for Best Online Article. Shane’s experience as both a B2B journalist at CIO.com and InformationWeek and as a content marketing director at tech startups gives him a unique insider/outsider perspective on tech innovation. Connect with Shane O’Neill: https://twitter.com/smoneill 

Sourced from CMSWIRE

By Scott Clark
Local marketing aims to build a strong presence in the local market, increase brand visibility, attract local customers and drive traffic to physical stores.

The Gist

  • Geo-targeting essential. Social media offers geo-targeting for precise local advertising, increasing community engagement.
  • SEO optimization. “Near me” searches are frequent, making a Google Business Profile and mobile-first strategy critical.
  • Traditional Tactics. Traditional methods like radio and event presence alongside digital strategies amplify local marketing reach.

Local marketing refers to the strategies and activities that are used by businesses to target and engage with customers in a specific area or local community. It focuses on promoting products or services to customers within a particular region or area. Local marketing aims to build a strong presence in the local market, increase brand visibility, attract local customers and drive traffic to physical stores. This article will examine tactics, strategies and tips for brands interested in local marketing.

What Are Some of the Types of Local Marketing?

Many types of marketing practices are included under the umbrella of local marketing. One example is a brand that sells gift products that tourists often buy when they visit destinations such as the beach, the mountains or specific locations, such as the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls. In each case, businesses that sell such products simply reach out to companies near each locale to see if they would like to carry the brand’s tourist products in their stores. Additionally, they participate in Facebook Groups for each tourist destination.

Another example of local marketing is when businesses adjust the products or services they sell based on the tastes, habits, culture and beliefs of the people living in the area of the service. Such a business would also adjust the marketing or advertising copy to reflect the social norms of the people in the area. One can see examples of this in international brands that sell their goods or services across the globe to people with very different tastes, habits and beliefs.

Yet another example of local marketing is the use of geolocation apps that send customers a text message or alert when they are physically near a brand’s location, such as driving by in their car, walking past a store or restaurant, or strolling through a large store that has other businesses within its premises. One example would be a fast food restaurant in a Super Walmart. When a customer that has downloaded the restaurant’s app to their mobile device is in Walmart, the app sends an alert to the customer’s phone, letting them know that they are offering a two-for-one deal on Quarter Pounders, for instance.

Finally, many businesses operate exclusively as local brands. Buckeye Donuts, which is located in Columbus, Ohio, is not trying to market its goods to people in other states. Its marketing and advertising campaigns are mainly based on word-of-mouth, local advertising, radio, local periodicals and participation in community events.

How Are Brands Using Local Marketing?

Many brands today are using local marketing in their communities and around the world. One unique instance of local marketing involves a collaboration between Mattel and Airbnb. Initially launched in October 2019, Airbnb announced that the Barbie Malibu Dreamhouse, located in Malibu, California, would be available for rent by one lucky guest, who could bring along three guests of their own, for the low price of $60 per night. It was designed to raise awareness of The Barbie Dream Gap Project GoFundMe initiative, which aims to help level the playing field for young women so they can follow their dreams.

We recently looked at another excellent example of a brand’s use of local marketing in an article on cultural intelligence. McDonald’s demonstrated the importance of adapting to different cultures in its marketing practices, product offerings and even its pricing. In India, where religious prohibitions prevent adherents from eating beef, McDonald’s introduced vegetarian options and replaced beef patties with mutton, chicken or fish.

mcdonalds

In Thailand, where the minimum wage is much lower than in other parts of the world, McDonald’s lowered the cost of its Big Mac to approximately US $2.20 (contrasted to Switzerland, where Big Macs sold for around US $6.20). In order to adapt to local culture in China, McDonald’s offered rice as a french fry alternative.

Additionally, McDonald’s uses different media personalities and influencers to promote its brand based on the cultural tastes of the locale. Its ability to adapt and change its products, marketing practices, pricing and advertising strategies to suit different geographical and sociological differences is a good indication of why it has become a hugely successful global brand.

Often, local marketing is not about reaching customers in their locale, but rather, bringing them to the brand through community building. The US Sports Network, Bally Sports, was interested in finding a better strategy to understand and engage its local fan base through the use of third-party data, but very quickly this became extremely costly. Instead, Bally turned to its online customer community, FanZone. This inclusive online community became the place where Bally’s diverse fans could get together with other fans, share their thoughts and experience a feeling of belonging.

Sports fans cheering their favorite team, representing the power of local marketing.

Using its FanZone community, Bally Sports enhanced and improved its ability to connect with regional fans in new and unique ways. It obtained on-demand feedback from customers, enabling them to gain a deeper understanding of its audience’s preferences and doubling its fan community through targeted live on-air promotion efforts.

Use Social Media for Local Marketing

Most brands today have a social media presence, but for local marketing, social media is a necessity rather than an option. The benefits of social media for local marketing include:

  • Geo-Targeting: Many social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, offer geo-targeting features for advertising. This enables businesses to target users in a particular location or radius specifically.
  • Local Engagement: Social media enables local businesses to engage directly with their community. Businesses can foster a sense of community and build local loyalty by sharing local news, participating in local events or spotlighting community members.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Social media can be cost-effective compared to traditional advertising channels like TV or print. Businesses can start with a small budget and scale up based on results.
  • Real-Time Feedback: Local businesses can receive immediate feedback from their community. This can be invaluable for understanding the needs and preferences of local customers.
  • Word-of-Mouth Amplification: Satisfied customers can easily share their experiences and recommendations, resulting in word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Versatility: Social media provides a platform for various content types, from videos to images to stories, enabling businesses to be creative and diverse in their messaging.

Aside from advertising on social media and regularly contributing appropriate content, many brands use the community aspects of social media to engage with and attract customers. Ashley Mason, marketing consultant and founder of Dash of Social, a social media management consultancy, told CMSWire that she built the client base for her business through the use of Facebook groups.

“For me, as a Massachusetts resident, I started joining several Boston-based Facebook groups revolving around entrepreneurship, business, etc. in 2016,” said Mason. “Because many members in these groups were often business owners looking to hire social media managers or marketers for their companies, I was able to use these communities to my advantage to establish thought leadership, build trust, gather leads, and grow my business.”

Mason attributes much of her revenue to Facebook groups and wrote about her success on Instagram. “Approximately $630,000 of my total business revenue came from Facebook groups, either by working with people who were in the same Facebook groups as me, or getting referred to other businesses by people I met in those Facebook groups.”

Optimize SEO for “Near Me” Local Searches

Consumers today often search for local businesses by using the phrase “near me.” In fact, a 2022 Statista survey revealed that 82% of US consumers who used their smartphone to shop had used near me searches.

Local businesses trying to increase their online presence and show up more often in near me searches should create a Google Business Profile. It’s free, and once a business has been verified, it will appear in near me search results. The name, address and phone number displayed on a brand’s Google Business Profile should match what is displayed on the brand’s website and any promotional material.

google business profile

 

A 2023 BroadbandSearch report indicated that 54.4% of web traffic was conducted on mobile devices (compared to 0.7% in 2009). Additionally, a recent Hubspot report revealed that local searches are what lead 50% of mobile users to visit stores within 24 hours. Brands today should create their website with a mobile-first strategy, optimizing for mobile devices as a priority, rather than optimizing for desktop displays.

Amy Jennette, senior director of brand marketing at the popular web host GoDaddy, told CMSWire that ensuring your website is mobile-friendly is a key part of the equation. “Consumers want information on the go, so double check that your site has mobile-friendly text, menus, forms, and buttons that make it simple for your audience to browse site information on the go.”

Jennette said that businesses should localize their website to make the content relevant to their target community. “For example, if I was the owner of an electric bicycle shop in my hometown of Seattle, I may rephrase the terms on my website’s homepage to say, ‘bringing our community the greenest bikes for a greener Seattle’ rather than simply putting ‘electric bike shop.’ And this moves beyond just your website —localizing your marketing should be applied across your digital and print ads, social media pages, and other public marketing materials,” said Jennette, who added that these simple tweaks could make a major difference for your audience as they research online local businesses that best fit their needs.

Leverage Traditional and Non-Traditional Advertising

Local marketing often relies on more traditional methods of obtaining the eyes and ears of customers and leads, such as TV and radio advertising, having a visible presence at local events, word-of-mouth, billboards and collaborations with other local businesses. “Whenever possible, join in on local industry-specific events, fairs and festivals, and neighborhood gatherings to boost your brand awareness, show off your locality, and further press the importance of supporting small, local businesses,” said Jennette. “In no time you’ll be the local authority in your industry, and you’ll have the local marketing tools in your toolbelt to thank for it.”

Other brands are using local marketing strategies that include digital displays located in areas where potential customers will see them. Geoff Crain, senior director of sales and marketing at Kingstar Media, a digital marketing and video production agency, told CMSWire that his business uses digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising for local marketing due to its ability to target local audiences precisely, deliver contextually relevant content and allow real-time updates. “By strategically placing digital displays in specific locations, we have the ability to reach specific and local communities effectively,” said Crain.

“DOOH also allows for dynamic and tailored messaging, incorporating local references and promotions to establish a deeper connection with the local community.” Crain explained that the real-time capabilities of DOOH enable businesses to adapt campaigns quickly, providing timely and accurate information to their desired local audience, enhancing engagement, and driving positive business outcomes in specific local markets.

Traditional marketing and advertising mediums can still be effective strategies for local businesses. Although many may not recognize radio’s reach today, a recent Statista report indicated that radio is one of the most powerful mediums in the United States, with a weekly reach of around 82.5% among adults, and 78% of those under 18. “Radio is another form of media we utilize for local marketing due to its ability to reach a wide and diverse audience within a specific geographical area,” said Crain. “With radio, we can effectively target local audiences, delivering our advertising messages directly to potential customers in their communities.”

Mobility is another benefit of radio advertising. “Radio also offers the advantage of being a mobile medium, reaching consumers in their cars, homes, or workplaces, allowing our clients to stay memorable and top-of-mind throughout the day,” said Crain. “Radio also allows for the creation of engaging and memorable audio content, leveraging the power of storytelling, music, and personalities to connect with the local audience on an emotional level, making it an impactful and cost-effective medium for local marketing.”

Final Thoughts on Local Marketing

Local marketing provides brands with the unique opportunity to intimately connect with their surrounding community, addressing its distinct tastes, cultures and preferences. By using a blend of traditional and digital strategies, from SEO and mobile optimization and social media engagement to radio advertising and participation in community events, businesses can effectively bolster their local presence.

Feature Image Credit: TensorSpark on Adobe Stock Photo

By Scott Clark

Scott Clark is a seasoned journalist based in Columbus, Ohio, who has made a name for himself covering the ever-evolving landscape of customer experience, marketing and technology. He has over 20 years of experience covering Information Technology and 27 years as a web developer. His coverage ranges across customer experience, AI, social media marketing, voice of customer, diversity & inclusion and more. Scott is a strong advocate for customer experience and corporate responsibility, bringing together statistics, facts, and insights from leading thought leaders to provide informative and thought-provoking articles. Connect with Scott Clark:

Sourced from CMSWIRE

local marketing, social media, marketing, social media marketing, digital marketing, advertising

By Katie Lamb

In the past, businesses would send out a few leaflets and put an ad in the newspaper and hope customers found them. Today, online marketing has opened up a world of new opportunities and ways to get your business seen. Digital marketing apps have been created to help you do that, and there are many to choose from.

Today, we will look at the best marketing apps to help you with:

  • SEO
  • Social media marketing
  • Content creation and design
  • Data reporting
  • And project management

Some of these apps are free to use with basic features, and others require you to pay a monthly subscription. But, all are tried and tested and proven to get results and will help boost every digital marketing campaign you work on.

Digital Marketing Apps for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Here are the best digital marketing apps for SEO.

Semrush

digital marketing apps

Semrush is an all-in-one tool suite that helps marketers and business owners grow their organic traffic.

It’s trusted by some of the worlds leading brands that use it to help boost their online marketing efforts.

The main Semrush features include:

  • On page SEO
  • Keyword research
  • Competitor analysis
  • Content marketing
  • Link building
  • Social media management
  • Content optimization
  • Website monetization

But there are 50+ tools to use in total. And you can also analyze any domain’s backlink profile and track your SERP positions daily.

Having won over 21 international awards as the best SEO software suite, this is one of the best digital marketing apps to enhance your marketing campaigns.

Cost: Free trial available. Pro $129.95/m, Guru $249.95/m, Business $499.95/m.

Learn more in this detailed Semrush review and tutorial.

Or you can try it free for 14 days!

Surfer SEO

digital marketing apps

Surfer is a content intelligence platform where you can research, write and generate SEO-optimized content.

By using Surfer SEO, you can improve the rank of your articles and boost the organic traffic to your website or blog.

The main Surfer tools include:

  • Content Editor
  • Audit (to help you easily update existing content)

It also comes with a few add-on tools, such as Surfer AI, where you can generate optimized articles in one click. And Grow Flow, which integrates with Semrush and gives you weekly bite-sized tasks to grow your domain.

You can also use their free Surfer AI Outline Generator and the Surfer Keyword Extension to get search volume and keyword data in the Google SERPs.

Cost: 7-day money-back guarantee. Essential $69/m, Advanced $149/m, Max $249/m, Enterprise custom pricing.

Learn more in this Surfer SEO review.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is another popular SEO tool suite that offers a range of features to help you analyze your niche and competitors and grow your search traffic.

Not only does it provide a range of great marketing tools, but you can also take advantage of the Ahrefs Academy, which contains video tutorials, guides, and free courses to help you improve at digital marketing.

The main Ahrefs tools include:

  • SEO toolset
  • Site explorer
  • Keyword explorer
  • Site audit
  • Rank tracker
  • Content explorer

It also has a few unique features, such as its own search engine, which helps them understand how search works and what it takes to rank #1 for various keywords.

Cost: Free with limited access to tools. Lite $79/m, Standard $159/m, Advanced $319/m, Enterprise $799/m.

Learn more in this detailed Ahrefs review.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console contains a range of tools that measures your site’s performance and search traffic, and you can use them to fix issues to better your Google ranking.

The search insights show you what terms bring users to your site, and you can use the Google URL inspection tool to understand how Google search sees your pages.

If you struggle to rank your site in Google, you can follow the Google search console training to optimize your search appearance and increase traffic.

Cost: Free.

Learn more in this article explaining what does Google Search Console do.

Digital Marketing Apps for Social Media Marketing

Here are the best apps to enhance your social media strategy.

Buffer

digital marketing apps

Buffer is an all-in-one social media management tool designed to help you manage your social accounts and grow your audience organically.

It works with all the popular social media platforms, such as:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Google Business Profile

From inside Buffer, you can plan, write and publish social media posts and analyze your results in the analytics dashboard.

Other features include being able to read and reply to comments, build customized landing pages, and use the AI assistant to write posts that get noticed.

Cost: Free for up to 3 social channels and limited features. Essentials $6/m, Team $12/m.

Facebook Ads Manager

Facebook ads manager allows you to set up and monitor ad campaigns on Facebook and Instagram for your target audience.

With detailed analytics, you can track your ads’ performance and tweak your campaigns where necessary.

You can also set your ad budgets so you never go over what you’re willing to spend and choose advertising objectives to fit your business goals.

The Facebook ads manager app is worth using as part of your digital marketing strategy. It is available on iOS and Android, so you can watch your digital marketing campaigns wherever you are.

Cost: Free.

Sprout Social

Sprout Social is one of the best social media management tools for helping digital marketers and business owners enhance their social media presence.

It includes smart listening features to understand your audience and uncover trends. Plus, you can effortlessly publish and schedule social media posts and track your efforts in the analytics dashboard.

Use Sprout Social with all the major social media platforms, such as:

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Tik Tok
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • Whatsapp
  • Facebook Messenger

Cost: Free 30-day trial. Standard $249/m, Professional $399/m, Advanced $499/m, Enterprise custom pricing.

Ripl

digital marketing apps

Ripl is a social video and content app that allows publishers to create professional-looking Instagram videos, YouTube intros, and social media posts.

One of the top digital marketing apps, Ripl includes thousands of ready-made templates, stock media, and customizable brand settings so you can create social content that stands out.

Use the advanced scheduling and sharing features to engage customers, promote your business and announce new products at any time of the day.

Cost: 7-day free trial. Base Plan $8.33/m, Premium Plan $13.75/m.

Digital Marketing Apps for Content Creation and Design

Here are the best apps to help you create scroll-stopping content and visual media.

Canva

Canva is an online design tool where you can create visual content for your social media marketing posts, website, and marketing campaigns with zero technical knowledge.

It includes a range of features such as a drag-and-drop editor, incredible graphics templates, stock photos, fonts, and more.

Download your creations or share them on social media thanks to Canvas’s integrated social share functionality.

Cost: Free with limited options. Canva Pro $10.99/m, Canva for Teams $12.99/m.

Grammarly

Grammarly is a writing assistant tool that helps users create error-free, clear, and compelling content.

It works across various desktop applications such as emails and messages, documents and projects, and social media.

The Grammarly main tools include:

  • Grammar checker
  • Plagiarism checker
  • Citation generator
  • Essay checker
  • AI writing assistant

If you want to write content that search engines and people love to read, Grammarly is a great tool that’s well worth using.

Cost: Free version available. Premium and Business plans with added functionality. Email for pricing.

Digital Marketing Apps for Data Insights and Reporting

Here are the best digital marketing apps for website analytics and insights.

Feedly

Feedly

Feedly is a handy tool that allows users to track audience insights across the web without spending time scrolling and reading everything.

All you have to do is type relevant keywords into Feedly AI that are important to you, and it’ll flag insights from various places such as blogs, newsletters, and news sights.

This information can be extremely useful for a digital marketer. It can help shape your online marketing campaigns, knowing what people are talking about and want to know about in their industry.

Cost: Free plan available. Pro $6/m, Pro+ $8.25/m, Enterprise custom pricing.

HotJar

HotJar is a website heatmap and behaviour analytic tool that allows you to see what customers do on your website and why.

Using HotJar, you get access to:

  • Heatmaps
  • Recordings
  • Surveys
  • Feedback
  • Interviews

The heatmaps are particularly useful, showing where users move, click and scroll on a page. This information shows you which buttons get missed, which are working and which areas may frustrate people.

Recordings even allow you to see what your customers see as they move through their journey on your site.

Cost: Free/up to 35 sessions, Plus $32/m up to 100 sessions, Business $80/m up to 500 sessions.

Google Analytics

The Google Analytics app is a place where you can track the performance of your website, including how many visitors use your site, what pages they click on, where they come from, and more.

This information lets you see where you need to improve and who to target for your marketing campaigns.

The new GA4 version even includes a data visualization tool to see your visitors by country via an interactive map.

Whether you’re a new or seasoned website owner, Google Analytics is an essential tool to help with your market research and digital marketing efforts.

Cost: Free.

Learn more in this article detailing Google Analytics for blogs (focused on GA4).

Digital Marketing Apps for Project Management

As you scale your efforts, you must check out one of these great project management tools!

ProofHub

Proof Hub

ProofHub is a project management and team collaboration software that includes everything you need to manage projects and teams in one location.

The main ProofHub features include:

  • Task management
  • Gantt chart
  • Board view
  • Table view
  • Calendar
  • Collaborations
  • Discussions
  • Forms
  • Project templates

It can be integrated with a range of tools you already use and is one of the best ways to organize your digital marketing campaigns.

Cost: Free trial available. Essential $45/m, Ultimate Control $89/m.

Trello

Trello is a popular project management tool where you can set up boards to keep track of tasks that are assigned to different team members.

The platform is easy to navigate, and you can create, organize and prioritize the actions you want to get done.

Team members can add cards, comments, links, files, and images and tag different team members into their cards for collaboration.

Trello integrates with many other apps and can be used on iOS and Android devices so you can keep an eye on digital marketing campaigns on the go.

Cost: Free plan available. Standard $5/m, Premium $10/m, Enterprise $17.50/m.

The Best Digital Marketing Apps In Closing

Those are the best digital marketing apps to help you succeed with your marketing plan.

But, alongside using these apps, try out different digital marketing techniques such as attraction marketing and using the best referral software.

The more ways you use to promote your business, the better chance you have to outrank the competition and keep a steady flow of customers coming to your site.

Sourced from Niche Pursuits