In his talk at the Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2014, Sinan Kanatsiz, CEO of KCOMM, talked about using internet marketing to boost brand engagement. Sinan offered a high-level overview of everything that’s changing in internet marketing today and building on what he said, we offer you our insight on what we think is relevant for B2B marketers today.
Be consistent, build trust
According to Edelman Trust Barometer 2013, 64% of people need to hear a message 3 to 5 times before believing it. This means, always striving to deliver new messages might actually be counterproductive, as simply redressing one message multiple times might help you build higher trust. Of course we wouldn’t recommend you to keep tweeting the same 140 characters 5 times in a row – but forming a few core messages and pushing them out in different forms (infographic, blog, video, etc.) has proven to be a successful practice.
Change is important
Sinan mentioned that every 2 years, his businesses undergo a transformation – changing their whole website’s CMS, look & feel and content. In addition to this, he makes sure their social media profiles are always changing looks in order to keep their followers interested. The only things that remain constant is the website domain, the logo and company colours. Why? Because the marketing world today is changing so rapidly that sticking to the same design for too long might limit youryou’re your audience’s horizons.
You might be asking, how does he know that he doesn’t take a step in the wrong direction? Sinan, as many others, can predict which changes are likely to be successful by using powerful predictive analytics that are embedded in today’s CRM systems. Marketers love predictive analytics because they get to test marketing messages without spending an extra dollar, which is something they could never do before.
As the amount of content available on the internet grows by the minute, those who are keen on reading it must find new ways of getting through as much information as possible as quickly as possible. How could content marketers not help them with this? Sinan Kanatsiz in his talk argued that infographic is the new white paper – packed with facts but much faster to read. Similarly, the video is still on the rise and shows no signs of stopping: YouTube is the largest television network in the world at the moment.
Visual content in general is very powerful because it creates impressions very fast – it takes as little as 300 milliseconds for a person to form an impression. The point is to create messages that are better at being spotted and create the right impression. Create messaging that’s appropriate to these media, push them out via the right channels and you should receive more traffic than with traditional text-based content. Of course, text-based content is still very powerful and won’t be leaving anytime soon. How to make sure it’s successful? Whatever you’re writing, your story must be well thought-through, have a depth, a character and conflict.
Use customer data
Data, data, data. Information about your target audience will help you create more tailored messaging. The top 5 most important data for marketing success according to Experian Data Quality are: contact data (54%), sales data (44%), demographic data (38%), preference data (31%) and behavioural data (26%). Use your customer data in your email marketing, to segment your database and create more personalised messages. Greeting the email recipient is always a good idea if you want to make the impression that you care. Also, pay attention to what devices your target audience uses to connect with you – are they mobile? 40% of all internet traffic is now from mobile devices – are all your touchpoints ready for this?
Despite the spiking growth of social media in the past few years, search engines are still the most trust worthy sources of content for customers. This means SEO is crucial to your digital success. It’s important to take SEO seriously and follow the best practices; especially make sure you use powerful meta tags, your content is up-to-date and you keep building backlinks from reliable websites. It’s a peculiar fact of internet marketing, that sometimes even though your links from other websites won’t be read by many people, search engines are still going to rank your site higher than they would without these backlinks. This may not be a very romantic thought, but it does give you a higher chance of reaching your audience with your other, relevant content.
Unless you target a very unusual target market, your audience is very likely to be on several media at once. Be everywhere they are. Whether it’s your website, email or social media, your messaging needs to be consistent across all channels. Integrate your social media into your website and you email, and use a CRM system to map the movement of your audience across these channels.
So how to engage your customers best?
Always focus on building a relationship. Engage with your audience via several touch points, ask them questions and get them to provide feedback to you. If nothing else, ask them what kind of content would they like to read from you or what has been their experience with your services so far. Use humour and real, relatable stories to engage them. People who make other people laugh evoke an emotion in them, and such positive emotion creates trust. Don’t be afraid to cross personal boundaries and create content that’s more relatable and more engaging. Who doesn’t want to connect with others while they’re connected to the internet?