During the 4th week of class we reviewed how to write a blog correctly and some of the fundamental elements that need to be included. We also reviewed the blogs that we had written about communities with out classmates, which was really interesting since we had each researched and blogged about very different communities. One of our classmates discussed a community called behance.net which allows artists to display and sell their artwork. The artwork on this website has a really unique look to it, which I thought was pretty cool, especially since I am in the market for a couple of paintings! We also review value propositional and the professor made sure that we all understood that this meant and how to write one.
The Road To My Career
When I graduated from college I didn’t really know where I wanted to live, or what I wanted to do. I had graduated with a degree in Communications, which is kind of like saying I like American food. Unspecific and vague to say the least! After living in Australia, working at a multiple restaurants and and insurance brokerage I stumbled into a position at CooperVision as a Digital Marketing Consultant. At first I joked with my friends and family that I got to play on Facebook all day, but was quick to find the depth, complexity and effectiveness that digital marketing provides.
What I Learned
Although I continue to work in digital marketing, I was excited to take Digital Marketing class because there is sooo much to learn in this field! You may think you have a good grasp on everything one day, and then Google will make an algorithm change and then ya don’t! I don’t have the opportunity to design websites at work, so I thought it was really interesting to look at Google Analytics and learn how to create different campaigns to keep track of each marketing campaign that was setup.
But The Final Presentations!
Okay, so no one gets excited about creating a final presentation, or a marketing plan and with that point, I will say that I certainly was not excited about this assignment. However, as time consuming and mind boggling and this exercise may be, it is extremely helpful going back to what we learned in 505 and creating a digital marketing plan for a company other than our client. This really helped to solidify the process in my mind and also reminded me of a few things that we had learned in the more fundamental classes. Super super helpful!!
Meet quarter end with a Blog?
How many sales managers or marketing managers recall the phone call two weeks before quarter end and the company is 10% short on the revenue budget and the bosses are looking for sales, and from anywhere. All of a sudden you start the aggressive conference calls finding out which region has a full pipeline to tap, what rep has prospects that can take product early, what program can be launched in two weeks, and even yes – team you better hit your objective this quarter or you may not be here for the next one.
If you heard, Johnny from the Allentown market comment he had five registered users on his blog that posted last week they were interested in participating in a pilot program for a 10% discount and a 12 month term, and they said they could sign ASAP. You would kiss Johnny on the forehead then say; what the heck is a blog?
Benefits of blogs or microsites or forums or whatever you want to call them today?
Yes, this technology moves fast and so do the names. A community site using digit marketing can be a match made in heaven for exchanging goods. Providing the proper discussion topics, intellectual feedback and two way conversation to a very targeted market that has similar interests; could there be a better marketplace? In addition, traditional marketing typically told you what to do, however community sites educate you on how to make the best decisions, so listen and learn, then produce the best product for the best price to meet the customer at the right time at the right place to consider your product. By the way, if you educate the customer on something that may not lead to an immediate sale, trust is built, and trust wins deals!
Is traditional marketing that different from digital marketing?
Yes, but just like personal selling was different from newspaper advertising or then direct mail or then telesales and on and on. Digital marketing is very different from traditional marketing, however similar principles apply and if you do not sharpen your skills and add digital marketing to your tool kit, you will be left behind. Hubspot.com helped us.
These leads stink!
That’s the goal, to eliminate non-qualified, non-interested, and non-potential customers from the sales guys list. That’s right, no more mass direct mail, outbound dialing for dollars or blind email. Digital marketing provides the means to create deeper engagement and interaction with a company to form deeper relationships. Sounds similar to the courtship process? It is!
People communicate very differently today, so since the marketing and sales process is a mirror into how people interact and communicate, it’s time to get on the same page. Either a website, or social site, or email distribution, or webinar, or download, or blog, or search engine, you get the point!
The new sales cycle.
..is more challenging, takes longer but lasts longer, involves more steps, takes more contacts, and the more education you provide to a prospect – they may appreciate that, and buy something from you!
NextStep in Reaching Consumers
When we first started this cohort I figured I had a general working knowledge and was fairly savvy in digital marketing but I quickly learned the knowledge I had was not even a fraction of what digital marketing really is. I had an understanding that businesses needed to have a digital marketing strategy which include the basics such as accessible websites, activity on social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. I did not realize how much of an effect digital marketing played in the role of driving sales and profit. My three biggest take -a-ways from this class that I will directly use in my integrated marketing plan for our client are, the use of Facebook paid advertisements, direct email marketing and the use of YouTube in an effort to gain brand awareness and show the inner workings of the business.
I think utilizing Facebook as means of marketing to potential consumers is very vital because many people in today’s society use Facebook. Facebook provides a means to reach a huge consumer market. For our client, my target market is generally mothers/ parents of high school students and also the student themselves, which a majority are connected on Facebook. Facebook proves to be an affordable tactic to reach these consumers and there are metrics to measure the success of your digital marketing campaign. Facebook allows you to see how well the business activities are doing and you can monitor your effectiveness and make changes as necessary.
Just think, how many times a week or day even do you get emails from businesses offering promotions or directing you to their website? I can honestly say I receive around 10 a day. Do I actually look at them all? No, I typically will delete them. And that is the challenge that email marketers have is trying to find good content and a good subject to put into an email blast so that consumers will open the email in hopes of driving traffic to their business. Email marketing I always thought was “old school” until I learned that it is one of the best ROI’s in the digital marketing world. I will incorporate direct email blasts for our client weekly offering promotions of services and workshops in hopes of increasing consumer traffic and a higher conversion rate.
YouTube is my go to when I have a little down time as it is for many people. Actually, almost one billion people per month visit YouTube and watch nearly 6 billion hours of videos. As a business owner I would want my business on YouTube in hopes of raising my brand awareness. YouTube now offers an analytics portion to their advertising so as a marketer can see how well your ad is performing. Also you can control your daily budget, only spending when someone actually interacts with your ad. Another very useful feature is that YouTube allows you to target specific ages, gender, location, and interests so for my client I will make a targeted campaign to the mothers and high school graduates.
No matter how much you think you know, there is always more to learn. That’s what I found out in my time over the past few weeks in this class. In my past few jobs I did dabble in a bit of digital marketing; Facebook promotions, SEO, email marketing, etc. I knew there was more to learn, but I never imagined all that I would.
During the class I got a much greater depth knowledge or Google analytics and Adwords. This has helped so much. In my current job we work with vendor partners who run Adwords campaigns for us. I knew that we would have an ad that was up on Google, but that was the extent of how I knew it worked. Now I know that what we are paying for are the words we are bidding on within the campaigns we are running, as well as setting the time of day and geography. This gives me a lot more knowledge when we are discussing with the vendors new campaigns to run, how to select the words we are bidding on, as well as for our target markets when we want to run these campaigns.
With analytics, we can now track on our website what is working and what isn’t. I knew what was good and what wasn’t on analytics before, however I never really knew how to explain it to others. I just knew what was good and what wasn’t. After our analytics class I was able to cooperate with the girls in my office to make a presentation to explain how analytics work to our management. Since we could explain that we were losing people from the front page with no call to action, and then SHOW that we were losing people. The ability to then show them what was happening off our website because of a lack of call to action was remarkable.
I got to learn more about blogs. I use to blog a lot and we have one that we run as work. The tips and tricks that I have learned to make a better blog are phenomenal. Not only has my personal blogging gotten better, but I have been able to successfully give tips to the engineers at work. When we started the blog at work, the engineers were writing full essays. Multiple pages, no headers, no breaks, just pages of technical writing. Now, they have headers, shorter posts, fun interaction questions, and a readable blog that is growing each day.
From everything that I have learned I’ve got a lot of ideas buzzing around for NextStepU that they are not utilizing. They could do a lot of work with Adwords to boost their brand awareness as well as a lot more with social media that would be helpful to part of the target market. I think with using some of these techniques that were learned, a very strong digital plan could be used with NextStepU that would be far more effective then traditional media plans. I am really excited to move forward and get working on our full marketing plans for NextStepU.
If you were anything like me, when you heard the term digital marketing, you immediately thought social media. In order to digitally market your company, you need a Facebook and Twitter account. WRONG! Digital marketing is so much more than Facebook and Twitter and this class showed me how to expand my digital marketing skills.
Search Engine Optimization is a facet of digital marketing that will help companies appear higher on search results, when done correctly. Most people don’t click to the second page of search results, so SEO is beneficial for several reasons.
- Increase the number of visitors to the webpage
- Gain more clients
- Have an edge over your competition
- Increase brand awareness
- Establish your company as a powerhouse
These are all very beneficial rewards of utilizing SEO, however it has to be done right in order for these results to occur.
Here are some tips to maximize your SEO results:
- Regularly produce original content
- Use headings and tags for content to be found
- Include links to reputable sources
- Have reputable sources include links to your website
- Stay up to date with the current Google Algorithm
This is a great way to track and analyze the success of your website and SEO progress. Google Analytics is incredibly user friendly and easily helps to draw up reports providing companies with valuable insights.
You should use Google analytics if you’re looking for metrics on:
- The demographics of your audience (Male V. Female, median age, mobile V. web)
- Time of day you receive the most interaction
- Click through rates
- Campaign measurement
- Key Performance Indicators
Learning all of these factors helps to understand your audience, when you’re getting the most exposure and helps determine what’s working and what isn’t. Ultimately it provides direction on what methods should be used when implementing the next marketing plan.
Blogging is another aspect of digital marketing that helps to increase engagement and interaction with the brand. Blogging shows the human side to the company and gives it a voice. A blog is where company representatives can become approachable to consumers.
This style of writing allows for more engagement and encourages consumers to interact. In every day life a typical consumer would probably not be able to have a conversation on the phone with a CEO, however, with a blog this becomes possible. The CEO can post thoughts, product progress or new ideas on the blog and consumers can read his/her direct thoughts and comment back. In a really good blog, the authors of the articles will respond back to the comments and generate conversation.
Some tips for a successful blog include:
- Use pictures and visuals to aid the writing
- Avoid large blocks of texts, make it easier to scan
- Write in your own voice and show personality
- Use bolded headlines
- Encourage readers to comment and interact
- Provide thoughtful responses to comments
All these different factors contribute to the overall digital marketing toolbox. Much more sophisticated than simply creating a Facebook page and Twitter account!
The wonders of digital marketing – Why I’m a believer
If you’re doubting the relevancy and value of having a digital marketing plan hold your thought and think again. Now-a-days in order for businesses to be successful companies must have a digital marketing strategy included in their marketing plan. Without it out, your missing out on the possibility of impactful revenue generating opportunities and a greater chance of reaching and converting qualified leads. The world is quickly becoming digital and when this train takes off you don’t want to be left behind. There is still a place for good ol’ fashioned traditional marketing methods but digital marketing offers a cheaper, faster, versatile and more practical form of marketing than traditional. This is a form of interacting that should be taken advantage of. Don’t believe me? Check out this article http://singlegrain.com/10-companies-doing-online-marketing-right/ highlighting 10 companies that have successful digital marketing strategies.
Content truly is king. Robert Rose said, “Marketing is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content marketing is showing the world that you are one.” Content is the backbone of communication and is anything that adds value to the consumer during the buying process. It’s about giving consumers an idea of why your product or service will benefit them – and encourages the consumer to buy. Terry Foster said “Content marketing is a way to break through the enormous clutter of messaging that we’re all faced with as consumers every day.” It’s about engaging your audience, building authority, and relaying valuable information that consumers can benefit from. Effective content marketing can lead to increased web traffic, good SEO ranking and increased sales.
I’ve completely underrated the value of blogging.
Interesting content is one of the top reasons why consumers follow companies on social media and subscribe to email communications. One of the best vehicles to deliver that interesting content is through blogging. There are over 500,000 new blog entries posted everyday. Consistently publishing relevant, valuable and interesting content is what positions a company as a thought leader and a trusted resource. Research shows companies that generate 15 blog posts per month average 1,200 new leads per month. And, company blogs increase visitors to their website by 55 percent. Companies that blog have 97% more inbound traffic which means more search engine traffic. Blogging is a great way for companies to sustain an online presence and share the best they have to offer.
Applying the knowledge
I’ve learned that in this digital time – having an effective digital marketing plan is important. Just having a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page isn’t enough. You have to know how to use social media and the other various elements of digital marketing to engage, interact, convince and convert leads into loyal customers. I will definitely use a lot of the information I learned in this class in my presentation for NextStepU. Their target audience is heavily engrossed in this digital era so it’s important for them to meet them where they are.