Author Archives: Kerry

Trends, Predictions and Statistics You’ll Wish You’d Known Before

As the world of marketing, PR and advertising changes at lightning speed, it’s important to keep track of current trends and expectations in order to determine how to better reach, nurture and convert customers.

One of the most heavily discussed predictions for 2014 is the importance of creating highly personalised content across all different digital marketing platforms (ie website, blogs, social media, email marketing etc).

To help you identify current trends to boost your marketing strategy, we have compiled some useful facts and statistics below:

 

Trends, Predictions and Statistics to Consider

  • Industry experts predict a whopping £80 billion pound spend on new digital marketing collateral in 2014.
  • Nearly 50% of companies have content marketing strategies.
  • Social media marketing budgets are set to double in the next five years.
  • Internet advertising will make up nearly 24% of the entire ad market by 2015.
  • B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those that don’t.
  • 65% of audience are visual learners.
  • Visual data is processed 60,000 times faster by the brain than text.

 

Social Media Marketing Stats

  • Social media marketing budgets are predicted to double in the next five years.
  • The top three social networks used by B2B marketers are LinkedIn (91%); Twitter (85%); and Facebook (81%).
  • 43% of all marketers found a customer via LinkedIn.
  • 52% of all marketers found a customer via Facebook in 2013.
  • Google+ averages more visits per month than Facebook. Google+ receives 1.2 billion visits per month compared to Facebook’s 809 million.
  • 83% of B2B marketers invest in social media to increase brand exposure; 69% to increase web traffic; and 65% to gain market insights.
  • People spend, on average, four times longer on Tumblr and Pinterest than they do on Twitter.

 

Online Advertising Stats

  • Landing page optimisation is highly regarded as the most important tactic for optimising the performance of paid search advertising; targeting by segment is most important in optimising display ad performance.
  • 8% of internet users account for 85% of online display ad clicks.
  • Videos on landing pages increase conversions by 86%.
  • In 2013, internet advertising expenditures surpassed newspaper ad spending for the first time. Internet ads also now account for 21% of all advertising costs, second to television at 40%.
  • Of the 100 largest global advertisers, 41 are headquartered in the U.S., 36 in Europe, and 23 in Asia.
  • The average click-through rate (CTR) for online display ads is 0.11% (roughly one click per one thousand views). CTRs are highest in Malasia (0.30%) and Singapore (0.19%), and lowest in Australia and the U.K. (both at 0.07%).
  • Among different display ad formats, large rectangle ads (336 x 280 pixels) generate the highest CTRs on average at 0.21-0.33%, while full banners (468 x 6) generate the lowest at 0.04%.

 

Email Marketing Stats

  • In 2013, 62% of emails were opened on a mobile device (48% on smartphones and 14% on tablets).
  • 48% of consumers say email is their preferred form of communication with brands.
  • Emails that feature social sharing buttons increase click-through rates by a whopping 158%.
  • 4 out of 5 consumers use smartphones to shop.
  • 40% of shoppers consult 3 or more channels (often while shopping) before making a purchase.
  • By the end of 2014 mobile is predicted to overtake desktop Internet usage.
  • 70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour.
  • 78% of retailers plan to invest in mobile this year.

 

The facts and figures above are a mere snapshot of information available out there. Try to get the most out of your 2014/2015 marketing strategy by studying data collected by industry professionals and integrating findings into your own campaigns. Current findings indicate that an integrated marketing strategy across social media, SEO, content marketing, email, PPC, PR, and event marketing platforms will help to create a cohesive experience for potential customers. It’s therefore important to research all marketing avenues and identify areas that can be developed successfully in light of trends and predictions found.

If you have any interesting marketing facts or statistics to share, please comment below. We would love to hear from you.

 

* Sources: The statistics above have been compiled from sources which we believe to be current, reliable and up to date. Sources include: Social Times, B2B Marketing, iMedia Connection, Smart Insights, and Heidi Cohen’s Actionable Marketing Guide.

The Ultimate Email Marketing Checklist

So, you have created an awesome email marketing campaign and you’re ready to hit the send button, but stop for a moment, is your email 100% accurate? If in any doubt, hold fire until you are absolutely sure.

The best way to check your email marketing campaign is to create and carry out a prelaunch checklist. Here are our top tips on what to include:

Attention to Detail

It’s important to remember that your email marketing campaign is a reflection of your brand and should build a level of trust between you and recipients. Spelling or grammatical mistakes could destroy credibility so be sure to check, double check and then check all content again.

Test, Test, Test!

Test emails enable you to check how your email will look to your recipients and will also enable you to rectify any mistakes which haven’t already been picked up on. Send your email campaign to a proof group and if your database includes Hotmail, Yahoo, Google Mail and AOL email addresses, sign up for these free accounts too. Add them to your proof group so you can test each different types of email client. If any changes need to be made, be sure to send the email to your proof group again, and again, and again, if necessary, until it is perfect.

And Test Again!

Test how your email looks on mobile devices. If your email isn’t easy to view, consider using responsive design services to optimise it for desktops as well as smartphones, tablets and e-readers. If your budget doesn’t allow for this, create your email using responsive email design strategies, e.g. build on a single-column layout as this usually scales better than a multi-column layout, shorten content and make sure the call to action is visible without scrolling, reduce image sizes so they download quicker and make sure buttons are mobile friendly (44 x 44 pixels is a minimum). Then, of course, test, test and test again.

Is it obvious who you are?

Recognition is vital to the success of your campaign. Use a ‘from’ name that reflects who you are and one that recipients will recognise and trust. Try to avoid using witty names as these may land in the spam folder; usually your business name is the best name to use.

Check all of the links

It is easy to accidently break links or have typos in links, so make sure you and your proof group check that every single link takes you through to the right landing page. A broken link is really annoying for someone who is interested enough to click on it and could lead to the recipient unsubscribing from your emails.

Is your email spam friendly?

Spam filters are in place to detect unsolicited and unwanted emails to prevent them reaching users’ inboxes. They scan emails and evaluate them against a list of criteria in order to make a judgement as to whether or not they are genuine. There are a number of steps to take to try and avoid the spam filter:

  • Create a relevant subject line, but avoid ‘spammy’ words such as ‘FREE’, ‘CLICK HERE’, or ‘BUY NOW’.
  • Don’t overuse common punctuation such as exclamation marks or question marks.
  • Avoid spelling mistakes.
  • Always provide a clear unsubscribe link
  • Ensure your email has a healthy balance of images and text.

To find out more about spam filters and how to avoid them, please see my earlier post: ‘How to Avoid Spam Filters’.

Have you included a bold call to action?

The call to action is the main point of interactivity in an email and encourages recipients to take some kind of action, i.e to make a purchase, or to download a whitepaper. This click-through link or message should be easy to locate and identify. Be careful of overwhelming readers with too many actions. Distinct, well-thought-out call to actions are often much more effective.

Have you given all the images Alt tags?

Alt tags are short messages that describe images. Make sure all images have alt tags that provide recipients with additional information and encourage them to click to open.

Is your data clean?

Cleaning your data is extremely important. Check your campaign reports for soft bounces and failed sends and be sure to remove these addresses from your email lists. How often you clean your data really depends on how often you will be sending campaigns. As a guide, we suggest you look through your reports and perform a general check of your database once every four months. For large databases of over 10,000 addresses we suggest you clean your data monthly and perform a major clean every six months.

So, there you have it. Our prelaunch email checklist. If you have anything to add, please feel free to comment below.

Simple Ways to Improve Your Lead Generation Strategy

As we find ourselves marching on into 2014, now’s as good a time as any to take stock of the year’s marketing and advertising activities in terms of lead generation and success rates.

For anyone unfamiliar with the term, lead generation refers to the generation of consumer interest or enquiry into business products or services via a range of day-to-day business activities such as: telemarketing, advertising, website optimisation and development, mail/email marketing campaigns and more.

Lead generation can be expensive depending on what route you take, but it needn’t be so: by carrying out marketing and advertising activities in-house, and paying close attention to the behaviour of your target audience, you can adapt your means in order to find the right leads for your business.

So, what can you do to boost your lead generation?

We’ve put together some information and tips below that may help.

Searching for leads can seem hard at first.

Searching for leads can seem hard at first.

Search Engine Optimisation

First and foremost, it’s essential to use a range of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) strategies, techniques and tactics to get your website as high up as possible on Google and other search engines.

There are a number of steps you can take to boost SEO: for example, make sure content is well-written and rich with keywords, add internal links and external links, list your business on local/ national directories, incorporate a site map, add image descriptions, and write unique and descriptive meta descriptions and page titles for each page on your website. Previously we’ve written more in-depth guides to SEO here, here and here.

Tips: Take a look at Google Adwords Keyword Planner to identify keywords and phrases people are using to search for your product or service. Use the findings to rework website content accordingly.

Optimising your website for search engines will help to increase the number of visitors to your website. In order to turn traffic into leads (and ultimately profits) be sure to feature compelling offers, effective calls-to-action and convincing lead nurturing campaigns on your website.

 

Web Forms

Web forms are one of the handiest tools you can use to capture leads in-house. They can be created yourself and placed on whatever landing page or channel you see fit.

Some of the most successful web forms include:

  • Newsletter subscription forms: these can be placed on your website, Facebook page, email signature, YouTube video descriptions and more.
  • File download forms: these forms are typically used on landing pages as main conversion points to urge users to download something of interest (e-book or whitepaper, badge and other resources).
  • Marketing surveys: well-crafted, friendly surveys are perfect for finding out more information about your audience. Be sure to incentivise your audience responsibly to draw users to the survey.

Most web forms, if created to suit your visitor’s intent, can sky rocket your lead gathering strategy, but be sure to test and monitor conversion rates and rework forms accordingly.

 

Networking

Business networking is a low-cost method of marketing widely used to build relationships, boost connections and raise visibility. It’s one of the most effective and cheapest forms of lead generation out there that has the scope to propel businesses to success. Please refer to our earlier post: Networking Made Easy to find out more.

Tip: Look at each invitation or event as an opportunity for lead generation; a chance to meet new contacts or make new sales.

Sales Lists

One of the quickest ways to assemble large sales lists is to buy it from a dedicated marketing companies who specialise in collecting and selling lists for certain business and consumer sectors. The obvious advantage is that you can access large databases almost instantly. However, it’s important to think about how many other companies have bought the list and emailed the names already. The names on the list will also be unqualified which means they’ll need to be verified and analysed to see if they are a good match for you.

Tips: Lists created in-house will always be of a higher quality (at some point or other the contacts will have interacted with your brand) and are much more likely to lead to higher conversion rates.

Mail/Email Marketing Campaigns

Well-crafted email marketing campaigns can boost lead generation and returns. Start by identifying your aims and objectives before you begin. Then, define your market audience and create powerful content that will interest and engage your audience. Track your results in order to develop future campaigns. To find out more about email marketing campaigns and how to track results, please refer to our earlier posts: Email Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide and 10 Tips to Boost Email Marketing Performance.

 

Telemarketing and Teleprospecting

Telemarketing and teleprospecting are two similar marketing methods used to generate sales leads. Telemarketing firms employ operators who read from a prepared script in order to try and sell a product or a service to the public over the phone, while teleprospecting employs trained operators – either in-house or from a third-party teleprospecting company – to contact targeted business prospects. Depending on the size and nature of your company, telemarketing and/or teleprospecting may be effective for generating leads and sales.

 

Advertise your Business

By advertising your business through traditional channels like trade publications, specialised online directories like ourselves or other targeted channels you know will reach your customers, you will generate enquires that even if they don’t initially convert to a sale can still become part of your prospects list and may eventually convert to sales.

 

Qualify Leads and Rank Them for Follow-up

One of the most important aspects of lead generation is to qualify the leads you’ve generated; lead quality drives revenue.

You can qualify leads by verifying that the contact information is accurate and confirming that the lead is part of your target audience. Put together a collection of qualifying questions: Who? Where? Why? For example:

  • Who has the most obvious need for your products or services?
  • Where do your ideal prospects live, work etc?
  • Why would the prospect be likely to buy your products or service?

Once you have verified your leads, prioritize the ones that are most likely to convert to sales. Base the order on the lead’s industry, geographic location and any recent ‘trigger events’ that might make potential customers more likely to buy.

 

To sum up

Lead generation does not have to break the bank; established marketing processes and focused execution have the power to grow and sustain a small business. Investigate the options available and test them for yourself to determine what works for your business: Test, test, test.

 

Networking Made Easy

The exciting thing about business networking is that you never know who or what is around the corner. The potential is huge! A five minute conversation, in the right place at the right time, could literally catapult your business to success.

So, what’s networking all about? Well, it’s generally a low-cost method of marketing used to build relationships, boost connections and raise visibility. It provides business owners and workers with opportunities they didn’t have before.

Where to start

There are a wide range of networking tools and avenues out there for the taking, so it’s important to think about the direction you want to take and how much time you are willing and able to dedicate.

Take a moment to think about what you want to get out of networking. Who do you want to network with? What is it you want to achieve? With a clear objective, making decisions on how and where to network becomes an easier task.

If you’re not sure where to start, ask people you already know in your sphere of influence for some advice. Where do they go to network? Who do they know? Invite them for a coffee to discuss, and remember to think about how you can help them too.

Go online

For the savvy business networker, a healthy balance of online networking and offline networking is the best way to build relationships and stand out from the crowd.

Join online forums and social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn to keep in the loop with upcoming networking events and activities. You may also want to consider joining high-profile and widely recognised networking sites such as: The Institute of Directors (IOD – an exclusive networking community for director level professionals), Chamber of Commerce (a high-profile and independent business network), Business Network International (BNI),  and 4Networking. These platforms are perfect for forming relationships with like-minded people; introduce yourself, ask questions, plan meetings and share your knowledge with other members.

Local, National or International Networking?

If your goal is to boost visibility and connections within your local community, then attending community events, sports events and other local activities is a great place to start. You might want to think about volunteering to help organise and run events, or you could put yourself forward as a guest speaker. The more you can get involved, the greater visibility you will have within the community.

If you are looking to connect and communicate with people further afield, take time to research upcoming events, conferences and exhibitions on a national and/or international level and plan in advance which ones you want to attend.

Be prepared

If you decide to attend a conference or social business event, it’s important to do your homework beforehand. Try and find out about the speakers and the attendees and make a list of who you would like to meet. Who is most likely to pass referrals or do business with you? Contact people you would like to meet before the event and arrange to meet them there. If you can’t find out who is attending, ask the organisers on the day, or ask other people that you know.

Think about how you will present yourself and how you will describe your business. What are the key things you want people to know about you and your business?  What do you want people to remember?

Get involved

Networking is about making connections. The more people you know, the more business opportunities you will discover. Approach new people and engage in conversations as much as you can by asking open questions, offering advice and imparting knowledge. Try to determine the potential of your new contact as soon as you can. If you spot potential, push further to find out more. If you find yourself stuck with someone who can talk the hind legs off a donkey but shows no signs of enquiring about you or your business, politely try to wrap the conversation up and move on to the next person.

Follow up

Matching names to faces after an event can be tricky so it’s a good idea to jot down some details after each event. Include the event name, date, names of who you have met and maybe even some keywords from conversations to jog your memory later on.

Some people like to keep in touch by email or phone, while others prefer to connect via social media sites such as LinkedIn. Remember to ask new contacts which method they would prefer and try to make contact within a few days to show you are interested.

Whether you want to generate referrals and leads for new business, find a new job, or improve basic business practise, networking provides you with a wealth of new opportunities – all you need to do is get out there.