You're doing all the right things. You have a content marketing strategy that's more than a work of fiction. You're putting aside time to produce useful content which you're placing on quality sites as well as your own. Google Analytics tells you that you're getting plenty of traffic and where it's coming from. And you're capturing leads in exchange for valuable extra content. But how do you know which of your leads are most engaged?
Nurturing leads into clients can be a slow process but you're willing to put in the work. Time is limited though and you could do with some help sifting through all those leads you've been building to know which might be more receptive to your overall proposition.
It turns out that CommsBox gathers quite a lot of information about your leads: when they return to your site (by whatever means), which emails they click through from, which forms they complete, all your contact reports. A lot of data. Th [read on]
My primary source of news on the Internet has for years been the BBC. They have been at the forefront of the digital revolution. So it's informative that over the last few weeks they've launched a revised beta test version of their news site. Apart from a minor visual redsign this site is 'responsive'. The BBC was the most popular news provider on a mobile handset (14.5 million users) in April 2014, and a fifth of mobile internet users access news on their handset every day (Ofcom)
A responsive design aims to build web pages that detect the screen size and orientation of a device and change the way it looks accordingly. Responsive design has prompted a lot of discussion over the last couple of years as more and more people ditch the traditional computer and use a variety of tablets and mobile phones to browse the web. Looking at traffic to some of our own sites over the last couple of months non-PC users accou [read on]
We're often asked why a product like CommsBox is better than a home-brew collection of disparate tools. The list is long but I thought I'd share a very simple example of how we've made use of our own tools in-house to give personalised and segmented messages.
Like many companies we're interested in building our list of contacts organically, convincing people by what we know while at the same time balancing what we give away for free and what we offer in return for joining our list. A common strategy makes use of 'white papers' or 'reports' as a way to attract new leads. You write (or have written) a document of some value to your prospective customers. You place this on your web-site and ask your contacts to complete a simple form to gain access to it.
That's not enough of course, you need to get people to know that you have something they may find useful and so your write a few 'teaser' articles. You put one of these on yo [read on]
Marketing automation is fast becoming an important trend for digital marketers looking into 2015. However, it is still early days for the adoption of this technology in British companies. We set out to find out why and provide a guide to making the case for marketing automation for those wanting to persuade managers, colleagues or clients.
The benefits are clear. Good use of marketing automation enables companies to identify prospects and take them on a journey from first enquiry to loyal advocate. The content of email messages can be personalised to the recipient and their interests. Prospects and customers can be segmented into discrete lists so that you only send information and offers that are relevant to your contacts. This heightened understanding and targeting of messages to the customers needs can only be good for business. So what is getting in the way of faster take-up?
Through talking to a wide variety of [read on]
Over the late months of this summer, we took to the road and asked people what they thought of the latest version of Commsbox. To our surprise the depth of analytics on individual customers was the key feature that most blew them away.
Google Analytics is a great tool. This information is fantastic in aggregate for understanding the strength of campaigns and how customers in general reached your site. But what it won't tell you is the exact journey that a specific individual has taken through your website.
A quote from Google's terms of service is interesting. You may not use the Google Analytics service to track individuals. So it can give you a great overall picture of the performance of your site and, if you use campaign IDs correctly, you can get a measure of success for a particular promotion. But Google analytics does nothing to help you convert individual visitors into prospective customers.
Last night I led a group of parents through this question - how do we embrace the use of social media amongst teenagers?
The participants found it it far easier to identify the downsides - bullying, square eyes, peer pressure. So with a flipchart list as long as my arm of the bad side of social media I had the daunting task of turning around the negatives in the room.
Despite their views a show of hands showed that 90% of the audience were in fact Facebook and Twitter users themselves, with even a few middle-agers experimenting with Snapchat and of course users of LinkedIn.
Around 90% of under 24s use Facebook and a good 60% use Twitter, with Snapchat nipping at their heels. So if we want to engage with our kids, or audiences under 24, we need to get with the programme.
Is Social Media Use by Teenagers a Good Thing?
Dr Jim Taylor writing in Psychology Today highlighted several benefits of using social media:
He made several key points:
Selling products to people when you first meet them is like going up to an attractive person in a nightclub and asking them to marry you. It is just far too great a commitment.
Especially in B2B environments there needs to be trust. When businesses purchase, those decisions have an impact on their own success. They need to now that they are making the right choice. They need to know, like and trust the people they are buying from. You're unlikely to make many sales on the first meeting.
Just taking a look at our own customer base, there is a strong correlation between our clients and how we met them. Some contacts go back 30 years. We've met them through colleagues in previous careers, relationships and voluntary work. In almost every case we've known these people intimately enough for them to trust us to do business with.[read on]
May I posit the idea that if you make sure that your product is king that the content will follow.
If the product isn't right our customers will certainly start to talk about it. And after all it's the content that the consumer produces, not that which we push out to the marketplace that holds most value.
We are all talking about digital marketing strategies, search marketing, content marketing, dynamic pricing. In my case I'm running around talking about automated marketing. But let's not forget the all important product. In it's greatest sense the product is closely linked with the customer experience. The two become intertwined in a way that is hard to decouple. Product surely is King![read on]
After a lot of hard work we've now released version 7 of the CommsBox Integrated Marketing Communications system.
This major release further builds on CommsBox automation strengths.
Central to this release is a 'story board' engine coupled with a rich form builder for data collection. The story board is an innovative take on the need to personalise and schedule activities to each member of your target audience. Going beyond simple time based email scheduling a story board allows each of your contacts to follow a personal 'customised' story. your contacts start their journey at any time, triggered by a wide range of actions. The story can then adapt to that contact based on the actions they take.
Stories can be driven by many actions:
An accessible web-site can be used by anyone regardless of their ability. In reality it's almost impossible to cater for everyone, however large groups of people exist with common difficulties and for whom common technical solutions are available. Individuals with a visual impairment should be able to make use of a 'screen readers', a technology that literally reads a page and converts it's content to speech. For those that find the use of a mouse difficult, navigation will be possible via keyboard (or equivalent) short cuts.
Why is this such a big issue? Shouldn't technology 'just do that'?
Arguably - yes. In practice though the web was built by people with good eyesight, with good hand-eye coordination, good colour vision and who had a specific task in mind - communicating with their colleagues. From that starting point, like so many successful ideas, the technology simply evolved. It was never intended to be the global communications tool it has become.
By the time the issue of [read on]