By Ian Lahmer,
Marketing Director, Venco Venturo Industries
Generation Next Governor at
Published in the January 2016 issue of Generation Next
Understanding your company’s core branding and
marketing strategies will help you determine the digital channels used to
communicate with your customer and business contacts. Defining your
market objectives and goals will help you gain new
Here are a few ways to define your
- Define your target audience. Understand customer demographics (market
size, age, income, education and location), ethnographics (values, traits,
hobbies, likes, needs) and psychographics (values, attitudes and
- Define what success means and how you will track key
- Define your digital platform –
this will help you develop your campaign to fit each medium.
This can include landing pages, microsites, websites, and many other
areas for linked campaigns. Creating a campaign with these
end-channels in mind can help with advertising and educating the customer on
your brand. The steps to implementing your site are important:
- Define the PURPOSE of the site. This
will help you determine your target audience and set goals for your site as well
as help you measure how well your site is performing and how you can expand and
improve information, design elements and tools.
- Plan your site design. Before jumping
into a site editor and starting to build pages, plan content, site structure,
navigation and other tools for the customer.
- Design the site. Layout, colors,
relevant images and industry design are important for retaining site visitors.
Use of white space is important in a corporate environment to increase the
reader’s attention on your content.
- Draft site content. Consider text such
as articles, blog posts, lists and reviews. Graphics should be formatted for the
web (72 dpi) and be royalty-free (not owned by someone else). Multimedia can
improve or have a negative impact on your site depending on size, whether it’s
appropriate for sound and video, and whether it is appropriate for your target
- Build your site. There are many options
to consider when building your website. Many online editors and software
programs are either free of charge or available for a minimal fee. However,
companies do not have represented on staff. Thankfully, pre-built software and
web programs help bypass that hurdle and allow you to quickly and easily build a
- Select a hosting Provider. Choosing a
website hosting provider is important for testing purposes.
Understanding this process is very complicated, and – unless your company
has the bandwidth to do so in-house – you can save time and money while
minimizing errors by using an outside company that specializes in this
Newsletters explaining your company’s goals, products and new ideas can
help enhance your customer relationships. Also, including online surveys will
give you a response from your customers that results in increased purchasing
knowledge and understanding your buyers. You can implement an email marketing
strategy using a variety of low-cost programs on the web. ConstantContact,
Campaign Monitor, iContact and many other smaller email marketing programs are
good for those who send out a few emails per month. ExactTarget, Bronto, Yesmail
are appropriate for larger corporations who send out thousands of emails per
month. The larger, customized versions of email marketing programs also include
a much larger cost.
Email marketing lists can be built by including a sign-up form on your
website, Facebook page or any other channel by which customers visit your
company. An important note: customers who do not opt-in to your list and
continue to receive your emails can report a CAN-SPAM infraction which violates the federal laws of
marketing to customers who do not wish to receive information. If you send
commercial electronic messages to Canada-based recipients, then the
recently-enacted Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) also comes into
play – regardless of the sender’s country of origin. This is why user
opt-ins is a very important part of email marketing. Each email program has a
lengthy section on CAN-SPAM and CASL compliance
Depending on industry, implementing apps into your strategy can
increase customer reach. Tools and informative topics can easily be placed in an
app for ease of use and download to those in the field. Important
notes for apps:
- Keep your data
responsive. Apps that are outdated and with irrelevant
data will be forgotten or pitched by users. Constantly updating data is costly,
but it is necessary for those who have taken the time to download.
- Keep the information
relevant. Too much information can overload the customer
and in turn, keep them from using this valuable tool created to help them. Keep
it simple and relevant to the issue for which the app was created.
- iTunes, Google Apps or
Windows Store? This is the question many developers and
companies have to answer. Each app is developed in a different language for each
online store. This costs time and money, and not all stores are
equal. Differences include visitor rates, download rates and customer ratings.
It’s up to a company to understand where their money is best being spent.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Online searches for your company’s goods and/or services can be
expedited by increasing the keywords that potential customers use when
conducting searches online. As discussed in last month’s column (Key Components of Digital
Marketing, by Andrew Dawson), building your website with a clearly
defined site map and relevant copy will increase your SEO. Keep this in mind
when building copy for your pages. Tips for increasing your SEO:
- File-Naming Conventions. When you name
files and downloads, keep them in line with what people will type in the search
- Navigation. Keep the main title
attributes of a navigation menu relevant to the content people will be searching
for. Consistency throughout the website is important for customers to better
understand your business.
- Page Titles. Each page should be named
according to the content it provides. This should be consistent throughout the
- Meta Descriptions. Describe the pages
and the content included on each of those pages.
- Image Alt Attributes. Name/title the
images included on your website. This can help search-engines find your content
Keep your customers updated on your company news, product news and
events to give your audience insight into your company. Start by taking pictures
of any social gatherings at your company – including company
lunches and sales meetings; new products; and more. This could be a great way to
connect with your customers while giving them more information about the culture
of your company. Daily updates can also keep customers coming back to your
Social Media Marketing
Social media can have a positive or negative impact on your business
depending on industry, audience and channels. The majority of companies use
Twitter and Facebook as their main social media hubs but there are many others.
Using these would depend on the type of business you have and how you want to
interact with your customers. When discussing your social media strategy, here
are some key areas you need to consider:
- Determine your objective. Understand the
role social media plays in your workplace, and determine if
jumping on the social media bandwagon will help your business. Do
you prefer to simply have a social media presence or will you actively use it as
a customer interaction portal?
- Keep it departmentalized. Keep it
centralized. Usually the marketing department will own the social media portal.
This helps keep customer interaction consistent and originating from the same
source. Too many users could misuse and misconstrue information – thereby
- Be aware of technology restrictions.
Knowledge of firewalls, rules about time, access, and many other content
controls will help you understand if your company can support social media and
also help you form an internal social media policy.
Analytics and Data
Gauge your campaigns to understand your success and options for
improvements. Tracking your campaigns can help you monetize and understand if
your digital marketing is properly being implemented or if you are spending time
on an “unknown”. Here are a few tools to help you gain insight into your
- Google Analytics. This robust, free
program can benchmark against other programs, testing and monitoring visits.
This is the most widely-used analytics program due to its ease of use and
- Adobe Site Catalyst. Known for its
Creative Suite which includes software programs such as Photoshop, Dreamweaver
and Fireworks, key features include drag-and-drop dashboards, customization
options, embeddable reports and targeted testing. The only downside is that it
costs $5,000+ per month.
- IBM Digital Analytics. Most options
offered by many analytics software programs (e.g., benchmark insights,
customizable options and actionable data) are available. Pricing is dependent on
Pricing is per custom quote.
- Web Trends. As one of the oldest
analytics solutions to enter the market, Web Trends stays on top of competitors
by constantly updating their offerings and improving their data. Key features
include heat maps, unlimited custom metrics and increased mobile and social
measurement features. This program is also priced by custom quote.
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