Learn your customers. This is not news to anyone in sales, but the more you understand about your audience, the better you can appeal to them. With more and more sales moving to digital, companies need to invest in digital empathy and offering a personalized brand experience is the way to go. Gartner agrees, that this is the year that personalization can enable up to 15% more profits for companies who re-engineer their content strategy to align with customer intent on a case-by-case level. For instance, a questionnaire that simultaneously tracks their answers and interests while drawing them to your critical on-site content that aligns with those interests is a win-win. In the end, your customers are satisfied immediately when, after a few clicks, get what they need on a personalized listing page or action report, especially if you gate it, and you understand your customers in real-time. Raise your hand if you want to be a trusted consultant and thought leader with great top of funnel pipeline…
Peak Interest. Peak Opportunity.
You’re being overmarketed. That must sound strange coming from a marketing blog, but the truth as we see it is that there is more noise out there than ever and digital ad-apathy is stronger than it’s ever been. So how can marketers cut through that noise and get their foot in the door? Lead generation today is about taking the time to tailor and target the message to the right person. It’s important to balance marketing automation with personalized lead-by-lead outreach. Is it time-consuming? Absolutely. Is it worth it to increase your ROI? Absolutely.
Marketers overwhelmingly agree that personalization is a huge benefit for developing and maintaining customer relationships. According to Adobe 60% of us are having trouble trying to make the switch to personalized content, but 90% of marketers recognize that their target audiences expect a personalized experience.
So what change is happening to boost marketers’ confidence in 2020?
You may have the creative personalized ideas, writers, designers, and web developers ready to help go to market, but until your business has the right data to drive your GTM ideas, you might be starting from scratch. Instead, companies who cultivate all of their customer data together, including customer journey tracking, cross-platform reporting, and aggregating lead generation trends across their web, mobile, email, and social channels will find the personalized insights they need to succeed. Harness the bountiful (and cheap) organic user information, across multiple data platforms, into one cohesive customer profile. Then build your storytelling experience, quiz, or dynamic CTA button around what you’ve discovered about your users. Turn your expensive anonymous users into cheaper hyper-targeted users through a foundation of data and let a personalized marketing experience reap the benefits.
On average, marketers within companies store their customer data in at least four different systems, most of which are not shared or have no way to make meaningful connections. Dramatic investments are in store for whatever integration, platform, or process can unite the omnichannel user data and enhance data analysis. Start with implementing data-driven objectives like:
- Location Data
- Survey Responses
- Ad Campaign Interaction
- Tag and Filter Results
- Track Pageviews
- Smart Lists
- Dynamic Content Blocks
- Link Clicks
- Referral Source
With this precise user understanding at marketers’ fingertips, we enjoy the familiarity of personalized campaigns. Yet culling that data together and offering a message or experience to the potential lead based on their previous interactions with your company is vital to getting that foot in the door. Invest in understanding your audience and their behavior and interests and they will invest in understanding you.
Email is Still Mail.
Let’s face it, our inboxes aren’t overflowing with personal communications from friends and loved ones. That doesn’t mean email marketing has to be impersonal. So how do we get a user to click on that one email subject line when they return from vacation to a mailbox full of ads? Personalize your headline copy, customize imagery by location, gender, or season, and insert dynamic CTAs to make the offer relate to what you know about them. Make it pop!
Bonus – add additional personalized flair to your brand experience by implementing a kickback email upon conversion. The most common form of a kickback email is an automated thank you note sent to their inbox once their personal information enters your CRM. Higher engagement rate – check. Great first impression – check. Polite digital etiquette – check.
You’re on the Right Landing Page.
Let’s say you’ve finally convinced the user to engage with your content and click on the CTA button, you know you have their full attention. Making a personalized first impression when they arrive on the landing page both affirms that they are in the right place and encourages them to remain there. In the Calling All Optimists case study, the media campaign was designed to match the messaging that worked in the first place to pull double-duty by complementing the interest on the landing page. Driving the target audience to the site, the user is met with a unique welcome message in the hero-zone correlated to the specific ad they engaged with.
Personalizing your page ensures that traffic from all over the world sees the most appealing content for them. Whether it’s one of your homepages (yes – the more the merrier!) or a campaign landing page, every page should have a purpose correlating to every unique visitor and their previous exposure to your brand.
Make It Personal
Stand out by personalizing your digital reputation. Customers will remember your services, your messaging, and your products if you direct them to what makes sense for them, rather than sending them on a wild goose chase. Content marketing has been top of mind for this industry for years now, but personalizing that content marketing strategy is a way to make your brand feel exciting and special.
It’s time to say goodbye to cookie-cutter content passively thrown into your resources listing page and keeping your fingers crossed that someone stumbles into it. With social media engagement on the downfall and Google’s algorithm prioritizing their own thought leadership over yours, it is imperative to transform your strategy into something that appeals to your ideal customer. Two-thirds of consumers say they will switch to brands that treat them like an individual rather than a data point, a trend that will continue to be driven by younger audiences who value brands that are transparent, authentic, and personal.
No matter the tactic, the fundamental purpose of personalizing any campaign is to boost engagement by telling the user you understand their need. Communicating your own message by listening to their needs first will always prove to be worth the research, planning, and testing effort. Delighting the modern consumer is going to take some analytics-grit, but doing your marketing homework before investing in any large personalization initiative will pay off in 2020.
Have you ever found yourself on a website, staring blankly at the screen wondering where the rest of the pages are? Navigation is one of the most important functions of any web page whether it be a blog, product listing page, about section, or a document library. If your user doesn’t know where this content is housed, the utility of the information is lost! As a crucial element of user experience, failing to build smart navigation into your digital interface can lead to a variety of issues including secondary UX issues, accessibility problems, and increased bounce rates from frustrated users.
Let’s take a step back; what is a navigation menu, and do I still need one if I have “search”?
Navigation menus are maps of the categories or features of your content; on websites, these are known as sitemaps. These menus can appear in a variety of ways; from the traditional header locked navigation bar, to hamburger menus that pop out to link to various interior pages of a website.
While many websites have a Search function of some kind, whether it be a search bar or filter, research shows that 70% of users rely on navigating to content directly. While search features are helpful to some users, navigation menus can lead your visitors to the content they need quickly and reliably.
No matter where you are with your website, here are some quick, easy tips to help you optimize your platform for a better user experience.
1. The 3 Click Rule
Your navigation structure should be intuitive and allow users to land on any page and find what they are looking for in 3 clicks or less.
If your site has lots of content and sub-pages that relate back to a greater unifying category, take advantage of breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs are a component of navigation menus that help users orient themselves within a sitemap. They can be embedded into the navigation bar as a dropdown, or appear in the design of the child pages on your site to guide users through the various layers of content.
2. Show Off Your Menu
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel-don’t hide your navigation menu! When a user visits your site, it’s likely one of the hundred other web properties that they have browsed in the last few days. As our digital lives have progressed, users have become accustomed to certain kinds of queues and user interface (UI) elements. Keep your navigation menu in an intuitive location, be that the left rail, top of the browser window, or a pop-out hamburger menu with an obvious icon.
3. State the Obvious
Be as clear and descriptive as possible. Avoid using vague descriptions in your navigation headings. If a user can’t tell exactly what to expect from a page in the navigation, there’s a chance they won’t make it past the landing page. Use descriptive language to identify what your pages contain, less is more with heading titles. Streamline the main menu display experience where possible and take advantage of dropdown menus for categories with multiple child pages. If you hyperlink to pages within your site from banners or in-line content, make your hyperlinks obvious!
4. Stay on Topic
Don’t let SEO impact your navigation taxonomy. While ranking well in search engines is important, packing your Headers and menu items with keywords that don’t relate to the page contents won’t do you any favors with users. Avoid this common pitfall by using the copy and metadata on your pages for SEO strategies, leave your headings and menu items clean and accurate for better UX.
5. Lead with a Mobile-First Mentality
Over 53% of all web traffic occurs on mobile devices. When designing your navigation menu, start by thinking about how users might visit the site; on both their computers and mobile devices. Take advantage of responsive designs that can adapt to a variety of browsers and devices rather than discovering post-launch that your navigation is broken.
6. Stop Guessing! Test Your Audience
If you’ve updated your navigation menu but still see disappointing numbers for bounce rate and click through on your site, test your experience. User behavior can be monitored with tests such as a Crazy Egg Heatmap, which illustrates where your users are browsing on the page.
TLDR: improving your navigation design can improve your relationship with users
Confusing or obscure navigation will lead to fewer visitors to your interior pages and can result in awful analytics reports. Clear and effective navigation can enhance visitors understanding of where your content is located, instill confidence in browsing your site, and create credibility about your product.
The recent COVID-19 outbreak has had ripple effects across almost every industry. Around the world, the global pandemic has altered the way we live, socialize and even conduct business. In this unprecedented scenario clouded with uncertainty we all, especially digital marketers, are wondering: What needs to change? And how drastically?
When it comes to search engine optimization strategies, digital marketing and content agencies are continually researching the latest trends and evolving best practices. In the current environment, the role of a top digital marketing agency is to keep a pulse on the present, while also looking forward to strategies that will drive long-term success. Here at Bluetext, our digital marketing analysts are harnessing a variety of tactics to support overall business goals and serve users the best we can during these uncertain times. Check out the top ways we’ve been monitoring and optimizing around current events.
Strength in Numbers
When in doubt, trust the data! Using top marketing analytical tools, such as SEMRush and Moz, one can track the aggregate behavior of online users. Gathering the most up to date data can be tricky, so don’t do it alone. The more expertise and tools, the better. Trust a marketing analytics agency to help break down the numbers into a comprehensible story of website traffic. Use professional tools, such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console, to monitor the recent fluctuations in your page traffic. Do a keyword analysis of your current keyword list to see if search volume has shifted. Google Trends page is a great tool to identify emerging patterns. Are there new phrases your customers are searching for? If the language has evolved, so should your SEO strategy. If you have chatbots for customer service transcripts, these can provide valuable insight into current needs.
In short, the data doesn’t lie. Businesses need to understand search traffic shifts to get as clear as possible a picture into whether to pivot your SEO strategy or not.
Content is King — Still
Ultimately any changes to your SEO strategy should be driven by your unique business needs. For example, a brick and mortar store will need to cater to how they can serve customers at home. If your business was already available online, you may be experiencing altered user behavior as people spend more time at home and online. Every business should ask: “Is the content relevant to current needs?” Your messages may need to shift in sensitivity to the current environment. A complete overhaul is not necessary, nor appropriate. However, if there are opportunities to generate new content that supports your users in a unique time, do so. And if your business is considered essential or has been significantly impacted, you should create a dedicated page to capture all relevant coronavirus traffic. Keep the page simple, focused and sensitive. Don’t try to provide the latest breaking news, but exactly what and how your company is doing. If your business has been minimally affected, perhaps there is an opportunity to contribute to emerging conversations. Exploding Topics is a valuable tool for up-to-date trends across search engines and social media mentions. At the end of the day, users are seeking timely and accurate information now and long after the dust has settled on this pandemic.
Search engine optimization is never a “one and done” task. Any digital marketing strategy requires upkeep as is the nature of the evolving industry. Now, more than ever, flexibility is paramount to staying afloat. Be proactive, be vigilant. SEO strategy will need re-evaluation in the upcoming weeks and months. No one can predict how long the pandemic will last so you must be ready to pivot to any new or resurging customer needs.
In an unpredictable environment, one thing is certain: this is our new (remote) reality. Don’t expect old strategies to work as they once did, and don’t expect this shift to “blow over soon”. Your business should be prepared to remain relevant now more than ever. There will likely be long term implications in behaviors and business operations. Get behind the shifts now and flex your agility. It will pay off in your long term business health.
As of late, communications have been drastically changing, and companies have had to adapt quickly and swiftly to accommodate the current COVID-19 environment. It is a new and unprecedented scenario, forcing flexibility and fast thinking to all aspects of the business. As work-from-home policies and entirely virtual communications surge, recruitment strategies have been greatly impacted. How a company reacts to this digital shift and adapts various business models is crucial to future success following the return to normalcy.
Improving Remote Recruiting & On-Boarding
Learning how to better recruit and virtually onboard, not only during COVID-19 but throughout a company’s entire lifespan, is essential. It demonstrates your company’s ability to stay flexible, proactive, and conform to different comfort levels.
Have a Convincing & Personalized Careers Page
Virtual recruiting isn’t a novel idea. Companies have been trying to actively attract new talent online for years. However, in order to get a great pool of new hires, you need one thing: an outstanding career section on your website. Your career section is the portal for all potential new employees to investigate your company, culture, benefits, growth opportunities, and what you are all about. This is your first impression to prospective employees, who are most likely browsing opportunities at multiple companies! The main mission of a career section is to make the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time. How do you do this? With the proper targeting.
Proper targeting isn’t all about spending large sums of money on paid media. It’s important to utilize your current resources and current employees to create a lasting campaign. Centauri, a technology-driven company providing high-end, creative software and engineering solutions to critical national security missions, came to Bluetext wanting a recruitment-focused campaign. Looking at the diversity in the age, specialty, race, gender and backgrounds of current employees, Bluetext created a range of different personas. Backtracking to Marketing 101, persona creation is a critical step in marketing to the right audience. It’s crucial to know a user’s specific goals, interests, and motivations. For example, a young college graduate student will have different goals versus an experienced middle-aged military veteran. By creating personas, potential employees are able to connect more with someone that closely resembles them. For proper targeting, personalization is key. The career section should play into all personas, create hyper-specific content and show the user relevant jobs pertaining to them. Sound like a lot of legwork? Digital marketing agencies, such as Bluetext, are experienced and proficient in persona creation and targeting strategies.
Leverage Alumni Networks
Another great way to better recruit qualified candidates is to create an Alumni Network. This can take many forms, with the most popular being an informal social media group harnessing Facebook or Linkedin). This creates a space for alumni to connect with others, share thoughts, and best of all, provide valuable leads. Not only are you getting free referral lead generation, you nurture an excellent relationship with the company even after the employee has left. It creates brand ambassadors who are constantly promoting your company in a positive light, possible future business partners, and topnotch re-hires.
Institute a Welcoming Virtual Onboarding Process
While virtual recruiting was surging in popularity even before COVID-19, virtual onboarding is relatively new. Companies like Amazon have already begun to virtually onboard thousands of new hires to keep up with higher demands. The biggest concern for most employers is exactly how to bring a newly-hired employee into the company and properly integrate them.
Onboarding is the first time a new employee gets a true first impression of the company in action. Maybe new hires came into the office to interview, but this is the real introduction to the nit and grit of day to day tasks. The first day typically involves numerous face-to-face meetings and handshakes–both no longer possible amidst the COVID pandemic. When virtually onboarding, It’s important to utilize scheduling software, internal communication platforms, and video conferencing tools in order to keep the initial introductory phase as personal, engaged, and genuine as possible. This is especially important for one-on-one meetings with direct managers.
Being able to leverage current new-hire learning processes virtually is a huge focus as well in the current environment. Do your new hires get a “Welcome Binder?” Replace that with a consolidated folder filled with the online version. Do you typically run through various Powerpoints with your new hires? Think about translating those into short, educational shared videos. Are there various informational sessions for new hires? Leverage video conferencing and screen sharing tools. Translating your in-person process to online can be done by almost anyone. In fact, the more people involved the better! Have multiple employees help create onboarding videos so that new hires get introduced to a wider breadth of the company.
The main goal of your virtual onboarding should be to make the new hire feel comfortable. Make sure to over-communicate and offer assistance as much as needed. Be sure they are understanding expectations laid out and asking questions when they feel confused. Make sure they get proper introductions, are included in virtual activities, and let them truly shine.
Virtual recruiting and onboarding are of utmost importance right now, but companies will benefit by taking advantage of these now and implementing these processes for all future recruiting and onboarding processes and the industry shifts. At Bluetext, there is no limit to the amount of success we can help you achieve. To learn more about our processes and to see our work, check out our case studies.
It’s rare for a business to offer its services for free. The phrase “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” reigns true in most industries and all business decisions. Originating with early-century saloon owners marketing free, salty lunches as a way to entice beer drinking, even the etymology of the #TNSTAAFL phrase foreshadows the destiny of commerce itself – it’s impossible to get something for nothing.
So, what does a free ham sandwich in 1891 have to do with 2020 content marketers and gated thought leadership? Imagine your business is the bar and that hungry and thirsty passerby out front is the CMO searching for a way to convince their boss on more paid media dollars, or a CTO who needs a VPN alternative. You have something they could want – a delicious, frothy piece of premium content to quench their industry-specific questions. Post that “Free Lunch” sign, give them some snacks, and then charge them for the beer to wash it all down. You’ll have a bar full of returning customers every time.
You Want to Be a Thought Leader?
Let’s break it down. Businesses that are trying to establish themselves as thought leaders in their space usually have two types of content: Blogs and premium content. Typically, you want to spend your time on the premium content first and then chop it up into free digestible portions, which become your blogs. Since the blogs are free and busting at the seams with the same SEO juice that you prioritized in your premium content, both should come up as a result when someone is looking online for an industry-question you have the answer to.
Think about the last time you were researching B2B tactics. You wouldn’t hand over your email address to just anyone at the beginning of your research. You browsed around to see who knows what they’re talking about. Once you found a credible thought leader, then you actually started paying attention to what they were talking about.
Economy vs. Premium Content
According to content marketing agencies, balance is key. The trick is to walk the line between having free ungated blogs that are enticing and helpful to draw traffic but not too helpful and giving away a company’s expertise without gaining any leads. Save the premium advice and info for the premium content. Ask yourself, “Would someone reasonably pay for this service?”
Make it exclusive, insightful, and urgent. Typically, premium content are eBooks, courses, webinars, checklists, and sometimes videos. Those resources take a lot of effort to create, so you want to put them to work for you and your marketing team. This premium content comes with a price or a gate. The key to the gate and unlocking the juicy stuff is usually as harmless as an email.
As a top content marketing agency, Bluetext breaks down some do’s and don’ts behind gating the premium content.
Do Design Gated Content Conversions Using Ungated Content UX/UI
Make sure your tip top-funnel blogs feed into your top funnel gated content. A UX design company will engineer an ungated content user interface to drive invested leads to gated content. Dangle the carrot and then drive them down a rabbit hole of insights. If your resource page template’s layout has a related topic listing, you can get someone reading one blog to jump to the next, especially when you have click-worthy resource titles.
Create a clear, focused path to follow. Put an enticing CTA at every step of your ungated posts to draw them to the gated content. Theoretically, the user lands on a first blog post via Google search, they peruse 2-3 of your other blogs, and then they are a bit invested by the time they get to gated content. Long story short, using the Free Lunch scenario, clean up your bar so it looks inviting enough to have them buy a drink.
Don’t Forget to Design the Landing Page UX/UI for Conversion
At least make the gated content page template easy to use and worthy of personal info. Best practices for gated content landing page design include showcasing the product, talking about the benefits and insights they can learn, highlighting a quote from the piece, and ideally some social proofing or testimonials. A website design agency will be your best bet to formatting these nuggets of information in a clean, digestible fashion. Like any other business transaction, sell it with foreshadowing what they are about to invest in.
Do Add SEO Excerpt from Gated Content on the Landing Page
The Google Algorithm crawls ungated content, but while you will be losing out on SEO potential by putting keywords behind the gate, you can still put some of those keywords directly on the landing page. Think of it like a teaser, or a sample sip of the beer you want them to buy.
Don’t Miss Out on Capturing User Journey Clues Via CTA Pixel
If the user has followed the intended path laid out above, they have digested other information on the website before converting on the gated content. A digital marketing and analytics expert will implement Google Analytics or UTM parameters to track where users come from and behavioral trends. This is a critical insight that can help your sales and marketing team follow up and understand the lead without asking them. In fact, don’t ask them anything else besides their email (coming up next!).
Trusting a digital marketing and analytics agency to configure the UI/UX back end of your CMS to gather clues (via UTM or Google Analytics) will ensure these tools talk to your CRM when it passes over the lead. Your CRM can then organize to segment those leads into audience pools with the user journey info and UTM parameters. Did they arrive via Facebook or LinkedIn? Did they read about technology or marketing thought leadership? Did they visit SMB or Enterprise blogs before? Depending on what you want to do with the leads gathered from the gated content, a digital marketing agency can follow up with retargeting campaigns. By taking out the guesswork, digital marketing campaigns are then geared toward the topics and categories you know a specific user is interested in.
Don’t Over-Gate with Nosey Forms
Sometimes businesses want more defining characteristics of the user to help their follow up marketing to have some foundational info. Asking for an email is the easiest marketable piece of info you can gather – but should you want more, make sure the form is at least easy to use. For instance, free type is ok, but dropdown select from offers convenience. Ideally, if you need to ask for more info, triage that asks by making some questions optional so you don’t scare anyone away. Remember – you want them more than they want you at this point. You might be the third tab they have open in their research, so think twice if knowing their position is worth losing them to a competitor’s simpler gated content.
Do Gate Content. Don’t Gate Content.
We wish it were black and white, but the answer to the infamous To Gate or Not to Gate question comes down to the following:
- How exclusive is your offer?
- How easy is your form to fill out?
- How SEO friendly is your LP?
- How actionable is your CTA?
If you have your thought leadership on fleek from a UX/UI, SEO, and CMS perspective than you’re ready to start offering free lunches to any potential lead that comes into your digital business.
The decades-long reign of the PC is over, with mobile devices now making up more than 52% of all internet traffic. While plenty of people preach the importance of responsive website design, far fewer have articulated updated guidelines for the reality of today’s internet. Keenly aware of trends as ever, Google has continually refined its search algorithm to keep pace with increasingly mobile and untethered internet. Advertisers, marketers, and website owners alike need to be aware of what these paradigm shifts are, and how that could impact their sites’ SEO.
Cellphones’ bountiful data has empowered Google to enhance its search engine. Search results are more custom than ever before, incorporating key differentiating factors like time of day, weather, and geography. The search results for a morning bagel in Washington D.C. will look entirely different three hours later in San Francisco.
Optimizing for Local Search
More so than ever before, websites need to be local. Gone are the days of simply tacking on addresses and list of phone lines. To be competitive in 2020, websites need to address the mindset and inquiries of the region they serve, be it a street, coast, or country. A quintessential, doughy foldable New York slice is in stark contrast to a dense, deep-dish pie from Chicago. The top result for a pizza in Manhattan will not be wasting content on merely their cheese, sauce, and pepperoni, but rather what distinguishes their slice from their other New York brethren. Language, context, and local distinctions are now a mandatory part of website content strategy.
Dealing with Short Attention Spans
Major changes to search algorithms are only a handful of the changes introduced by the rise of mobile. Attention spans online are shorter than ever with the ubiquity of the internet and easily accessible information, even more so for mobile where screen size comes at a steep premium. Hero zones should be appropriately leveraged. Heroes should state the most important critical information concisely and contain a quick and simple CTA or takeaway. Organic visitors who cannot immediately find an answer to their search query after a glance and a few swipes will assuredly bounce away to a competitor.
Search and Virtual Assistants
Smartphones’ impact on websites has not just been limited to mobility and smaller screens. Virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri fundamentally change how people browse the internet. For many on-the-go, the automated search functionality provided by these virtual assistants have all but replaced a typical Google search.
How Google and the other virtual assistants parse through webpages and present them for voice search is a complex topic, but the vital SEO fundamentals remain in place. Research demonstrates that people are unsurprisingly far more conversational in their wording versus a typed-in search. Optimized content thus needs to serve this need directly, often best served using blogs that cover such frequent, informal topics as “What is the best X” or “Y versus Z”.
Google has been increasingly leveraging its structured data for voice search results, largely due to its predictable format and parseable nature. For best results, website owners need to cross-reference website content and identify what data could be passed off to Google using structured data. Articles, menus, locations, events, and reviews are just a handful of the many structured data formats that Google accepts. Conveniently, Google now provides a simple tutorial for anybody familiar with HTML to get started on incorporating structured data and improving their site for voice search.
The shift to mobile devices has opened up new avenues for content creation and design. Location and voice were unheard of topics even a decade ago, but they are here to stay for organic search. It’s up to website owners and marketers whether they take advantage of these new strategies, or get left in the dust.
In a world where we are flooded with advertisements and sponsored content every moment of every day, how can you make your ad stand out from the rest? What is going to make a consumer buy your product vs. your competitor’s product if they have the same features and are selling for the same price? Sure, vibrant colors, strong call-to-actions and unique imagery can help, but in order to get the right users to engage with your content and actually convert, you have to go a step – or a few steps – further. The key to marketing success in 2020 is personalization.
In many ways, marketers already know the benefits of personalized ads. For example, we know that digital retargeting ads drive more conversions and have a stronger conversion rate than prospecting ads, merely because retargeting ads are tailored to reach users who have already visited your site. Retargeting ads are more personalized than prospecting ads in nature – we know someone visited the site and expressed interest but didn’t convert, so we use that information to create a new ad with different messaging and a stronger CTA to entice that user to convert. That’s personalized marketing, in its simplest form.
In 2020, personalization is not only growing, but if you don’t take advantage of personalized marketing, your digital ad campaign might fail. Studies show that people are 80 percent more likely to buy something when a brand makes the experience personal. With access to sophisticated technologies such as AI machine learning at our fingertips, marketers are equipped with the tools necessary to tailor ads to personal attributes and behaviors, at scale.
As Martech Advisor states, “AI personalization refers to the categorization of different customer data sets and extracting valuable insights from them. These insights are fed into an automation engine that can take action without human intervention.” In other words, AI machine learning scans a user’s online behavior to understand what type of messaging would resonate best with that end-user. Have you ever visited your Amazon Prime home page to discover several new products that Amazon is recommending for you, that you’ve never seen before? This is AI-based personalization. Amazon’s AI scanned your past user and purchase behavior and introduced you to new products, customizing your home page to match your personal attributes. You’ve likely experienced something similar on music streaming apps – Spotify recommends a playlist for you based on the songs you’re listening to at that point in time.
So – how can you take advantage of personalized marketing? Here are 3 ways you can start to leverage consumer data to customize (& personalize!) your advertising:
- Dynamic Ads – Perhaps the most daunting reason why marketers don’t take advantage of personalized advertising is the assumption that ad creative and targeting processes are manual; however, AI has completely changed the game. Through AI, digital ads can now be dynamically created based on user behavior. We touched on retargeting earlier, but with AI learnings, retargeting efforts have become far more sophisticated. If a user visits a specific white paper or product on your site but does not download or buy, AI can generate an ad for that specific white paper or product and place it in front of that user with tailored messaging. Best of all? This entire process is automated. Gone are the days where your creative team is buried in producing 50 ads in 7 different ad sizes.
- Invest in AI tools for your website – Tools such as AI-powered chatbots or AI engines can shed light on how you can personalize ad campaigns. Chatbots allow users to share data that might not be readily available through other form submissions on the site. The information users provide in a chat is then scanned through AI, producing key insights for marketers to use when forming ad campaigns. For example, if the same pain points or topics continue to surface through chatbots, you might have an idea for your next personalized go-to-market campaign.
- Tailor your campaigns based on audience segments – This sounds simple enough, but more times than not, marketers target all audiences segments under one campaign, rather than breaking up campaigns based on audience segments. For example, you want to target users who play basketball, soccer, football and tennis. You place all of these audience segments under one campaign and serve the same ad and ad copy to each user. Sure, these are similar audience segments in that they are all sports-related; however, a user who plays basketball will likely ‘look’ different than a user who plays tennis. Instead of serving the same ad and ad copy to all users, why not tailor your messaging to each specific audience segment? The more personalized you can get the ad and ad copy level, the more likely your ad will resonate with the end-user and lead to a conversion. Of course, a campaign structure like this that used to be manual has become nearly automated through DSPs and Paid Social platforms that provide ways to streamline this process, freeing up your time and eliminating human error.
In 2020, we challenge marketers to take a step back from the generic go-to-market campaigns and to get personal! How will you use AI-based personalization and machine learning to enhance your digital ad campaigns? Learn how Bluetext has used personalized marketing for our clients’ campaigns, effectively reaching the right audience with tailored, custom creative, via our website.
For a top marketing agency, trade shows are essential events to attend to learn all the tricks of the trade. It is usually a one time a year event where all the major industry players convene to learn about new products, network and promote their brands. It brings back old notions of experiential event marketing, but in 2020, brands are adding a digital twist. Now more than ever, companies are pairing their physical trade show presence with huge digital thumbprints, from hyper-targeted ads to Micro-Moments.
National Retail Federation (NRF) and their annual Big Show is a great example of how to do a trade show right. NRF’s Big Show is the largest retail conference and expo event, gathering over 40,000 attendees and 18,000 retailers from over 99 countries under one roof. Big Show capitalizes on Micro-Moments both before and during the show. By analyzing these tactics, we can learn how important Micro-Moments are for users and how to properly utilize them.
So what is a Micro-Moment? A Micro-Moment is an intent rich moment when an attendee uses their device to act on a need, including to know, to go, and to buy. The brilliance behind micro-moment marketing is that in the world today, consumers are bombarded by content everywhere they turn. Inc.com says the industry has reached a point of “content shock” where consumers are oversaturated and cannot consume any more content than they already are. Consumers spend an average of 4.7 hours each day on their smartphones, continually distracted and overstimulated. This only escalates the challenges marketers face to achieve consumers’ attention.
To combat the new challenges encountered with fragmented media interactions, top digital marketers have adopted a new mentality. This new philosophy zeroes in on distinct moments in the consumer buying process. The I-want-to-know moment, the I-want-to-buy moment and even the I-want-to-go moments.
Before the Show, NRF was strategic in focusing on the Micro-Moments of their target audiences’ “I-want-to-know” and “I-want-to-buy” moments through the use of various paid media tactics. Through the use of paid social, NRF increased brand awareness and utilized the “I-want-to-know” moment of users. Before driving users to register for the event, it’s crucial to make them aware of the brand, educating them about the event, as well as driving upper funnel traffic down the line. Paid display is where lower funnel traffic acts upon the “I-want-to-buy” moment. Paid display not only helps to generate qualified leads but also drives registrants.
During the Show, the various speakers and topics expanded upon Micro-Moments as well. A huge focus of sessions was on how to drive better experiences, better content and better strategy for consumers. There are various innovative technologies and solutions companies can utilize, as seen in the Innovation Lab and Startup Zone, that can help improve the user experience for customers in every stage of their individual Micro-Moments. Opening speaker, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, expanded upon this during his keynote session on the first day of the show. Nadella focused on how companies need to focus on the future of the retail industry, upcoming trends and how to utilize technology to transform how companies operate, are marketed and relate to consumers. By doing so, these Micro-Moments for users will be more memorable and excite consumers to change from “I-want-to-know” to “I-want-to-buy.” To see the full list of speakers, visit the NRF Speakers Page and check out the NRF Big Show 2020 recap for a full list of articles, videos, session presentations and more.
A key takeaway from NRF’s Big Show 2020 was the importance of personalizing and concentrating the customer experience in the digital era. Staying true to the NRF Vision, the National Retail Federation has acted as the eyes and ears of the retail industry. For over 100 years they have brought together important leaders from top retail companies and are the only organization committed to bringing critical foresight and insight to leaders, movers and makers.
Leading by example is an understatement, as the organization itself has been ahead of the curve in their paid media tactics and lead generation strategy. To learn more about the NRF media strategy, check out their Bluetext Hall of Fame.
When it comes to building or remodeling your company’s website, partnering with a top website design firm is essential. By hiring a leading website design firm, you get to work directly with experts, maximize the utility of your team’s resources, get access to the latest technology, and so much more. Having a professional, user-friendly website can make all the difference when it comes to acquiring new clients and retaining old ones. Prospective customers will appreciate an enhanced user experience and will be reassured by the legitimacy of your company. Read Bluetext’s top 4 reasons to work with an expert website design firm.
1. Make a Lasting First Impression
At Bluetext, each website we build or remodel goes through a strict quality assurance process to ensure every page functions properly and looks perfect. Our team of coders, developers, and designers evaluate both the UI and UX of the site, validate all links and forms within the site, and ensure that each page follows brand guidelines – but that’s just to name a few of the steps in our process.
When it comes to your website, we know that first impressions are incredibly important. In fact, it only takes users 50 milliseconds to form an opinion on your website and decide if they will stay or leave. Not to mention, over 35% of users will leave a website if they find it unattractive. With a leading web agency, you can rest assured that your website will not only look good but is also easy to use.
2. Optimize Your Website’s Loading Speed
One of the most essential ways to make a positive first impression on users is by having a website that loads quickly. As a website design firm, our team of web analysts will assist with file compression and code optimization, enhance time to first byte, evaluate HTTP requests, and everything else in between, ensuring that your site loads as fast as possible.
About half of web users expect websites to load in less than two seconds and will leave if a website takes any longer than three. If your website drives $100,000 in revenue per day, increasing your loading speed by one second could help increase your daily revenue by 7%. A leading web agency will ensure that no potential customers are lost due to site speed.
3. Ensure Your Site’s Accessibility
At Bluetext, all engagements go through our team of accessibility experts to ensure you are publishing in compliance with the newest WCAG AAA standards. With well over half of the world on the internet, it’s vital to ensure that there are no barriers to access your website for individuals with any disability.
4. Create a Successful Campaign
Through different channels such as social media, mobile applications, search engines, and display networks, businesses can get their names in front of countless users. Meeting the ever-changing requirements of those channels, however, has become increasingly difficult. Not to mention, most every country has different advertising requirements, adding another layer of complication for those interested in advertising outside of the United States.
A website design firm, like Bluetext, can not only help you run global ad campaigns but can help you build the perfect landing page for users to see when they click on your ads.
If you’re looking to hire a leading web agency, see what Bluetext can do for you.
Bluetext is honored to announce that Creative Director and Co-Founder Jason Siegel has been named a Judge for The FWA website awards, one of the oldest and most prestigious awards programs for website design in the industry. First launched in 2000 as the Favourite Website Awards in the UK, FWA has grown into the global leader in identifying and recognizing the best in website design. FWA remains an independent voice in the world of website design and build, recognizing the top talent across the globe and highlighting the trends and technologies that are driving website experience and results.
FWA’s Judges represent the top of the industry and come from more than 35 countries. As FWA explains on its website, “FWA is where you go to experience cutting-edge innovation in digital design and development. It’s a space that encourages the digital industry to push the boundaries of technology, to show people what is possible.”
For Bluetext’s clients, Jason being a part of the FWA Global Judge Panel means more access to the most cutting-edge designs and talent in desktop and mobile websites, mobile apps, virtual and augmented reality projects, and any creative work that pushes the boundaries.
Why is website and UX design so important to brands and other organizations as part of their tools to build engagement with customers and other audiences?
JS: Website design and UX design is so important because it’s the #1 brand touchpoint for the customer. If done well, the digital channel, whether a responsive website, an app or an installation, can create the greatest upside with the customer and be a voracious capture-agent for user data.
What do you look for in websites that you are evaluating?
JS: In my role, I am looking for pixel-perfect execution and production consistently throughout the whole UX. I am looking for superb in-browser performance, mixed with lite-weight code, mixed with fantastical motion effects.
How should website designers weigh the look of a website versus its ability to convert visitors to customers? In other words, how do you balance style versus effectiveness?
JS: When brands live and die by their short-term conversion rates, it does allow them to stay alive and thrive while building a customer base. However, once a brand establishes itself and the many channels the brand lives on drive revenue and stabilize the brand for the long-term, it starts to get more interesting. We then look at richer experiences, more higher-level positioning, and deeper brand engagement. While this often doesn’t convert faster in the short term, it does position the brand in new pricing categories, more accurate market positioning, and greater revenues and market share overall.