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Digital marketing: Multiple ways to engage with consumers online

October 9/16, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 9

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 10.19.38 AMThe marketing landscape continues to change, especially as more shoppers utilize online media. To capture the attention of these consumers retailers are strengthening their presence online through digital marketing.

So, what constitutes digital marketing? According to Marketo, a leader in marketing automation software, digital marketing refers to “advertising delivered through digital channels such as search engines, websites, social media, email and mobile apps.”

While most retailers today have a digital marketing strategy that touches on a few of these channels, not all are aware of the different aspects of digital marketing.

Following are brief descriptions of some of the more common types of digital marketing.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
According to WordStream, PPC accounts for 64.6% of ad clicks. This type of digital advertising usually refers to the “sponsored result” on a search engine results page. It is flexible, visible and can be tailored to specific audiences. What’s more, a retailer only pays for the ad when it is clicked on.

Re-targeting
This aspect of digital marketing utilizes marketing automation tools to track how customers engage with a brand across multiple channels. Once that information is collected, retargeting allows the retailers to serve those customers personalized ads across multiple channels.

Search engine optimization (SEO)
According to Marketo, 67% of all clicks are from the first five listings on a results page. In addition, 71% of searches resulted in a page one Google organic click. When retailers use SEO they have the ability to increase the rank of their websites in online search results and site traffic by using popular words and phrases. In order for a website to increase its rank it must have valuable and engaging content, be well constructed, easy to use and have credibility.

Social media marketing
Many consumers are using social media to discover and research different brands. To run a successful social media campaign, experts say retailers should weave social elements into every aspect of their marketing. One of the keys to social media is the opportunity for peer-to-peer sharing. This allows content to be seen by a larger audience which could increase engagement. Some common social media sites include Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Email marketing
According to Marketo, a successful email campaign must be engaging, informative and entertaining. It should also satisfy the following core attributes: trustworthy, relevant, conversational, strategic and be coordinated across channels.

Mobile marketing
Similar to social media, this channel has multiple options including SMS, MMS and in-app marketing. As consumers increasingly rely on mobile devices, it is crucial for retailers to participate in this channel. For consistency, mobile marketing should be coordinated across all digital platforms.

Marketing automation
This integral platform allows retailers to tie all of their digital marketing together. In addition to streamlining and automating marketing tasks, marketing automation also measures the results and ROI of a digital marketing campaign.

Many of these digital channels can be strengthened with a concrete content marketing strategy. Great content can aid SEO, social media, emails and paid search ads by inspiring and educating potential consumers.

Overall, retailers have a ton of digital marketing options available to them. Furthermore, there are a significant number of companies willing to assist retailers with digital strategies. With all these channels and resources available, now is the time to develop and execute an effective digital marketing program.

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Guest column: Adapting to survive in today’s changing world

November 7/14, 2016: Volume 31, Number 11

By Vinnie Virga

screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-3-20-42-pmOnce upon a time it was easy to be successful at marketing to consumers. You ran a great ad in the Sunday paper, came up with a really creative radio or TV spot, opened your doors and voila, it rained business.

The key to succeeding in today’s media-saturated world is a little different. In the past, if you did a good job, the customer told a couple of their friends and you got referrals. Conversely, if there was a problem you had the ability to work one on one with that customer to rectify any issues. Nowadays, if customers are unhappy they tell the world. More than ever, retailers need to understand demographics, segmenting and targeting and how to market on the web. At the same time, you need to be politically, gender, faith and race sensitive. These weren’t even thoughts you had to consider in the past.

Currently, if you don’t understand the alphabet soup of SEO, PPC, along with GeoFencing, GeoTargeting, re-targeting, brand positioning, e-commerce, visualization, social media, Houzz, Angie’s List, Yelp, review aggregation and, of course, Google you’re not going to make it.

All these things need to be part of your brand’s strategy in some shape or form. You should know which to do vs. what you should avoid as well as how much to invest. If you don’t you’re already a dinosaur and your remaining time in the retail world may be limited.

Add to this mix the upside-down funnel of investment many retailers currently employ. This is where their first investment is in traditional media and their last investment entails money they free up or the leftovers toward the bottom of the funnel that they invest in digital. Even worse, as soon as things get a little tough some yank the digital investment altogether. Throw some competitors into the digital mix (i.e., Home Depot and Lowes) as well as Amazon, Wal-Mart and Wayfair.

If you run a small business, especially retail, you’ll find your world is changing at a faster rate each day. The only way to survive is by constantly adapting to keep pace with evolving consumers shopping habits. I know that you just want to sell products, but it’s just not that easy anymore.

So where do you start? It all starts with your web and social media presence. You need to begin by building—in layers—a well-devised digital strategy. Your website needs lots of hooks—basically bread crumbs that invite the customer to begin sharing data with you—in return for information that will help them. Throughout your site there should be easy ways for browsers to raise their hand and ask for service. Be sure to offer a digital product catalog with pictures of product that can be placed into a room scene so the customer can get an idea of what they will look like in their home.

Next you need to list your website so it shows up in online directories. Your phone number (which should be text enabled) and your business email on all the major directories. Ideally, you want a YEXT service, but if you are going to attempt to do this yourself you can get a free listing on Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook, Bing, Yahoo Local, YP.com, Superpages, Merchant Circle, White pages and more.

Finally, be prepared to consistently monitor, adjust and tweak your online marketing strategy.

 

Vinnie Virga is managing partner and president of Big Bob’s Flooring Outlet and Floors & More buying group. His experience includes management of various CCA Global Partner retail groups, including Flooring America, and he is credited for developing a major flooring footprint in New England.

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Creating Your Space expands online marketing

SAUSALITO, CALIF.—How does a leading custom website provider to the flooring industry drive more leads for its dealers? Creating Your Space (CYS) is showing how with the launch of its expanded online marketing services. Continue reading Creating Your Space expands online marketing