We’ve got a few interesting things to talk about this week, ranging from the ethical concerns of digital marketing all the way over to the changes to expect in email marketing over the coming year. Let’s get started. Oh and if you missed last week’s here you go.
Mobile is the Top Driver for Small Business Digital Spending
Almost 70% of small businesses say they plan to increase digital marketing investments this year and the primary driver appears to be social media. The data stems from a new survey of 200 small businesses by GetResponse. Seventy-one percent of the survey respondents had fewer than 100 employees.
They were asked specifically where they planned to put their money, and here’s what they said:
Marketing on social networks (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) — 59.2 percent
Mobile marketing (app, web and so on) — 50 percent
Email marketing — 42.3 percent
Video production — 28.2 percent
Content creation and management — 26.1 percent
Search marketing (including paid search) — 26.1 percent
Data collection and analytics — 23.2 percent
Corporate website maintenance, development — 22.8 percent
Commerce experiences (marketing-led) — 15.5 percent
Other — 2.5 percent
We think that the sample size of this study does warrant a ‘no generalising’ rule, however the spending priorities noted here are more or less consistent with similar surveys. Two exceptions are that other surveys show a high priority placed on SEO and website improvements. The fact SEO isn’t top of the list for this sample is probably explained by the fact their website might already be quite effective.
Social media and mobile (and their constant overlapping) are the unsurprising leaders of the results and are the top channels for new spending. Most likely in response to changes in consumer behaviour, whether or not these investments will actually be made is another story
Influencer Marketing: 3 Common Errors
Source: Urbanity Blog
More and more brands are turning to social media to engage with consumers and many naturally opt to work with influencers to front their campaigns. This process isn’t always easy though. The Voice of the Influencer report by eConsultancy highlights that there’s a power struggle between brands and influencers, the main challenges being motivation and strategy. So where are we going wrong? Here are 3 of the most common mistakes you can make with influencers:
Focusing on Numbers
With 75% of influencers citing frustration over reach and follower figures being of primary importance to brands, it seems as though marketers need to entirely change their attitudes. Brands can make the mistake of measuring success in numbers in terms of sales or reach following a campaign. The problem with this is that there are other factors that are so much more important. Increased awareness, online interaction and positive sentiment most of all are far more important than vanity metrics – for both parties involved.
A massive 93% of influencers believe that they should be in charge of the narrative of a campaign and brands really do struggle to get back control. Historically brands would determine everything, from product photography to the copy that accompanies it. With influencers creating their own content, complex negotiation is required to determine exactly how things are going to pan out. Overly branded images comes across as insincere and while it’s important to get your branding in there, it should never be invasive.
Influence vs Authenticity
Now this is the inner conflict that all digital marketers will face at some point. Of course you want maximum reach and results from your influencer campaign, but it’s important not to be swayed in directions that don’t benefit you just for the sake of influence. Real influence stems from authentic beliefs and honest values and promoting a product should reflect this. It has been proven that micro influencers (500-10,000) followers generate greater engagement than those with a larger audience. So don’t be fooled by numbers or appearances.
Influencer marketing will always be a complicated venture. It’s very important to do your research, find people who will be genuinely excited to promote your product or recommend it, and treat them well. This is a mutually beneficial agreement and it’s important to build positive relationships with all types of influencers.
The Ethics of Digital Marketing
We need to talk about the ethics of what we do. We know that the number of martech tools is growing exponentially. The March 2016 MarTech Conference revealed there are over 3,800 martech tools (up 87% in 2015). These tools are becoming increasingly more powerful and are allowing much more opportunities for marketers to create detailed customer profiles using data found on things such as social media, bank tracking and more. You would think that this is a positive step in the face of digital marketing, but we need to talk about what this really means.
Consumer profiles allow us to target more efficiently and effectively and in turn we improve our ROI and marketing budgets. But since these tools are becoming so powerful, there is an increasing likelihood that our marketing efforts may become far too invasive. Where does one draw the line? We know that there is a line between unethical and illegal but we also know that unethical activity can damage a brand forever.
Marketers should be aware that the success of a company is built on the back of consumer trust. There is a responsibility to deliver on promises and if a brand fails to act appropriately for whatever reasons, trust is undermined. And with martech tools it’s far too easy to do that. These tools perhaps enable us to overstep the line and moral boundaries. For example let’s consider Angry Birds and the Brightest Flashlight Free app – they were using these apps to track the user’s movements and were passing that data onto other companies.
Let’s really bring it deep in here. Digital tools are becoming so advanced that we now even have access to facial recognition to measure response to ads. That means we then have access to consumers’ webcams and this adds a massive rabbit hole to the whole morality in marketing concept. Big data’s arrival means there will be even more of it available which will require even more powerful tech martech tools. Now is the time for marketers to clarify in their own mind their moral compass. Is it appropriate now for companies to introduce a code of ethics to their company as standard practice?
Optimising Images for SEO
Source: Death to the Stock Photo
We want to create a rounded presentation of SEO tips here at Spot Studio so we’re going to give you some tips on how to optimise your images – because images are just as important. It doesn’t matter about the topic of the writing you’re producing, images are the key to improving your content and UX.
Finding The Images
It’s obviously best if you use your own images, but in the event that you simply can’t then there’s other ways to find unique images without having to turn to crap stock photos. Flickr is a pretty good image source for example. Here you can read about how to use creative commons images from Flickr. You can also get images from freeimages.com and a whole bunch of other websites. Do your research and find out the good places.
The File Name
Optimising images for search starts with the file name. As you’d imagine, this is the first place you should be using your keyword. Without looking at the image you still want Google to know what the image is about. For example if your picture was of the London eye, you’d want it to be called something like the-london-eye.jpeg. The keyword should ideally be at the start of the file name.
Scale Your Images
As we’ve mentioned recently, loading times are an important SEO and UX aspect and the faster the website loads, the more favourable Google will find it. Images have massive impact on your page loading times. You should remember that no matter what the size is that you display an image at is, it will always take the full time to load its original size. So if you display a 2500×1500 pixels at 250×150, it’s still going to take the load time for the image itself. You should scale the image to the size you want to display it at, and while WordPress can do things like that, the file size isn’t necessarily optimised, just the image size.
These are really important. Next to headings, people tend to scan the image and include the caption as well in that scan. KissMetric found that captions under images are read on average 300% more than the body copy itself so using them incorrectly means you could be missing out on opportunities to engage a huge number of potential readers. You don’t need to add captions to all images. You need to think if the image you have in front of you is an image you want to represent your content. Don’t over optimise – you should add a caption only if it makes sense to the visitor if that caption is added.
Alt text is added to an image so that even if the image can’t be displayed to the viewer, the image is explained in words instead. Wikipedia explain it in the only way you really can,
“In situations where the image is not available to the reader, perhaps because they have turned off images in their web browser or are using a screen reader due to a visual impairment, the alternative text ensures that no information or functionality is lost.”
So, you need to add in those alt texts. WordPress allows you to do that quite easily. You could use your keyword here, but only if you know it does actually explain the image they could be missing.
Additional Resource: Commercial Product Photography for eCommerce
The 3 Key Changes to Email Marketing Coming in 2017
Source: Windows Central
A new year is a fresh start for a lot of marketers and is the opportunity to outperform the year before. It’s time to step up the game in 2017, but let’s explain what’s set to come up in the months ahead so we can all prepare:
Integrated Solutions: More Effective Campaigns
The increased demands of consumers means marketers need to pay attention to the full picture of audience behaviour. You will need to adopt integrated solutions that allow you to organise all your marketing activity under one umbrella as well as save time. A comprehensive tech stack would allow marketers to understand how their prospects are engaging with the brand across channels and provides important data on when and how to communicate. According to SiriusDecisions there are nearly 11 times more B2B organisations using marketing automation now compared to 5 years previous. The trend is set to continue this year.
Brands Will Quit Email Blasts
Email blasts are a trend that we’ve never quite managed to grasp – but thankfully in 2017, receiving a mass of irrelevant emails is about to become history. eConsultancy claim 76% of marketers think their emails will be fully personalised in the next five years, so it’s clear the blasting days are numbered. Plus, consumers aren’t idiots. They know exactly which emails to delete so there’s no excuse not to learn what your customers are interested in this year. Data integrations, automation and web tracking will make it more possible to deliver emails to individual subscribers at scale and will help bands avoid the spam folder.
Interactive Email All the Rage
Catchy subject lines and basic name personalisation don’t cut it anymore. You’ve got bigger fish to fry. Customers want more from you and that’s where interactive email comes in. If you’re wondering what interactive email is, it’s things like image carousels, collapsible content, tabbed menus, reveals, etc.. Anything, well, interactive. It’ll be like having a small website in your inbox, removing a whole bunch of steps that lead to conversion. This also lets marketers see the behaviour of their potential clients and track it, providing data that helps buys down the sales funnel. It’ll take a while to nail it, but experimentation with this could reap massive rewards.