It’s mid-February already and we can hardly believe it ourselves. But like clockwork we’re back to make your Monday that little bit better with all of the important stuff you need to know, without the hassle. Last week we covered some pretty groundbreaking stuff, if you want to check that out.
Utilities Brands and Social Media: Online Reputation Management
Perhaps it’s the word of mouth aspect of utility businesses, but it’s an industry that’s often overlooked for digital marketing. While you might not be able to adopt the same sort of campaigns as other sectors, utility companies are able to use social media perfectly for online reputation management. If you’re wondering what that is, it’s a practice of social media monitoring that takes focus on how people are reviewing you. It refers not only to how people talk about you, but how you as a brand respond to this conversation.
There are a few basic rules to online reputation management:
Prepare for disaster
Seems pretty simple, right? But it’s not always that easy. Social media could be one of the strongest tools in the utility brands’ box if they manage their reputation well, so here are a couple of examples of brands putting some of the basic principles into practice:
Citizens Advice figures concluded that SSE was the top energy company overall for customer satisfaction due to its low number of customer service complaints. One major factor in this is that it handles criticism and queries on social media politely, and quickly. You can see this on their Facebook page, which states their response rate is ‘typically within an hour’. As with all companies, complaints do exist, but acting fast calms angry customers.
This gas and electricity company in New Jersey shows that you can use social media for brand management in other ways. Back in 2014 they started planning for an infrastructure upgrade to replace 250 miles of gas line, which would result in a lot of upheaval for the local residents. Instead of announcing on their website they decided to use a super targeted Facebook ad to let people know how it was going to affect them. When they clicked the ad it would take them to a work schedule to see more about the related disruption – a great way of anticipating customer needs and allaying complaints.
Credit Card Number: It Has to be Auto-Fill
Customers entering their credit card details into your checkout will have you biting your nails. One wrong digit and they have to go through the process again – and you’ll potentially lose them out of frustration. Baymard’s large scale checkout usability study observed that many users struggle to type in heir 15-16 digit credit card numbers in correctly and also struggle to double check its accuracy.
Tests also revealed however that auto-formatting their card number with spaces or allowing them to type spaces can greatly improve their accuracy. Despite most customers struggling with this aspect of checkout and companies having the opportunity to help them along, a massive 80% of eCommerce sites don’t use that typing aid for their credit card field. What?!
When you disallow spaces in the card number input, you create massive usability issues. Auto-formatting spaces and improving accuracy was proven to in turn decrease cart abandonment rates due to fewer validation errors. When you allow customers to have spaces you make it easier for them to read over their information, and it’s easier to read since it looks just like their bank card anyway.
If you want to adopt an auto space fill feature in your checkout, it is definitely worth noting that different credit or debit cards have different number spacing formats. In the report’s summary Baymard say,
“This means that the formatting of spaces, primarily for AMEX card inputs, has to change based on the card type. Luckily the card type can be auto-detected based on the first digits in the card number, where AMEX cards start with either “34” or “37”. To ensure a good return on investment, consider only supporting auto-formatting for the most common 15- and 16-digit cards, like VISA, MasterCard, JCB, Discover, and AMEX (and/or any card types that are particularly popular on your site). Given the rarity of cards that deviate from these two patterns, just allowing users to type spaces themselves will have to do for the “odd ones out” cards (typically it’s Switch, Solo, Maestro, Diners enRoute, Diners Club, and Carte Blanche, that deviate).”
A smooth checkout is plain sailing and a happy ending for all. You can find out more about their focused usability testing by heading on over here.
SEO Trends That Could Boost Performance
Let’s do a quick-fire round of the SEO trends that you could use to boost your performance in the upcoming months:
Optimising for Intent, Not Just Keyword Volume
Yes, keyword volume is absolutely essential in SEO and you shouldn’t compromise it, but you can definitely optimise the keywords that you choose to focus on. Using advanced tools like Ahrefs is a great way of understanding what your customers are searching for through keyword research. The tool provides third-party insight into your customers beyond simple search terms, meaning you can make more informed decisions as to what keyword you choose. There’s no way to just push and shove your way onto the first page anymore. To keep surviving we must adapt to the new user-centric SEO trends that are coming up, and one of those is fulfilling the needs of the consumer and answering their queries – so what are they?
Voice Search is the Next Big Thing
Voice searching has been changing the way we find out information since 2014 and since it has been shaping SEO and continues to do so even more today. Voice search is going to have the biggest impact on your strategy over the coming years but you can use it to boost yourself. To keep up to date no matter what happens with voice search, improve your FAQ pages to include common questions and long-tail keywords, update your business info for local search capabilities and optimise your micro-data to provide additional context to your content.
We mentioned this in our 2017 Digital Marketing Trends report, but we’ll tell you again that people online are getting sick to death of reading short, fluffy content with no substance. Buzzfeed might thrive on it, but the rest of us are set to go towards the larger, more dense pieces. You can take advantage of dense content by focusing on solutions then build the content in a simple way, in order to appeal to desktop users and to keep factoring in mobile searching and AMP. Don’t just increase your word count. Use shorter paragraphs to improve readability on mobile, remove technical jargon, and include information from expert partners in your field. In short: make reading it worthwhile.
5 Crucial Marketing Stats You Need to Know This Week
Keeping on top of digital marketing trends is important, but it can be tiring. In order to help you out, here’s a combination of the most crucial digital marketing statistics we thought you should know this week. Thank us later.
Accenture Strategy have released a new report which highlights the changing attitudes in brand loyalty. In a survey of over 25,000 consumers, they found that 54% of US customers have switched a provider in the past year whilst 18% say their own expectations about brand loyalty have changed. There’s a chance that greater loyalty could be driven by an experiential approach, with almost half (44%) of people saying they’re loyal to a brand that encourages the co-creation of products and services. Personalisation is a driver of customer loyalty. Forty-two percent of US respondents claim they’re loyal to brands people close to them are loyal to, and 37% are loyal to shared causes.
The State of Digital Commerce report by Episerver has noted that two-thirds of marketing professionals are not using mobile apps in their campaigns anymore, choosing a responsive mobile presence instead. 32% of the top retailers don’t provide a mobile app and 8 out of 10 of the top UK retailers have adopted a responsive eCommerce site. The introduction of Google’s AMPs and the surge in mobile searching is said to have driven this.
The US Presidential election and Brexit have led to two-thirds of marketers questioning whether they truly know their audience. How? Well, a new survey from Greenlight found that 94% of marketers now intend to get to know what their customer is looking for better in the wake of these political events. Typically 57% of marketers rely on customer surveys and 59% on online forms to collect their insight.
London Fashion Week is here and Hitwise has noted that a new generation of affluent millennials are increasingly seeking out luxury brands. 50% of website traffic to Gucci, Burberry and Louis Vuitton is driven by millennials and consequently the brands are expected to continue investing in digital marketing efforts to keep them hooked. There has been a 45% increase in this traffic over the last three years.
Mimecast’s new research has shown that retailers are now so overwhelmingly aware of cyber-crime that 73% of them believe an attack will negatively impact their business this year. 65% also believe a malicious email is the most likely way they’ll be infected by ransomware and retail is the industry that fears it the most. Their security risk report revealed that 3.5m pieces of spam and over 6,500 dangerous files were included amongst 26m emails they analysed.
Email Marketing Reaches Record High with CTR
Sign-Up.to has released its 2017 Email Marketing Benchmark Report. Featuring detailed analysis of over 1.5 billion emails sent in 2016, it classifies them into 29 different industry sectors. Analysed campaigns were primarily sent by professional marketers working in public sector organisations, in UK SME businesses and to both B2C and B2B audiences.
The report found that while average open rates have remained stable at 25% for the last 5 years, other key engagement indicators like click-to-opens and click-through rates have reached an all round high, having increased significantly from 3.42% to 4.19% and 10.88-11.88%. These increases were noted in 19 of the 29 tracked sectors. The highest click-through performance was noted in TV/radio/film, community and government. Average unsubscribe rates fell from 0.52% to 0.49%.
The Marketing Manager at Sign-Up.to says, “it is encouraging to see that key performance metrics like click-through and clicks-to-opens continue to show an increase in engagement with email marketing. The use of mobile responsive email design and an increase in profiling and personalisation techniques are key drivers of this, allowing marketers to better target their campaigns to the needs of their audience.”
Marketing automation is another key driver of all this good news. Small Business says, “Automated one-to-one emails such as welcome messages and abandoned online shopping basket recovery sequences significantly out performing non-automated multi-subscriber campaigns in terms of both average open rate (60.43 per cent) and click-through (37.57 per cent) performance.”
Let’s keep the momentum going then!