Last week, Shop.org hosted an event in Dallas Texas called the Retail Digital Summit. The purpose of the annual event is to connect digital marketing professional with each other and discuss the best practices in digital marketing strategies. Luckily, we got to attend the conference and listen to a many of the big tech giants speak about what they are focusing on with their digital plans. Google, Facebook, Pinterest just to name a few. Here are some of the common themes among them all.
That’s not surprising. It’s pretty well known mobile internet usage has been on the rise for years now. The big question is what is the best strategy for mobile digital marketing? Should you be using a m. site? A responsive design? A mobile app? The answer is… it depends.
The general consensus became that mobile responsive design is a better solution than an m. site. Having a separate m. site gives you the same end game, but at a much higher technology effort needed than a mobile responsive design. Although many players are still on m. sites because there still becomes a benefit in higher control and customization to content that is displayed on mobile. While majority find mobile responsive design to be a better solution as it becomes less to manage and creates a more consistent experience across platforms. Others put more energy into building a robust mobile application.
How are we suppose to know what’s going to work best for us?
The good news is, no one really knows the secret sauce of the perfect mobile strategy. It really takes a good understanding of what your business goals are with your digital marketing, who your customer base is, and how you want them to experience your brand. It’s not a one size fits all solution. M. sites might make sense for one business, while mobile responsive site makes more sense for others, while a mobile app makes more sense for the rest of businesses. The point is that everyone is still trying to figure out how to deal with what mobile brings to the table and how it drastically changes user behavior.
Desktop behavior is predictable. There are patterns that can be tracked over extended periods of time which can give us a deep understanding how users interact with you online. The difficulty that mobile creates is now we have a really difficult time connecting all the dots on how users are actually experiencing your brand. Maybe brand discovery happens on the mobile device, but the purchase decision is executed on a desktop machine. Without advance tracking in place, how do you determine that those site sessions where the same user? Now your mobile conversion is through the floor while desktop goes up, confusing you on where to spend your efforts.
The best thing to do is to really take a look at your business as a whole, map out your customer journey for your target market, and think critically about all the touch points that an end user may experience your brand. It’s hard to break out of the mindset of desktop usage for a consumer because your usually on a desktop computer all day at work. But in reality, consumers discover and interact with brands on mobile first before desktop. It’s essential to make sure your strategy takes that into account to maximize the potential you have with your digital campaigns.
This was near the top of everyone’s hit list. Email marketing is impactful. Opens and conversion rates can be a great metric to measure in many digital marketing strategies including email. But the flip side is how you can make sure that your brand and products are being pushed to the front of mind on a regular basis.
On top of that, email marketing is getting a lot more personable than it use to be. You can now easily setup campaigns that are triggered based on users behavior. Haven’t interacted with you in X amount of days? Automatically send them an email with a coupon to encourage re-engagement. Abandon a cart on your store? Send a follow up email within minutes to remind them about the products they were about to purchase. Is it their birthday? Wish them well with a special personalized gift in their inbox.
All these methods create a really great way to personalize the marketing efforts towards individuals, all through simple email campaigns. The kicker? Email marketing is one of the lower costing of the digital marketing campaigns out there. You can usually get setup pretty quickly and get your campaigns rolling in no time.
This is another non-secret of the industry. It’s nothing new, social platforms have drastically altered users website behavior. Consumers discover way more information on brands, products, and services through social platforms than they ever have before. The importance of being on social platforms is continuing to grow. This is especially true in related to your mobile strategy.
If you look at your own mobile usage, specifically smart phone usage, you probably have less than 6 apps that you are using on a daily basis, consistently. And I’d bet money that at least 3 of them are some type of social networking apps. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Snapchat, the list goes on and on.
That being said, picking out the platforms that best reach your target audience on a level that can help expose your brand and hopefully influence a purchasing decision is critical. As discussed before in our other social strategy article, this doesn’t mean that you need to be on EVERY platform. Pick out the best platforms that do well for your business, and put a content strategy in place that works for that platform. Don’t waste your time on a social network you don’t belong on. If you don’t have good content for that platform on a consistent basis and that platform doesn’t hit your target audience, it’s probably best to look at alternative platforms.
Just like mobile, this topic came up frequently, and it’s kind of a broad topic. But in includes a couple aspects. First is personalize marketing efforts. Trying to find ways to make each individuals experience with the brand personalized. Generic targeting is like throwing mud at the walls and seeing what sticks. With today’s technology, you can make your campaigns much more specific, like the examples we gave in the email marketing.
Another point of this topic is bringing consistent experience across devices. How do you allow users to feel like they are having the same experience with your brand across all the different marketing channels? First you have all your digital channels, but you also have your non-digital channels to consider as well. Focus on connecting the user experience from all angles.
Overall, the digital summit was wonderful and had a great amount of information for digital marketers. If you are ever looking to gain a deeper understanding of the top digital marketing strategies, this is a great event to participate in. Personally being able to walk away with dozens of immediate actionable items that can drastically improve digital marketing campaigns is a success. If you want help with your digital marketing strategies for your business, make sure to let us know.
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