Generally speaking, digital marketing agencies advertise in one of two ways: “we work with you” and “our approach always works!” The former is an excellent sign because the marketing agency wants to personalize your digital marketing strategy for a target demographic. It is willing to build a custom template for your company. The latter is ubiquitous and rather troubling.
Why? Marketing strategies depend on a number of variables that change widely business to business, even within the same industry. Since customers frequently access websites using the GPS on their smartphones, location determines how people find you. Your most purchased product or service matters, too. Each company has a niche, and static marketing plans fail to take this discrepancy into account. It is important to understand the forces driving enhanced user experience to understand exactly why a flexible approach to marketing is so important.
The Organic Search
Paid search results lag behind organic searches. This means advertising dollars bring in less internet traffic than carefully selected keywords and focused website content. A study done by the company User Centric found that Google’s paid results were often skipped out of habit by most users. In fact, a paid ad does less for a company’s rank than hitting the top of the second page of Google.
This means search engine optimization (SEO) should be a base component of every business’s web advertising focus. Because keywords change, what customers look for also changes. As the scope of industries evolves, this process should be an ongoing, flexible art form. Companies and their marketing teams need to view SEO as subservient to their Analytics data.
Users Want Information, Not Websites
A survey completed by Forrester Research outlines a behavior that makes perfect sense when you think about it. Searches for products and services rarely take place in context of a specific business. In other words, the chances of someone searching your company’s name is slim, unless you have a pre-existing relationship with that individual.
Instead, customers are looking for a solution. Let us pretend for a moment that Diana wants to eradicate mice that have recently infested her home. Diana has no clue what pest control companies are in her area. She has pets and kids and is wary of putting out poison around the house. So she Googles “How to safely get rid of mice in Philadelphia,” and lands on a few blogs. (Note: If she was searching on her mobile phone, which is how the majority of search engine searches today are made, she would have been directed to Philadelphia-specific companies anyway. Hurray 2015!)
Her favorite post is written on a well-designed, clean site. The blog talks about features common to Philadelphia homes in her neighborhood. The blog offers advice on setting out traps and determining how to locate nests. At the bottom of the blog post is a call to action: “If none of these solutions work, call Pete’s Pesky Pest Removal. We will survey your home for free!”
Despite the advice, this seems like the better option to Diana. Pete’s company appears to be knowledgeable and helpful. It provided advice so she could do it herself, yet she still has the option to hire its services. In short, Pete knew his audience.
Forrester Research determined users rarely rely on search engines to look up companies, and instead hunt for advice, customer reviews, and product information. Part of the reason is that many users are getting better at conducting searches and are more likely to search a company if two conditions are met:
- They have used the company before.
- The URL is memorable and they can type it directly.
The Role of Social Media
Social media has made a huge impression on how search engines function, too. Essentially, they are another door flung open to redirect web traffic to companies. Savvy social media professionals for large corporations have been shown to increase sales when they use humor. Big businesses are associated with the bottom line, impersonal straight suits, and a disregard for the average customer.
A good example is Jimmy Johns. Last year a member of the image aggregator site Imgur mentioned Jimmy Johns in a humorous story that went viral. Their social media team published this tweet:
Taco bell has also been known to reply to hilarious conversations on Twitter, especially to college students. It knows its market, and the humor helps sales. Buzzfeed did an entire article called The Best of Taco Bell’s Twitter. Taco Bell will continue jokes…
…or jump in on popular ones. Here is one from Mean Girls:
Yet when someone posts something important, Taco Bell reverts back to the appropriate, concerned professionalism one would hope for:
These examples are important because there is no way these interactions could be planned ahead of time. When we discuss flexibility, understand social media is the most flexible avenue of marketing.
In the end, it comes down to being yourself. If you are a company looking to hire a digital marketing team, ask these questions:
- How can I show personality while maintaining the integrity of my brand?
- What do users want?
- How can I use analytics data to tailor my web content?
- How can I cultivate my target demographics’ worldview?
Any good marketing team will understand, and your customers will love you for it. By working with a marketing team willing to listen to your goals and customize a solution, you can develop your brand voice and reach your consumers. Ultimately, this results in better long-term business and improved profitability.