How You Can Better Understand the Customer Journey

I’m always baffled when I learn about marketers who don’t have a full understanding of their customers’ behaviors. To me, the customer’s journey is the first place marketers should turn when trying to analyze ways they can improve their business. From a theoretical perspective, understanding the journey helps the marketer understand the business itself. Oftentimes, marketers who instinctively look to the customer journey don’t have a specific name for it; at our Florida marketing agency, we think clarifying why customer’s take a certain journey is a huge step in growing a business.

Analyzing a customer journey offers an opportunity for marketers to learn about how awareness leads to a purchase or other action. Assessing the customer journey helps determine whether, for example, the client should spend more money on awareness efforts or should stick to optimizing a website.

[quote]The customer journey first involves looking at where people get most of their information about a company’s products or services.[/quote]Years ago, marketers could create conversions after connecting with a customer approximately seven times, typically though print or television advertising. However, because of the rise of social media, these various touches don’t always create as much impact, and now marketers suggest that it requires between 20-30 touch points to gain a new customer.

In the digital space, social media steers these touch points, driving the first step in the customer journey: awareness. Be it paid or owned social media, this is often the first line of contact. However, it can also come from paid or organic search. Understanding where customers are finding out about your product or service helps target your advertising efforts to where you’re more likely to drive traffic to your website.

Next comes consideration. This is where it becomes important for a marketer to convince a person that a product or service is right for them. This requires having a strong understanding of your target demographic, complete with user personas. Having a firm understanding of your target customer can help guide all brand decisions, and the results of these decisions should be able to push people into the next phase of the customer journey: intent.

While good UX should always be a strong consideration when building a website or virtual shopping cart, it’s most important in the intent phase. Think of Amazon.com’s shopping cart feature. Sometimes, people who drop off at this point may have intent to purchase, but forget or drop off for some other reason. This is where strategies such as ad retargeting can be helpful, reminding the user of their intent to purchase.

Citing Amazon again, think of “1-Click” ordering. A person can choose to purchase in a single click, making the user experience as flawless as possible… and giving people fewer chances to change their minds between the intent phase and the next phase: the purchase.

Finally, the customer will make a purchase, resulting in a sale for the business. However, this is not necessarily the end of the customer journey; some marketers link this back to advocacy, such as when a person writes a glowing product review or shares it with friends.

Understanding your customer’s journey can help marketers find ways to simplify the process by cutting out friction in the purchasing or conversion phases. For more information on ways to simplify the customer journey, contact our Florida marketing agency for a consultation.

Do You Know How the best way to Advertise on Twitter?

Fresh on the heels of an IPO, there’s plenty of speculation about the future value of Twitter and how it will sustain revenue over the next few years. Certainly, it’s been proven that Twitter is around to stay, with a sizable base of users who constantly check their feeds for more content. Plus, there’s significant buzz around the value of Twitter, given its decision to close off its API and keep tracking data internal.

Regardless of how investors feel about Twitter, there are real opportunities for businesses of all sizes to advertise on the social media platform. There are three different ways to advertise on Twitter: Promoted Hashtags, Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets.

The team at our Florida ad agency thought it would be helpful to break down Twitter ads to figure out the best ways to help businesses lever Twitter marking for their businesses.

Promoted Trends

Promoted trends are the true moneymakers for Twitter. Companies can purchase a Twitter hashtag for 24 hours, starting at about $200,000, for the exclusive right to be featured prominently as a trending hashtag throughout the course of the day. Obviously, this requires a huge marketing budget, but large businesses that can afford a promoted trend can typically expect to see a massive return on investment. Sponsored hashtags appear in the trends section of the desktop site and have featured placement on Twitter mobile.

On a recent Tuesday, the evening’s promoted trend was #TuesdayNightFootball. The hashtag appeared in a sidebar for every person who used Twitter on his or her computer for that entire day. The success of that marketing effort wasn’t just massive Twitter appeal; much of it was in the fact that people were consistently using that hashtag in their own Tweets, creating a network of posts and retweets to help create awareness of Tuesday Night Football. It also became a cross-promotional effort, with TV viewers being encouraged to tweet with that hashtag and attracting new viewers to their televisions to watch Tuesday Night Football.

Companies who opt to go with this type of advertising often do so through agencies, and do it in order to promote events or product launches. Only one promoted hashtag will run at a given time, so it is given a premium spot at a premium rate.

Promoted Accounts

Business owners can promote their accounts for much cheaper than they can purchase promoted hashtags. A promoted account features the advertiser’s account prominently on the desktop under “Who to Follow,” and reach only people who fit a particular profile, as determined by the advertiser.

Promoted accounts works best for people looking to grow their user base over time by cultivating user engagement. These seem to be a longer-term strategy. Also, advertisers only pay for users who follow their accounts as a result of the promoted account.

Promoted Tweets

[quote]Most small business Twitter success stories come from promoted Tweets.[/quote]These are easy to implement and geotarget, or, small businesses can choose to relay such tweets to niche populations who are interested in specific subject matter (which is based on the accounts a person follows and tweet topics).  These are best to use to drive immediate traffic.

Recently, a friend of mine who had a recently published book decided to take a shot at Twitter advertising. Her efforts garnered more than 2,000 impressions and hundreds of new followers. And, this all cost her a mere $5. With careful planning, this tactic can be an effective strategy for engaging with potential customers.

Increasingly, businesses are learning to leverage Twitter to help grow their user base and engage with them more. People who are not getting the results they want from simply tweeting may wish to investigate Twitter advertising as an additional source of awareness. Business owners who have yet to experiment with Twitter advertising can contact our Florida marketing agency for help with creating the perfect Twitter ad campaign.

Become a Destination Spot: Online Tourism Marketing Tips

The tourist market is quite competitive with the ever-changing economy, fickle weather conditions and seasonal slumps. In light of these challenges, it’s important to bring your A-game when it comes to marketing strategy. As a Florida advertising agency, we partner with many clients in the tourism department and have found that with a few simple additions in your online tourism marketing plan, campaign strategies and outreach, business owners can boost their sales and become a destination spot.

Boost Business with Bloggers

Instead of a press release in a local paper or magazine, spread the word about your business among the online travel community. Gain traveling clout by pitching your destination to travel bloggers. Bloggers want to discover the untapped destinations, so talk about the latest and greatest and you could be among their list just by simply pitching your destination.

Here a few things to consider when reaching out to bloggers:

  • Create a press packet that has the background story of your business, what you offer, why you are unique, plus images that showcase your business. Send this packet along with your initial email for bloggers to get a handle on your business and also use the content for the blog itself.
  • Invite a blogger to enjoy a free dinner, one night at your hotel, etc. in exchange for a mention in their travel diary. Bloggers love being able to experience all things first-hand.
  • Not only can bloggers offer a write up about your business, they can also offer advertising. Consider purchasing ad space from a blogger that shares the same target audience as you and take advantage of their online traffic.

Great travel blogs: Hotel Belle, Camels & Chocolate, The Everywhereist, Delicious Baby, Johnny Jet

Get Social

Remember it’s all about connecting with the customer. The more communicative and personal your business is, the more a customer will feel comfortable buying into what your company has to offer. Start a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even a blog account to start the buzz about your business and add some personality.

Here are just a few ideas of how you can use social media to boost sales:

  • Post images and tips about other local spots that guests can enjoy while visiting your business-it may strike up some B2B relationships with other local businesses and will definitely boost your audience’s engagement with your business and local community.
  • Use these social media hubs as a platform for promotional campaigns. Run a holiday special for just Twitter and Facebook users.
  • Host a weekly or monthly photo contest using Instagram. The guest with the best photo wins a free meal, 10% of a service you offer, etc. It’s a great way to build positive social content and promote your brand.

 

Gain Referrals & Recommendations

Word of mouth referral is the best organic marketing tool out there and has quite a high conversion rate. However, it usually comes sporadically and doesn’t have a lasting or widespread impact. The next best things are online recommendations and referrals. Consider setting up business accounts with sites like Trip Advisor, Wanderfly, Yelp and Foursquare.

These services are free and will not only optimize your chances of being found online, but also give your audience a chance to leave feedback about their experience. Recommendation sites drive referral traffic and help your customer conversion rate climb. It also works as a great checks-and-balance system for you and your staff to uphold a high level regarding customer service and experience.

Contact us today to develop the perfect online tourism marketing strategy for your destination!

 

Resources:

http://www.tourismknowhow.com/how-to.html

http://www.mywebschool.com/blog/mobile-marketing-for-tourism/

 

Content Strategy Tips for Real Estate Agents You Need To Know

You’ve read our previous post about the importance of content strategy for real estate agents, and you’ve decided it’s time to get started in growing your business through content marketing.  But, this beckons another important question:  What types of content should you provide?
In tackling this question, it is important to look to matters of time and budget.  A real estate agent’s time can be limited, and realtors often find themselves trying to squeeze out a few minutes between back-to-back client meetings and an afternoon open house.  Luckily, for time-crunched real estate professionals, there are a variety of services to help increase efficiency.  For instance, agents can virtual assistant via Task Rabbit can help manage social media accounts, while a freelancer via eLance can assist with generating content for your blog.  Agents looking to develop a top-tier content strategy can contact our Florida advertising agency to learn more about the best methods to grow their business by optimizing return on investment.

Content strategy should be budgeted as part of overall marketing costs.  If hundreds of postcards and expensive stationery aren’t generating results, consider investing those costs instead into digital strategy.  Certain blogging networks like WordPress allow users to build for free, and allow them to host blogs on their own domains, which individuals can acquire for just a few dollars a month.

Here are some content opportunities to consider while developing content strategy.

Blog Networks:  Blogging networks are great starting points for real estate agents interested in building their practices.  Realtors can offer expertise about the state of the local market and other topics of interest to potential buyers and sellers.

Facebook:  For some real estate agents, it may help to have both a personal page and a business page.  On the business page, realtors can showcase new listings, offer caption contests with small prizes as rewards, and post trivia about local neighborhoods.  Agents can also use Facebook to link to blogs posts, exposing these posts to a broader audience.

Twitter: Twitter is a quick and easy way to send a message, and the 140-character limit ensure short, concise updates.  Try using Twitter to link to your blog and to link to new listings.

Quora:  Quora is a great tool for industry experts.  The allows individuals to anonymously ask questions about topics of interest to them, and allows others to answer.  Each time an individual answers a question, the site lists the answerer’s credentials, plus links to any website or other information that professional provides.  This is a great resource for real estate agents, as some of the questions are specific to localities (check out this listing of nice neighborhoods around Orlando, and think about how a real estate agent might be able to provide expert advice).

LinkedIn:  LinkedIn is the number one site for business networking.  Again, it’s a place where real estate agents can share links to their blogs and other content.  However, LinkedIn also makes the referral process much easier.  If a second-degree connection is looking for a home, and a first-degree connection sees it, then that person can easily refer the potential client to you through a LinkedIn introduction.

YouTube:  More commonly known for dancing hamster videos, YouTube is actually a great resource for DIY instructional films and informative videos.  A real estate agent can create web videos cheaply and quickly to answer questions common to their field.

If done correctly, content marketing can help real estate agents build stronger, more fulfilling practices.  For more information about how our Orlando marketing agency can help you develop and implement your content strategy for optimal results, contact us for a consultation.

Why Real Estate Agents Should Focus on Content Strategy

A good real estate agent is a master of self-promotion.  Unfortunately, navigating the difficult terrain between effective promotion and pompousness can be challenging.  The best realtors act as salespeople without coming across too strong.

In a digital era where people rely on Google, Facebook and Twitter to transmit information, one of the most effective ways to do this is to develop a content strategy to increase exposure, which helps an agent to create and maintain a pipeline of clients.  Real estate agents who implement content strategies can expect to gain leads in the following ways:

Expertise:  Potential clients expect real estate agents to know a lot about a breadth of subjects pertaining to the industry.  Therefore, agents who can show that they know a great deal about such subjects are able to establish expertise, which results in increased influence.  And, once a real estate agent has built up a reputation an expert, more people will be inclined to seek out that agent when searching for a home.  With enough expertise, an agent may even be invited to speak on radio shows and at seminars, which again can help build the agent’s number of referrals.

SEO: A solid content strategy is great for SEO purposes.  On an average Google search, eighteen percent of clicks go to the number one ranked article, while only 1% go to the number ten ranked article.  This shows the power of having a high-ranking webpage on Google.  In order to increase visibility in search, realtors can write articles that emphasize popular keyword searches.  Content marketers can find out what keywords are popular using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, and can tailor their content to such searches.  For example, if the search term “Orlando real estate” is extremely popular, it may be hard to achieve a top ranking.  But, a term such as “Orlando real estate marketing” may be less popular, and may be a better keyword topic if you’re trying to improve your rankings.  A full overview of SEO rankings is available here.

Repeated Exposure:  Maintaining an active content strategy provides repeated exposure for the real estate agent.  It allows the real estate agent to promote his or her services without seeming pompous.  Maintaining a flow of interesting content leaves lasting associations in potential clients’ minds. Continuous updates are a great way to stay visible, allowing the agent to remain on a potential client’s radar long after the initial interaction.

Email Lists, Twitter and Facebook:  An effective content strategy can help build the agent build her fan base.  This can lead to more opportunities to reach out to potential customers through email marketing, Twitter and Facebook.

Most real estate business comes from the agent’s ability to get into, and remain in, potential customers’ minds.  The more ways the agent can do this, the more potential for home buying and selling opportunities.  This, paired with perceived expertise, results not only in more clients, but also in quality clients.

The team at our Florida advertising agency believes an effective content strategy can make real estate a real win, so contact us to see how we can help!

What Do Don Draper and Thomas Edison Have in Common?

Technology is moving at a phenomenal pace. Technologies we thought would never die are now obsolete, and the items that are here to stay have gotten fundamentally better in the past couple of decades.  The emergence of a technology-driven era shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
Long ago, advertisers were responsible solely for creating content to be published in newspapers, magazines and, eventually, billboards and outdoor spaces.  While those media are shrinking as we make way for more effective (and often less expensive) digital advertising, these items still remain integral to a cohesive marketing strategy for many businesses of all sizes.

However, at our Florida advertising agency, we believe the role of the advertiser is changing.  Advertising now requires an understanding of how to leverage technology and data to help generate successful campaigns that reach the masses in unprecedented ways.  Granted, advertisers have always been on the forefront of technology, but these days, a cohesive advertising campaign requires more innovation than ever.

In boardrooms around the world, advertisers are already putting together initial plans to leverage advertising on Google Glass–product that didn’t even EXIST a month ago.  This is indicative of the challenges that advertisers will face going forward.  What comes next?  An Apple-driven way to change your brainwaves?  A way to tell your smart TV what you want to watch by simply looking at it?

[quote]The new role of an advertiser is that of a creative technologist. In the future, this role will dominate the advertising space. [/quote] A recent video from Code.org shows Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg evangelizing the importance of coding as an invaluable skill set, as well as people like will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, a notably unassuming advocate for digital development.

Advertisers who are not on the cutting edge of technology will be at a stark disadvantage if they fail to remain on the forefront of digital trends.  As such, it requires them to visionaries, implementing innovative products and services that create utility while instilling brand loyalty into their audience.  Advertising today requires knowledge and understanding of digital analytic data, as well as the means to understand the implications of that data and how to maneuver the digital terrain.

A recent blog post on Harvard Business Review propositions that advertisers need to be inventors.  They need to know what to build, how to build it and how optimize it for guaranteed results.  The thought process, therefore, is changing.  The dimensions, once limited to print surfaces, are now innumerable, with new products being invested every day.

The advertisers of the future are the people who are currently developing mobile apps to help solve problems in their everyday lives.  They are the ones who have clever ideas for new ways to use technology – and ACTUALLY act on them.

The team at our Orlando advertising agency encourages creativity in advertising my fostering contribution, by allowing everyone to contribute at every level of experience.  We strive to keep up with trends in digital technology, frequently attending showcases and networking events to learn about recent developments.

How are you fostering creativity in advertising at your business or agency?