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Social Ads that will Help, Not Hurt

 

Social Media Ads Header

By some measures, more than one-quarter of all social consumers feel that social advertising has worsened their user experience. To some degree, this makes sense: increased advertising dilutes the amount of organic content those users are viewing at any one time. At the same time, however, social networks need to monetize themselves to remain viable, and sponsored ads have proven to be the most lucrative method of generating revenues.

drive web traffic highwaySimilarly, social advertising is very important to businesses. As social ads become more prevalent, businesses are realizing that they can use these cost-effective advertising spaces to drive website traffic, promote their own social presence, expanding their digital visibility and drive sales and revenues. But social advertising can be a slippery slope because of how consumers view these social ads. It's easy for a social ad's presentation to appear spammy or intrusive, and if many consumers have the same reaction to a given ad, it could ultimately cause more brand damage than promotion.

It's important to craft social ad campaigns that don't ruffle consumer feathers. As social advertising becomes more prevalent--particularly on Facebook, which is leading the charge of monetizing through paid advertisements--a clear understanding of best practices is starting to emerge. Here are some tips to create social campaigns that will encourage your company's growth, instead of hindering it.

Target a Highly Refined Audience

Refined

Social networks are massive. The likelihood for most businesses is that their consumer base is present in very large amounts--so large, in fact, that it doesn't pay to target a remotely broad audience. Even an extremely refined target audience is still likely to net you tens of thousands of prospective consumers, so there's no risk of going too small with your campaign targeting. By contrast, social ad campaigns that go too broad will result in social users seeing ads that aren't relevant to them. That's highly likely to upset them and damage your brand.

Play it safe by targeting a highly refined audience. By doing so, you increase your odds of having consumers engage your ad, and you're exposing your ad only to consumers who will likely find the advertising relevant. That's the best way to take advantage of social ad opportunities.

Keep Text Content Low

Advertising on Twitter limits your word count considerably. On Facebook and other networks, though, you have a large space in which you can write advertising text. Tempting as it may be, this is a dangerous move for most companies. Consumers won't be willing to devote their attentions to a large block of advertising text--it could ultimately drive them away instead of pulling them in. It's fine to use text as part of your social advertising, but keep this text clear and concise--waste no words. Consumers will appreciate this, and they'll be more willing to read your ad content in the first place.

Embrace Engaging Visuals

As useful as text can be in crafting a social ad, most campaigns are driven by the visual elements. Pictures, infographics, even video can draw significant engagement from consumers. Visual elements are likely to be the first thing that catches a social user's eye, so it shouldn't be integrated as an afterthought. The most successful social campaigns will use visual content as the centerpiece and build the rest of the ad around that eye-grabbing focal point. Visual features are a significant driver of both social engagement and overall mobile engagement, so this aspect of your social ad should not be taken lightly.

Social ad campaigns can be difficult to develop and manage, but the payoff is big for those who do it right. If you're looking to promote your business through paid social advertising, contact DBC Digital to make sure you do things the right way.

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Greg Sherwood is CEO of DBC Digital, a marketing agency based in Denver, Colorado.  With over 30 years of marketing experience with traditional and inbound (internet) marketing, Greg helps mid-sized businesses get a better return on their marketing dollars.  

You can reach Greg at (303) 357-5757 or at dbc@dbcdigital.com

How to Address Negative Reviews

 

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Word-of-mouth has long been one of the best forms of advertisement, and a key driver of a business's continued viability. Already wielding critical influence, consumer attitudes and opinions have only grown more decisive in the success or failure of a business thanks to the Internet. Even if you're a business that eschews the Internet and chooses to exist solely in the brick-and-mortar world, there's a good chance that digital consumers are influencing your brand and your earnings opportunities.

complaint dept

Whether or not you have a company website, social media profiles or other digital properties, you likely have a presence online that is primarily molded by customer reviews. Websites like Yelp, Google and other user-generated reviews websites serve as virtual barometers of how well a company is satisfying its customer base. And this can have huge implications: the star ratings and user commentary regarding any given business could entice or discourage other consumers from giving that establishment a try.

This system essentially functions as a consumer-friendly word-of-mouth aggregator that displays positive experiences with negative feedback. Unfortunately for many businesses, it only takes a small number of negative reviews to hurt that company's reputation -- especially for young businesses with a limited number of online reviews. Addressing these negative reviews is a tricky business that could do more damage than good when approached hastily, but there are some steps you can take to mitigate the PR damage and even win back a dissatisfied customer. Here are some tips to addressing negative reviews.

Correcting Untrue Statements

If you can prove that a customer's statements are inaccurate or deceptive, you might be in luck. Many reviews websites are eager to ensure that the content published on their page is legitimate and accurate. The downside is that the evidence needs to be concrete: a billing receipt that shows, for example, that a customer was charged correctly when they feel they were cheated. If you have this proof, most websites have an outlet for you to dispute a listing and present your case. If you are able to do this, the listing could ultimately be removed.

Responding to Negative, Factual Statements

When negative responses are true -- or even if they are dubious but you lack proof otherwise -- then your options are much more limited. In this case, contrition is usually the best bet. Even when treated unfairly by customers, businesses can do much worse damage to their reputation by attacking those individuals or becoming combative. In a public forum, that's never a good thing. You can start by posting a public note of apology and offering to try and rectify the situation. Offer an outlet through which the individual can contact you, and always present yourself as understanding and willing to take the blame. Remember, this is not a court of law where you should prove your innocence: your main goal is to present yourself as fair, humble and committed to customer service.

Consider Taking the Conversation Offline

There is risk in hashing out a customer dispute publicly on the Internet, where anyone can seestock footage upset woman having a phone conversation at her office the interaction. This is particularly true when consumers seem extremely angry or volatile. In this case, it's best to try and move the conversation to a private channel, such as over the phone, email or even in-person. Pull yourself and the customer out of the spotlight and try to work things out. Without this public display, the customer might be less combative and willing to work things out. If you are able to improve the customer's experience and resolve the matter, you could even ask them to remove the listing or post an addendum that explains the aftermath.

Whatever does happen, remember that some negative reviews are inevitable for any business. The larger focus should be on providing excellent customer service to all of your current and future customers. With time and effort, this will increase your positive reviews and bury the negative feedback.

If you're concerned about how negative reviews are affecting your business, or if you want guidance in managing your online reputation to increase your digital referrals, contact DBC Digital today.

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Greg Sherwood is CEO of DBC Digital, a marketing agency based in Denver, Colorado.  With over 30 years of marketing experience with traditional and inbound (internet) marketing, Greg helps mid-sized businesses get a better return on their marketing dollars.  

You can reach Greg at (303) 357-5757 or at dbc@dbcdigital.com

How to Drive Business in Your Community

 

Blog Header Local Community

For many businesses, the local market is a cornerstone of their success. Companies may expand their horizons as they grow, focusing on new regions and markets -- and even new countries and continents -- but they likely maintain a firm interest in their local customers and how their brand is performing close to home.

In the case of the small to medium-sized business, the local market is particularly critical. When you're trying to prove your viability on a larger scale, it's imperative that your strategy succeed in building customers and brand interest in your own backyard. While many business professionals tend to think of local marketing in the traditional sense -- i.e. billboards, direct mail, coupons and other local strategies -- effective local marketing can be done on the digital front.

These digital marketing strategies are easy to implement and more cost-effective than many traditional campaigns, so no matter what your marketing budget or current strategy components, you should have no problem utilizing at least some of these tactics. Here are four basic tips to help you capture local consumers through digital solutions.

Take Over Your Google Business Listing

Google Search is a very popular tool for consumers seeking out businesses of any type. Whilegoogle places listing service Google automatically sets up business listings for many different companies -- thus making it easier for consumers to find those businesses through local search queries -- businesses have plenty to gain by taking the listing over for themselves.

Once the listing is under the control of ownership, businesses can improve the available information. They can add accurate addresses and hours of operation, upload business photos and videos, and even share coupons and other daily deals with consumers. Increased information and promotional offers will inevitably increase the amount of consumer traffic driven through your digital properties.

List Your City, State and Web Address Everywhere

Digital consumers can grow impatient quickly. To combat this, businesses need to give them the information they want quickly and easily. Because you're trying to drive local traffic -- possibly even to a local business location -- you need to make the essential information readily available. Outfit your Facebook, Twitter, Google business listing and other digital pages with a prominently placed address for your business. Include the address of your web page where they can get more information about you. Phone numbers and even emails should also be prominently displayed, giving consumers quick methods of reaching out to you.

Use Local Hashtags to Drive Engagement

Twitter HashtagsWhen you share content on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and just about any other major social media site, hashtags are now being used to catalog information in a way that's easy to navigate. Placing local hashtags on your content, such as #nyc for New York City or #pdx for Portland, Oregon, enters your content into a catalog of other local shares. When consumers look through these catalogs, your content will appear, increasing your local visibility.

Invest in Location-Specific Advertising

If you've ever seen a local advertisement on a national website, you've seen location-specific advertising in action. Simply put, this type of advertising allows businesses to pay only for the ads displayed to mobile device users in a specific location. This allows a local company to advertise on, say, the Vanity Fair website without forking over huge ad dollars -- instead, their ad only displays to mobile device users located within a certain geographic area. This ensures that the consumers seeing your advertisements are all possible consumers within your local area, as opposed to people viewing your ad from halfway across the country.

Making online connections with your local market may be a challenge, but it offers plenty of long-term rewards. If you're ready to improve your local marketing strategy as it relates to your digital efforts, contact DBC Digital today.

Get a Free Web Design Assessment Now

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Greg Sherwood is CEO of DBC Digital, a marketing agency based in Denver, Colorado.  With over 30 years of marketing experience with traditional and inbound (internet) marketing, Greg helps mid-sized businesses get a better return on their marketing dollars.  

You can reach Greg at (303) 357-5757 or at dbc@dbcdigital.com

Re-Targeting as a Digital Campaign: Why It's Worth the Investment

 

Many consumers have seen what re-targeting looks like -- even if they haven't recognized it as such. Anytime you see an advertisement for a product you previously viewed on a different website, or anytime you find that a certain company's ads are displaying to you repeatedly across various Internet properties, the odds are strong that you are the subject of re-targeting.

To some, this feels like Big Brother following a little too closely as you peruse various Internet sites. But for businesses and marketers, re-targeting serves as an essential campaign that can have a profound impact on your company's online initiatives. And even though re-targeting typically focuses on consumers that browsed a retailer's website without making a purchase, reclaiming those customers is only one facet of this campaign's value. Here's a quick primer on how re-targeting works, as well as the value it offers to your company.

Re-targeting: The nuts and bolts

nuts and boltsWhile the act of re-targeting is just catching on, the technology that makes this possible has been around for years. Re-targeting utilizes tiny packets of information, called cookies, that your computer picks up when you visit various websites. Each website places its own cookie on your browser, and when you return to that site the cookie informs the destination that you are a returning customer.

To set up these cookies for re-targeting, a small piece of code is installed into each cookie -- code so insignificant it doesn't disrupt any other processes. Companies that have purchased ad space through an ad display network can then equip their ads to be on the lookout for this line of code in the cookie of visiting web traffic. When the cookie indicates that the consumer has previously visited a certain website or viewed a certain product, the ad space can then display a related ad -- in some cases, the ad for the very same product.

Many companies choose to invest in very expensive ad display networks, meaning that their ads can appear on a very broad range of websites -- increasing their ability to effectively retarget past consumers.

Variations of a basic strategy

Re-targeting can be done in several different, slightly altered forms. Display ad re-targeting is the most common method, as has been outlined above. Emails are also effective re-targeting platforms: Businesses can send emails to consumers when they drop out of the path-to-purchase, and these emails can either encourage them to go back and complete their abandoned purchase, or they can recommend other products and services the customer might be interested in.

Search re-targeting is another option, although it typically retargets based on behaviors rather than based on a specific page view or action. This form of re-targeting uses a consumer's body of search queries to display text-based ads that are highly relevant to those individuals.

More than revenue: Boost your brand's visibility

The obvious benefit re-targeting offers to businesses is the ability to re-attract customersBrand Visibility that might have otherwise abandoned your website for good. Instead of considering a purchase and then ultimately leaving your website, re-targeting could rekindle their interest in a product or service and persuade them to follow through on a conversion.

But even if you don't ultimately earn a sale from every consumer, there's still value to be gained from re-targeting. The greatest benefit is in terms of your company's brand visibility. By re-targeting consumers, you offer continual reminders of your brand and offerings. This improves the familiarity of your business to a broad consumer base. Even if they don't follow through on a conversion, they will be more familiar with your business and more likely to seek it out in the future. Brand visibility is very difficult and tough to achieve online, but re-targeting can encourage this among consumers just be reinforcing brands that those individuals have already discovered on their own.

Don't let customers abandon your website while leaving you nothing to show for it. If you're interested in digital strategies that can increase your brand visibility as well as your conversions, contact DBC Digital today.

Get a Free Web Design Assessment Now

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Greg Sherwood is CEO of DBC Digital, a marketing agency based in Denver, Colorado.  With over 30 years of marketing experience with traditional and inbound (internet) marketing, Greg helps mid-sized businesses get a better return on their marketing dollars.  

You can reach Greg at (303) 357-5757 or at dbc@dbcdigital.com

Is it Time to Invest in Apps?

 

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Static Internet properties may have been of high value several years ago, but they've quickly fallen out of fashion. Google updates to its search algorithm, and even the evolving ways in which consumers use the Internet, have rapidly eroded the value of Internet pages built to live forever while producing an ever-running trickle of online traffic. Today's online properties need to be relevant to modern-day Internet consumers, and new technology is changing those consumer habits faster than many businesses might expect.

For years, content has been lifted up as the undisputed king of digital marketing. Its relatively low cost, high-value lifespan, and organic traffic generation potential has enabled its use as the foundation of many digital marketing strategies. And while it's still an extremely valuable and indispensable component of successful digital strategy, mobile apps are quickly gaining clout as a valuable marketing tool and as a means of increasing customer engagement. Even so, mobile apps aren't right for every business.

For Search Visibility, Content is Still King

content is kingDespite the recent buzz about the importance of developing mobile apps, businesses shouldn't overreact: Content remains an essential component of effective digital marketing. One key reason for small and medium-sized businesses is the cost: developing an app isn't cheap, and the sheer cost can exceed the marketing budgets of some companies. Even if a mobile app might be within your budgetary limits, content marketing still provides plenty of bang-for-your-buck that needs to be considered when putting together a marketing strategy.

Online content helps drive up search engine optimization scores, and it provides a shareable item that can be distributed online through social platforms, thereby presenting the opportunity for free, organic distribution of your content and, through that, your brand. Businesses shouldn't consider apps as a replacement to written content, but for some organizations it might be a useful complementary piece.

With Mobile Consumers, the Change is More Urgent

No one is going to say that a dentist needs his own app to sell himself to digital consumers. But any business that depends on mobile devices as a revenue stream should at least look into the benefits of developing a mobile app. Recent research shows that consumers spend 80 percent of their tablet and smartphone screen time using mobile apps, greatly reducing the reach and influence of a mobile browser.

Consumers are generally spending more time online, regardless of the platform they use, and that's a good thing for content marketing as well as for mobile apps. But while the average user's daily web browsing time increased by just 10 minutes over the past year, mobile app usage almost doubled from 43 minutes to 82.

Experts are starting to understand the reason for this gravitation toward mobile apps. Functionality and convenience may play a small role, but the greater influence comes from the unique experience provided by an app.

Apps and the Power of Creation

Mobile web browsers offer access to the whole Internet, but the experience is limited: websites are constrained to the limitations of the browser, both in terms of technology and the space. Mobile web browsers offer a one-size-fits-all approach that doesn't always encourage the best user experience possible.

That's exactly where mobile apps flex their power. With a mobile app, developers anddesign icon chairs app businesses can work together to create a seamless, intelligent user experience that mixes media with ease to create a new digital experience. Consumers respond well to these innovative experiences and use mobile apps to seek them out. The quality and aesthetic of a mobile app, in contrast with a website, can dramatically increase the extent of a company's engagement with users, and, by extension, their brand's relationship with its consumer base.

The more a company depends on mobile consumerism to pad its bottom-line, the more valuable a mobile app may be. But before you pull the trigger on mobile app development, make sure you have the best information and a concrete plan for your future. Contact DBC Digital today and see how we can prime your business for the digital future.

Get a Free Web Design Assessment Now

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Greg Sherwood is CEO of DBC Digital, a marketing agency based in Denver, Colorado.  With over 30 years of marketing experience with traditional and inbound (internet) marketing, Greg helps mid-sized businesses get a better return on their marketing dollars.  

You can reach Greg at (303) 357-5757 or at dbc@dbcdigital.com

Choosing the Right Digital Marketing Model

 

Digital Marketing Model Template

Digital marketing isn't done in the dark. When a company or marketing firm sets out to enact a digital marketing strategy that leverages digital platforms to increase activity, brand awareness and revenue, there is almost always a road map guiding those tactics and operations.

checklistThis map is typically referred to as a marketing model, and it's far from throwing darts: most mainstream marketing models have been developed by experts and refined by research, case studies and real-world evidence that the components of the model are likely to generate success. Granted, digital marketing models are much younger than traditional models, and for some time that meant the results weren't as dependable -- the industry was still working to figure out what worked.

But that's no longer the case. Digital marketing has matured to a point where we can point at any widely held marketing model and be confident in its design. More often than not, digital marketing models fail businesses because those businesses didn't choose the best model to address their needs at the time. Different models cater to different needs and goals, and businesses have a vested interest in making sure they are marketed the right way. Here's a quick guide to the basic marketing models out there, and how to balance your needs to earn the desired goal.

The Four Basic Digital Models

Digital marketing models can be broken down into four schools of thought:

  • Digital Branding. This type of marketing model is all about developing and selling the brand, and particularly the brand-consumer relationship. Customer engagement and the customer experience are the primary focal points for this strategy, and companies investing in this type of marketing model typically target strong brand loyalty as a means of generating repeat business.
  • Demand Generation. This approach primarily focuses on driving traffic to a business through any and all digital means. Digital properties are well-developed and highly integrated with one another. Volume is more important than efficiency, but companies investing in this digital model are also built to become more efficient with their expenses as sales volume increases.
  • Product Innovation. When companies invest in this marketing model, their goal is to leverage digital marketing information and feedback to shape future innovations. This means using customer feedback and insights gained through social and other platforms to enhance customer satisfaction by making continual enhancements to the product line in question. The ability to create new products effectively generates new streams of revenue that keep the company viable and successful.
  • Customer Experience Design. This model is all about creating an optimal customer experience: Developing streamlined paths to purchase, easy lines of communication, improved customer interactions and sleek, appealing sales platforms. Customer data gathered through digital platforms plays a large part in guiding future strategy and building the ideal customer experience.

Balancing Insights and Activation

The digital marketing model you choose will ultimately influence the proportions of your variousSALEtag marketing campaigns and capabilities. The goal of these various campaigns can typically be distilled down to one of two primary motives: insights and activation. Insight-minded campaigns typically seek out data and information to guide future strategy and decision-making, while activation is all about using the campaigns to generate immediate results such as lead generation and customer sales.

In an ideal world, when working with an endless budget, companies can afford to pursue both insights and activation at the same time. Some major businesses are able to accomplish this, but most are forced to choose between the two -- or at least to emphasize one another the other. While insights and activation are valuable to businesses at any level, insights are particularly beneficial to companies working in development phases, or those seeking answers to questions about their market success.

Activation efforts are most lucrative when companies believe in their current product and platform and are waiting for the sales volume to show up. Businesses can help identify their preferred digital marketing model by identifying their priorities between insight and activation, as well as the proportions they might like to see these two pursued by any one approach. Once this is determined, the ideal marketing model -- and its ensuing strategy -- will fall into place.

Whether you seek a specific digital marketing model or simply want to figure out which one is best for your present needs, don't take on the risk of making these decisions on your own. Contact DBC Digital today and let our professionals help you pinpoint the right strategy to help your business thrive.

Get a Free Web Design Assessment Now

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Greg Sherwood is CEO of DBC Digital, a marketing agency based in Denver, Colorado.  With over 30 years of marketing experience with traditional and inbound (internet) marketing, Greg helps mid-sized businesses get a better return on their marketing dollars.  

You can reach Greg at (303) 357-5757 or at dbc@dbcdigital.com

Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2014

 

Blog Header Digital Trends

Where is your marketing headed in 2014? If you don't know, you're in trouble. Digital marketing is in a state of ever-constant change, and it takes constant tweaks and adjustments to keep up with the best practices. Forward-thinking businesses are the ones best set up for success in 2014, and there are several key trends that you should be preparing to embrace in the coming year.

As nebulous and young as digital marketing is, this marketing frontier offers plenty of reward to the companies that hustle to stay ahead of the curve. By the end of the year, it's likely that the same strategy shifts being forecasted here will become missed opportunities. With so many competitions waging fierce competition for the customer traffic driven through digital portals, every day spent resisting the inevitable is only digging a deeper hole for your company.

With that in mind, here are the top digital trends that will affect business marketing in 2014.

Content Will Get More Conversational

Say goodbye to the lean, academic approach to content. The most successful digitalbizconvo marketing in 2014 will showcase a tone and style that mimics human conversational speaking. Thank Google's new algorithm update, dubbed Hummingbird, which will assign greater value to content that mirrors how people talk and write. In many regards, this is a logical shift: most marketers and advertisers have long understood that a conversational tone is more effective at relating with target audiences and eliciting a meaningful connection.

Nevertheless, companies will be wise to write content that reflects their manner of speaking -- not only for their human audience, but for the Google bots reading their work.

Social and SEO Strategy Will Merge

The foundational goal of search engine optimization is to drive traffic organically through search engines and other cost-effective means. In recent years, social media has proven its ability to do the very same thing: content can be easily shared and engaged with on most major social platforms, producing the same results that SEO work strives for.

SEO remains an essential component of digital marketing because online searches comprise such a large chunk of website traffic for most businesses. But the similar uses and valuations of social and SEO strategies will cause many marketing departments to fully merge these strategies together, treating them as equals as they attempt to leverage each for organic results.

Companies Will Want to Get Visual

InfographicIt hasn't taken long for visual marketing to prove itself a major force on the digital front. Image-focused social networks like Pinterest, along with other visual websites like Buzzfeed, have demonstrated the viral potential of images across a wide range of industries, and among any demographic. Businesses need to capitalize on this by integrating images into their web pages and blog posts. Consider producing vibrant infographics that package information in an appealing manner. And use SEO principles to name your image files with your keywords in mind, thus improving SEO while outfitting each Web page with some much-needed eye candy.

Don't let your company fall behind the times on the digital front in 2014. Contact DBC Digital today to learn how we can keep your business relevant.

Get a Free Web Design Assessment Now

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Greg Sherwood is CEO of DBC Digital, a marketing agency based in Denver, Colorado.  With over 30 years of marketing experience with traditional and inbound (internet) marketing, Greg helps mid-sized businesses get a better return on their marketing dollars.  

You can reach Greg at (303) 357-5757 or at dbc@dbcdigital.com

More Than Data: Gathering the Right Insights

 

Blog Header Insights

As the voices urging companies to invest in consumer data multiply and grow louder, many businesses have caught the drift: Digitally-driven data collection is information that can fuel better marketing work. As a result, companies large and small have been investing in services and data collection measures that can compile massive amounts of consumer information, ranging from online shopping habits to email-open rates to marketing style preferences.

DataThis has been a huge evolutionary step for those businesses, one that opens the door to more efficient marketing and greater bang-for-their-buck. The value of data only increases as the use of the Internet and other digital tools increases among consumers. This integration of technology into consumer activity is so far-reaching that even non-digital companies like plumbers and restaurants are losing money by ignoring what a little digital marketing can do for their bottom-line.

But for all this progress, we're now at a point where businesses are once again stalled in their efforts to improve marketing practices. Much of this has to do with how data is being handled once it is gathered. Businesses have largely ignored the value of enlisting experienced, knowledgeable marketing professionals to interpret the data to produce valuable insights that can guide future marketing efforts.

The situation is comparable to how the oil industry functions: you can be sitting on an underground ocean of crude oil, but you still need refineries to convert that oil into something of value. Big data offers plenty of monetary value and opportunity, but it needs to be refined. The only way to do that is by putting it in the hands of the right talent.

The Next Learning Curve: Talent Acquisition

Unfortunately for most businesses, adapting to present market conditions is often a slow process. New research from Infogroup Targeting Solutions suggests that this will be the case with talent acquisition. According to the group's recent study, 62 percent of all companies expect to expand their marketing data-related spending in 2014, which falls in line with current trends. But the bulk of that spending is going to technology, rather than to talented professionals skilled in developing and using that technology. Fifty-seven percent of those same companies said they do not plan to hire new professionals to handle their data-related efforts.

While companies might benefit in the short term by expanded access to data and data-related technology, they're likely to suffer in the long run as their lack of human capital limits their analytical capabilities. Technology is vital to gathering data and even organizing it, but humans are essential to properly evaluating and implementing this technology.

Professionals Give Context to Trends

The main reason professionals are so critical to effective data utilization is seen whenprofessionals companies try to decipher what data-identified trends are trying to say. While technology is great at identifying these trends across massive troves of data, they're not as useful in giving context to the trends. Context is essential because there are inevitably variables in a campaign's success that can't be translated into data. For that, you need experienced professionals to make expert judgment calls based on their training and past experience.

Trends don't always indicate a direct cause-and-effect. Take, for example, a landing page that fails to produce further actions or conversions. Data can offer a lot of insight in terms of how many consumers are falling off at this point in the conversion process, what kinds of consumers are being lost, and so forth. But some of these trends will be false alarms, and others will contradict one another.

Consider the classic example of ice cream sales in Florida. If our data tells us that Florida sells ice cream better than any other state, we could also find data identifying positive correlations between this fact and many others. Data might suggest the ice cream sales are correlated to various demographics, lifestyles and so forth. But we also know that Florida is one of the hottest and most humid states in the country, and we would most likely value this known fact over whatever the data trends tell us.

Like it or not, similar situations are occurring at companies all across the country. Data interpretation is key to extracting the greatest value from your collected data sets. If you're in need of professionals who can help you guide these processes, contact DBC Digital today.

Get a Free Web Design Assessment Now

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Greg Sherwood is CEO of DBC Digital, a marketing agency based in Denver, Colorado.  With over 30 years of marketing experience with traditional and inbound (internet) marketing, Greg helps mid-sized businesses get a better return on their marketing dollars.  

You can reach Greg at (303) 357-5757 or at dbc@dbcdigital.com

The New Business Website: Where Less is More

 

The New Business Website Header

Despite the trappings of free social media profiles, most businesses still recognize the value of having a dedicated online space to call their home. A business website is a good central resource to which businesses and other professional listings can direct consumers. And in an age when content is a major driver of website traffic -- and, in turn, sales opportunities -- it pays dividends to have a home where you can continually roll out new articles, blog posts and other useful content.

Given these conditions, business websites are in no threat of going extinct. But certain factors are driving their evolution. As mobile devices become more prevalent, they're shaping how we conceptualize and develop websites, and even changing the technology and software that forms the foundation for these digital storefronts. More and more, this is leading to slick, minimalist designs that value quality, brevity and cleanliness.

To remain relevant and appealing to the modern-day consumer, businesses will want to reconsider their current website design, particularly as it relates to new trends in website construction and specific interactive features. As these trends take hold among the masses, reluctant organizations will feel a gradual sting for continually shrugging off innovation. Here are four design elements you should keep in mind when considering a business website redesign.

Fewer, and larger navigation tools, with no more drop-down menus

Websites have long been valued for their information storage capacity -- between drop-downDrop Down Menu menus, toolbars both vertical and horizontal, and site maps to help site visitors easily track down the page they're looking for, many companies have felt pressure to fill up this infinite space with all manner of information.

Those days are dead and gone. Consumers don't want to wade through a web page's offerings in hopes of stumbling across what they want. In fact, many consumers bristle at a mass of toolbar options displayed on the first page. And because many consumers are visiting websites from their smartphones or tablet devices, these small navigation options actually inhibit site browsing, rather than encouraging it.

With that in mind, businesses should work to keep navigation options to the bare minimum. Navigation buttons -- along with other interactive elements -- should be larger to accommodate both the mouse cursor and the touch-screen device. Embrace larger fonts complimented by a minimalist design to make your site as user-friendly as possible.

Social integration

Users are more likely to follow your business through various social profiles you've established. These should be highlighted on your website. You can either install widgets promoting your recent activity on these sites, or you can simply install linked buttons that connect directly to your social profiles. This essentially works as cross-promotion between your website and social profiles, building through one another and converting site visitors into lasting connections.

Clean, scalable designs

The best design response to multi-device optimization is a new development solution known as responsive design. Responsive design eliminates the need for multiple versions of your website by creating a single, scalable web design that will fit smartphones as easily as it fits desktop computers. Once you've set up your responsive design website, users can get a similar user experience -- and enjoy the same functionality and navigation -- regardless of the device they're using at the time. Responsive design can also reduce maintenance demands over time, in addition to a range of benefits affecting your SEO and average page load time. It's a big transition, but one that will have staying power for years to come.

Streamlined checkout processes

checkout darkMany businesses set up their websites to serve as virtual points of sale. But online checkout and purchasing processes can be very tricky when it comes to coaxing the consumer all the way through to a complete transaction. Once again, this requires an accommodation of the impatient consumer: businesses should work to eliminate as many steps in the purchasing process as possible. Even condensing from three pages of checkout processing to two can make a big difference in terms of your total sales -- consumers have fewer opportunities to second-guess themselves, making a final sale more likely. The trick is to simplify this process without affecting security -- consumer protection and security is always the most important consideration.

If you're looking for a Denver inbound marketing firm to help you implement this new design approach, don't delay in giving your customers a better online product. Contact DBC Digital for more information on how to effectively target today's online consumer.

Get a Free Web Design Assessment Now

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Greg Sherwood is CEO of DBC Digital, a marketing agency based in Denver, Colorado.  With over 30 years of marketing experience with traditional and inbound (internet) marketing, Greg helps mid-sized businesses get a better return on their marketing dollars.  

You can reach Greg at (303) 357-5757 or at dbc@dbcdigital.com

Build a Digital Strategy From a Traditional Marketing Template

 

3 Ways Digital Strategy Header

For decades, the established best practices for marketers remained the same. Mediums like television, radio and print all saw fluctuations in their value, but for the most part the rules and marketing templates used remained consistent as advertisers sought to reach the masses and relate to them.

The Internet is a different landscape altogether. Marketers who have applied traditional approaches to this new medium have learned the hard way about the inefficiencies that such methods create. In some cases, it almost seems as if what works through digital media is the opposite of the tried-and-true approaches of traditional strategy.

But that doesn't mean traditional marketers have to hang up their cleats and walk away from the game. In some ways, digital strategy can be developed as an evolution of traditional templates. It's all a matter of understanding marketing's digital economy and how consumers are influenced online.

Once you understand the unique breed of the digital consumer, the strategies used to excel online will seem simple, logical, even advantageous over traditional methods. Here are four key points to consider as you adopt a digital approach.

Aim for quality, not quantity, in reach

Traditional marketing is all about reach: Getting ads out in front of as many consumers as possible. The cost of ads is priced accordingly. But reach online has become an outdated notion as targeting tools allow businesses to refine their approach. Instead of blasting an ad out to X number of consumers, and hoping some of them respond and make a purchase, you can filter your ad exposures based on indicators and other information, including demographics and location, so that ads only target quality individuals -- those considered more likely to make a purchase.

quality blocks1Thus, total reach has no value online. Instead, businesses want to be selective when choosing who to advertise to online. By using discretion and valuing quality over quantity, conversion rates can increase and your return-on-investment will be greater.

Embrace the ability to adjust and refine

Traditional marketing campaigns are developed and then released into the wild: Marketing departments wait in anticipation to see whether their latest campaign is a hit or a miss. It can feel a bit like gambling because even the best marketers can miss the mark and fail to connect with consumers, resulting in a poor performance from that campaign.

Digital marketers can be subject to the same inconsistencies when it comes to developing a campaign, but they have tools to bail them out in the form of analytics engines. Because no campaign is ever perfect right from the start, digital marketing allows analytics to evaluate the results of campaigns as they occur. If performance is falling below expectations, analytics tools can offer insight into why that might be happening -- what techniques or marketing materials aren't working, which consumers aren't engaging the materials, etc. This way, marketers can make instant adjustments that change the strategy and lead to better campaign results in real-time.

Let computers do some of the dirty work

Analytics tools are just one way computers are improving digital marketing. Digital targetingemail overload101 tools are effective in identifying the best types of consumers to target based on a variety of information, including past online behavior. Similarly, keyword research tools and ad pricing tools, including mobile bid adjustments, can be integral in fine-tuning strategy while increasing efficiency and your per-ad cost. This will produce greater returns on your investment, stretching your digital marketing dollars and increasing ad relevance.

Of course, there's still a place for traditional marketing, and you don't have to scrap those practices just to take on digital opportunities. Whether you are solely focused on digital commerce or want to integrate digital and traditional strategies with one another, seek out a Denver inbound marketing firm with experience on both sides. Contact DBC Digital today to learn about how you can bring your marketing practices up to speed with your competitors.

Get a Free Web Design Assessment Now

12fe808

Greg Sherwood is CEO of DBC Digital, a marketing agency based in Denver, Colorado.  With over 30 years of marketing experience with traditional and inbound (internet) marketing, Greg helps mid-sized businesses get a better return on their marketing dollars.  

You can reach Greg at (303) 357-5757 or at dbc@dbcdigital.com

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