Marketing Best Practices for 2019 Revealed

 In Reel Results, Strategy

Creative Marketing Alliance (CMA) experts in digital marketing, social media, public relations and content marketing revealed their marketing best practices, which drove ROI for their clients this year.

As businesses head into 2019, consider these best practices to guide and build your marketing communications strategies in the new year, particularly ones that will deliver measurable results. A common trend throughout every marketing best practice is the importance of measurement and delivering ROI, which has been a challenge for marketers. According to the recent Nielsen 2018 CMO Report, only one in four marketers are highly confident they can quantify ROI.

Here are marketing best practices, in addition to marketing practices examples in each of those areas:

Dan Beldowicz, Director of Marketing Services

Digital Marketing

Marketing Best Practice: Test and Measure Everything

Test and measure! If you’re not testing everything you’re doing in digital marketing, then you’re severely missing out on traffic and conversions. When examining digital marketing best practices, test everything from website design, landing pages, headlines, calls-to-action and subject lines to digital advertisements. An increase in traffic and an increase in conversion rate lead to exponential gains.

There are many tools out now to help you understand your metrics on a deeper level, as well as enable you to conduct split/multivariate tests. Tools like HotJar for website performance, Google Optimize for testing and Google Analytics can completely turn a losing campaign into a winner, in just a few days.

In digital marketing measurement, there are only two pieces of information that you’ll be dealing with: traffic and conversions. Whether you’re looking at advertising, pay-per-click, email marketing, websites, landing pages, social media, content marketing, video or anything else, you’ll need to have a handle on the number of people your piece gets in front of (traffic) and the number of people that perform the specific action you intend them to take (conversion).

At each stage of the buyer’s journey and through your marketing funnel, the key to understanding how well your digital marketing is performing, is to accurately track information and ask the following:

  • How well are you currently using Google Analytics to understand where traffic is coming from? What are they doing on your website and across your landing pages?
  • Do you have conversion goals in place?
  • What are your top sources of traffic?
  • What pages are visitors going to most?
  • How well are your forms and calls-to-actions working? How many visitors are contacting you, as a result?

The easiest example of testing and measuring, is to observe a simple funnel of a digital advertisement driving to a landing page. In this case, you would get data from the advertisement as to the number of times it was seen and the number of times someone clicked on it. The number of clicks should correspond to the number of visitors to that landing page. Now that the visitor is on the landing page, you can measure the effectiveness of that page by dividing the number of forms that users filled out by the total number of people that visited the page. This will give you the conversion rate of that landing page. With a baseline understanding, you can then test different elements of the landing page to see how it impacts the number of people that convert on that page.

By utilizing this marketing best practice, CMA delivered digital marketing results for its clients. For Amerlux, a national lighting manufacturer, CMA increased conversion rate by 401.6 percent through a landing page redesign. The agency executed a website redesign for another client, International Card Manufacturers Association (ICMA), a global transaction card association. Results included an 80 percent increase in users and average session duration.

Kelly Potts, Social Media Specialist

Social Media

Marketing Best Practice: Set Goals & Establish Key Performance Indicators

When it comes to social media marketing, an essential best practice is to have a purpose and goal behind each channel your business utilizes. By clearly defining what you hope to achieve on your platforms of choice and having key performance indicators in place for each profile, your business can easily test and measure results, in addition to focusing efforts on the channels and types of posts that have the biggest impact.

Businesses can use this best practice to achieve marketing success by building strategies and testing new ideas, based around each goal. Once you have a sense of what content works well (and what doesn’t), you easily can build out a social media content calendar for consistent posting and develop ideas around specific marketing campaigns to generate leads or sales.

Each business’s goals are going to vary, but one thing that’s always vital is brand awareness. If a business has a goal to increase visibility and brand awareness on social media, it can create branded images or videos that have a consistent look and feel to share company information, industry insights, quotes and more. Once you have some ideas and strategies in place for each goal, test out how they perform on each platform and expand on what works best!

One of CMA’s clients, Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA), has a social media marketing goal of increasing online/in-person event attendance and engagement. ESPA is the only association and voice representing event service professionals from CVBs, hotels and convention centers from across North America. This client, whose top-performing social channel is Twitter, hosts a webinar each month. To enhance the experience for those who tune in (and create a sense of excitement around tuning in to next month’s webinar for those who missed it), CMA began Live Tweeting key takeaways and quotes from the monthly webinar. This gives attendees the chance to join in on the conversation. Often, we find members connecting with each other and discussing their own takeaways, as well. The weeks that CMA Live tweets a webinar, we notice that members look forward to tuning in along with us. Accordingly, there’s a significant increase in impressions and engagements because of it.

Kenneth Hitchner, Content Strategy Director

Public Relations

Marketing Best Practice: Implement Data-Driven Public Relations

When you look ahead to 2019 trends, data-driven public relations will drive earned media and create a richer story for your brand. Public relations is a tool that leverages relationships to build brands, which begs the question, “how much is every one of your relationships worth?” That’s why public relations has lagged behind other marketing tactics, since the beginning of the digital revolution. It’s difficult to connect the dots between the intangible impact of earned media and the final sale. However, in 2019, public relations will finally stake its claim as an integral part of any digital marketing campaign.

Here are some examples of how to transform your next public relations campaign into data-driven results:

  • Next-Level Earned Media

Leveraging statistics is the quickest way to establish credibility. If I told you that CMA generated impressive media attention for its clients, it would sound subjective and self-serving. But if I told you that CMA put one of its clients in the news, on average, every 3.5 hours and in front of 2.5 million targeted individuals every single day, you may say, “Wow, that’s impressive!” See the difference? Most companies create reams of internal reports every month to analyze their operations. Then, they leave money on the table by filing them for posterity in a cabinet or on a server. They don’t realize that a portion of their data, which should be treated as a company asset, could be used to build their company’s reputation. From a business perspective, a better reputation leads to more relationships and more revenue. For example, you could take sales numbers, interject some creativity and end up with a press release that drives leads to your “Locate Your Sales Rep” page.

  • Responsive Owned Media

Once you publish a press release on your owned assets, it becomes like any other content, such as blogs, checklists and guides. In other words, you can collect various data sets that speak to different parts of the sales funnel. For example, “New Visitors” and “Users” metrics can be linked to your brand awareness efforts.  “Pageviews,” “Pageviews per session” and “Bounce Rate” can help you analyze your ability to engage with your target audiences. Number of downloads and visits to specific pages can assist you in tracking conversions.

When it comes to how successful you are at building reputation and relationships, each piece of data tells you a part of the story.

Dan Landau, Content Marketing Specialist

Content Marketing

Marketing Best Practice: Look at the World Through Your Customers Eyes to Maximize Leads

Looking at the world through the eyes of your customers is a great way to consider actionable insights that make products better and creative marketing campaigns stand out. This is one of the most valuable content marketing best practices.

There are two ways to present a product/service: 1) Highlight its features and the ways it outperforms competitors’ offerings. 2) Solve problems for customers.

The first method is selfish and focuses on me and what I’m selling. It’s all about selling widgets and not focused on the customers’ needs. The second way is empathetic, builds relationships with customers and keeps them coming back.

One of my favorite ways to create compelling content is to imagine myself in my target audience’s shoes. Say I’m trying to reach facility managers, I’ll ask myself questions like:

  • What does a great day for Frank the facility manager, look like?
  • What does a really bad day for Frank look like?
  • If X ruins Frank’s day, then how does my product/service solve the problem?

This exercise puts the customer first, rather than my product. When Frank sees that I can solve his problem, he’ll read about my product’s features. To get his attention first, I need to show that I care about him and the problems he faces.

When developing something new, whether it’s a product, marketing strategy or anything else, there are five questions you should ask in the ideation process:

1) Who is your customer? Be as specific as possible about who you want to reach.

2) What is your goal? Inform customers about X? Persuade them to buy Y?

3) What is your best idea to achieve this goal? That is, how will your product or service help your customers?

4) What is your worst idea? What could you do to make a product that hurts customers, instead of helping them?

5) Is your best idea the opposite of your worst? Probably not. Usually our “best” ideas put our needs ahead of our customers’ needs. Our “worst” ideas put our customers front and center.

Typical ideation processes stop at the third step and then they end up missing the mark in some way. The fourth step is the key because it identifies our preconceived notions and helps us get past them. We often think that our product is so great that it must be helpful and surely customers will think it’s absolutely amazing.

The fourth question is where the real insights come in. You would be surprised at how easy it is to become downright diabolical in thinking of ways to hinder and harm people. Once you know how to hurt your customers, then you’ll know how to help them (just do the exact opposite) and develop products that solve the problems customers face. Don’t sell the features of the product. Sell the solution to the customers’ problem.

CMA has been executing this type of program for Amerlux. It developed thematic campaigns around the needs of key audiences. To reach facility managers, CMA created content centered around protecting their buildings, protecting against building fires, selling a lighting upgrade to their boss, increasing employee productivity and ROI with LED lighting and optimizing a building’s performance.

The message was completely different for supermarkets, where it’s critical to have fresh-looking food and increased sales in high-margin departments. The strategy was that it’s not about the lighting products. Instead, it’s about how the lighting solutions solve a grocer’s biggest problems including boosting purchases in supermarkets; answering supermarket shoppers’ single question; achieving the absolute freshest-looking meats, produce and flowers with LEDs; armoring supermarkets from Millennial’s distain; and how delicious lighting powers supermarket restaurants.

Using this customer-focused approach for Amerlux has netted hundreds of qualified leads for the client.

Did you feel that one or more of these marketing best practices could get results for your business in 2019?  Contact us today, to start the conversation.

CMA is an award-winning, full service marketing agency, that builds reputation, relationships and return on investment.

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