Research. If it won an Oscar, it’d probably be best-supporting actor. In a rock band, it’d most likely be on drums. Or backing vocals. Research is never usually centre stage. We decided to change that.
You may have noticed that it’s been somewhat blustery outside of late. And that most of your recent conversations have included the phrase: “Ooh, it’s a bit nippy today, isn’t it?” Last week, Storm Emma joined forces with the Beast from the East to serve up some of the worst weather the UK has seen for 50 years. Of course, because anything more than a few drops of rain throws our nation into disarray, it goes without saying that our schools, workplaces and transport systems ground to a halt almost immediately. Cue eye-rolling from countries in far colder climes.
But the whole thing got us thinking. In the world of online marketing, what would constitute the perfect storm? And how could you prepare for it? Here, we issue our top three bad-weather warnings and explain how you can protect your brand against them.
This one could trip even the savviest of brands up. Until fairly recently, businesses and marketers alike tackled online marketing on a campaign-by-campaign basis. Combine a catchy strapline, striking visuals, multiple touchpoints and a sprinkling of social, and you’re done – until next time. But not anymore, thanks to always-on marketing. By harnessing the power of digital channels such as landing pages, email and paid media, this strategy keeps prospects engaged at a low level, for a long period of time. Best of all, it’s possible to optimise as you go along. In short, not only can this approach build your brand’s consistency, it can ensure your product or service is there for the customer, long before they decide to buy.
Sure, you’re offering a great product or service that businesses will love. But so are a lot of other organisations. To hone in on receptive audiences and to make sure your brand achieves cut-through, look to research and user testing to shape your strategy. The best part is that you can start taking action almost immediately. For instance, if you’re not doing so already, A/B testing your email campaigns can provide useful insights.
Then there are research-based personas, which can help you understand your prospects’ needs and online behaviour. When it comes to the bigger picture, you could even consider commissioning your own report to gain an industry advantage.
Be careful with those personas we mentioned earlier, though. While prospects can share common traits, each one of them will follow a unique journey to purchase. Tailor your marketing to each individual by being in the right place at the right time. Opting for email and ad re-targeting will ensure your message stays front of mind based on content people have already seen. This can work for both cold prospects and people who look likely to buy. Additionally, sales enablement solutions can help you identify exactly where each prospect is in the consideration process. The result? Your people will gain the knowledge and content they need to hold better sales conversations.
If you take one bit of advice from this article, let it be this: don’t wait for a storm to come your way. Take a step back and assess your online marketing for areas of weakness. And then batten down the hatches so you don’t end up like Britain in the snow.