In 2017, we all want balance.
Work–life balance. Kale–ice cream balance. Email marketing–social media marketing balance.
This elusive state is so appealing (and often deemed unachievable) because it negates any form of sacrifice. But what if you really could have your cake and eat it too? What if you could build a smart marketing plan that sometimes favored Facebook but other times email?
Now you can—with integrated marketing.
This marketing approach, as discussed in the 2017 Digital Trends Report, seamlessly combines all forms of brand communication to create a fluid experience for your audience. Warning: This is not too good to be true. Start shifting away from multi-channel messaging and move toward integrated digital marketing with these three actions:
Draw Up a Smart Game Plan
Do you think Tom Brady went into the final possession of the Super Bowl without a strategy? (Well, maybe… but we can’t all be Tom Brady.) Successful marketing integration requires thoughtful planning upfront. When you sit down with your team to hash out the details, address these five points:
Who – Who are you targeting? This is not a time for generalization or vague demographics—your audience will influence the entire campaign strategy.
How – How will you reach this audience? A thorough analysis will help you hone in on the specific channel(s) your audience frequents. Prioritize them accordingly.
What – What will you say? Determine the tone of your content (or even write it all out) so you have a strong grasp of campaign messaging. Note: Be flexible in your execution. Content will always need to be adjusted based on extraneous circumstances, like that hilarious new meme.
Goals – Want to increase awareness by 15%? Increase CTR by 20%? Put those goals in writing.
Budget – How much will this campaign cost? Remember to include room for unforeseen circumstances.
If you want your campaign to succeed, don’t hit the ground running too soon. That onset planning will help you knock those goals out of the park.
Put Your Channels to the Test
From email and digital advertising to social media and mobile marketing—no one channel fits all campaigns. Now that you’ve determined your overall plan, it’s time to track how those individual channels are performing. Make sure you install proper analytics so you can understand the hows and whys behind your outcomes. Then, take note of these KPIs:
Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) – Which channels generate the highest ROI? CPA measures both the cost to acquire a customer and the revenue impact. By installing a pixel to track customer behavior, CPA answers the question “how much do I need to spend to get a paying customer?”
Click-through-rate (CTR) – Which channels had the highest percentage of people click on a link or advertisement? CTR determines how appealing your ad is to the public. If there is a large discrepancy between CTR and overall conversions, your ad may be misleading, attracting the wrong customers or (most likely) there’s something hindering the checkout process.
Cost-Per-Click (CPC) – Which channels result in the lowest cost per click? When it’s not possible to track conversions (i.e. your customers are making offline purchases, or you can’t set up the pixel to track them), CPC is your slightly less-informative stand-in for CPA.
Customer Qualification – Which channels generate the most qualified leads? This is your chance to ensure your efforts are attracting the right customers (hint: abandoned shopping carts are not a good sign). Note: It’s helpful to dive deeper into data and create a solid lead scoring and grading process.
Lead Time – Which channels have the shortest sales process? Minimal lag time within the conversion process means that channel is an efficient means of communication.
After your channels go head to head, adjust your strategy accordingly to maximizing your ROI.
Perfect Your Messaging
Content is still king. Regardless of campaign logistics, your messaging should be consistent across all channels. Although long-form blog posts are a go-to method for conveying information, if your goal is to stay relevant and consistent in the social media landscape, start creating and promoting micro-content.
Micro-content is just that—shorter, smaller, pieces of content like memes, videos, tweets and anything consumed in under 10 seconds. Micro-content facilitates discussion and increases awareness of your other content (or services), so you can maintain a strong digital presence with less effort than in-depth content. Still, this strategy requires creative designs and clever copywriting to effectively convey your message. Make the most of your micro-content by following these tips per channel:
Facebook – One or two sentences maximum. According to Buffer, Facebook posts with less than 70 characters receive more engagement than lengthier posts. Also, because the general public doesn’t comes to Facebook for text updates anymore (you know it’s true), invest some time designing the visual support. In return, you can see an 87% engagement rate.
Twitter – Include an image link—or better a GIF. Tweets with images receive double the engagement as those without them. Taco Bell consistently tweets and re-tweets both images and GIFs and, let’s be honest, we love them for it.
Tag a friend that needs this in their life. pic.twitter.com/dFnsHGJ0AE
— Taco Bell (@tacobell) February 17, 2017
Instagram – Post people-centric content. Don’t create a static feed of product images. Rather, show your product in action and humanize your brand. Please, add some emotion (or even the smirking face emoji) to your captions!
Video – Use custom thumbnails. Unfortunately, people still judge books (and videos) by their covers. In order to entice your audience to view your dynamic content, use a compelling image for a thumbnail. If you need another incentive: 90% of the best-performing YouTube videos have a custom thumbnail.
Remember: Less is more. Pack a punch with your headlines, seal the deal with your captions and save the long essay for your website.
You can—and will—have the best of both worlds in 2017. Break away from the omnichannel approach and blend your efforts to create one unstoppable, yet always adaptable, marketing force.