Thursday, March 19, 2015

Which is Better, Email or Social Media?

AdWeek ran a recent post questioning whether email has lost ground to social networks, instant messaging, and mobile-messaging apps.  Evidence from recent market research says that social media is additive to email as a means of reaching and engaging with potential customers.  And, email is still significantly more effective at acquiring customers than social media, according to McKinsey & Company research. 

Email marketing not only continues to play a significant role in the B2B marketing mix, our expectations of it continue to grow.  With effective email marketing, and the advent of integrated CRM and marketing automation tools, marketers can build a brand following, improve open rates, increase reader engagement, and move them along to become customers and enthusiastic recommenders of a product or service.

Email is an integral touch point in the customer relationship for the majority of marketers.  In the Salesforce marketing cloud 2015 State of Marketing survey, 73% agree that email marketing is core to their business. Sixty percent of marketers in the 2015 survey said that email is a critical enabler of products and services, vs. 42% of marketers who held that sentiment in 2014.  The growing importance of email may be in part due to its convenience.  Rampant growth in the use of smartphones – offering essentially an inbox in your pocket – has made email ubiquitous.
Sending email marketing messages to a qualified target that 1) the message is opened and read, and 2) moves the reader to take action is the essential first step.  The fundamentals – message, timing, and audience targeting - still apply.  For a refresher, read Dr. Leslie Garrett’s recent article, Cornerstones of an Effective Email Marketing Campaign

Once your email program is running, establish processes for performance measurement and continuous improvement. Author and business process improvement expert James Harrington said “If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.” 

As practitioners marketers are continuing to learn and use metrics to track email success.  The top three metrics used to track email marketing success, named by the 5,000+ Salesforce survey respondents are click-through rates (47%), conversion rates (43%), and click-to-open rates (38%).  With some relatively simple email testing, you can identify the subject lines and offers that are of greatest interest to your audience.  Strengthening the message and offer will increase open and click-through rates.

Email Marketing Trends in 2015 and beyond: Personalization and Segmentation
Just as we have become accustomed to tracking email metrics, we face new opportunities in the personalization and segmentation of emails. eMarketer predicts that 2015 will be the year for “smart use of data”.  Marketing is increasingly shifting from art to science, with the growing availability of tools to support data-driven decisions. Watch future blog posts here on the new automation tools to support lead scoring, audience segmentation and personalization in email marketing.  May your open rates double in 2015!

Poste by Megan Miller, Edge Legal Marketing

Monday, March 9, 2015

Are You Mobile-Friendly? Prepare for Google’s New Changes in Search

Have you ever selected a Google search result on your phone, and found that the content was too wide for the display, fonts too small or irregular size, and content just painful to read?  It’s likely that web page has not been optimized for viewing on a mobile device.
As marketers, we aspire to understand our audience, know where and how they want information, and to deliver that information at the right time, on the right device.  So if your audience is using mobile phones and tablets to access the internet, you’ll want to be aware of the need to optimize for mobile devices.
Web users in the U.S. now spend the majority of their digital consumption time in mobile applications – more than on desktop computers or mobile web surfing.  Mobile usage on the whole, including web browsing and app usage accounts for 60% of time spent using digital media, with desktop activity making up the remaining 40%.

Mobile-friendly websites in search results

Beginning April 21, 2015, Google will be using mobile-friendly factors in its mobile search results.  This means that a web page that has been optimized to work well on mobile devices will rank higher in search results.  Google said this algorithmic change will have a “significant impact” in the mobile search results, impacting all languages worldwide.  A Google blog post also said “users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

So what’s a ‘mobile-friendly’ web page?

According to Google, a page is eligible for the “mobile-friendly” label if it meets the following criteria as detected by Googlebot:
·        Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
·        Uses text that is readable without zooming
·        Sizes content to the screen so users don't have to scroll horizontally or zoom
·        Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

Content from Indexed Apps to Appear in Search Results

Apps indexed by Google will also benefit from recent changes. Google said that apps that are indexed by Google through App Indexing will begin to rank better in mobile search. Google said this only will work for signed-in users who have the app installed on their mobile devices, which means only Android apps today, but likely to expand to other platforms in the future. Google explained this “may now surface content from indexed apps more prominently in search.”

Why should you care?

Facts about law firms and company legal departments, from the 2014 ILTA Tech Survey show that attorneys in 98% of responding organizations use mobile devices for email or internet access.  So your customers are likely more active on mobile devices than you might have guessed.
Your very brand and reputation are influenced by the web experience you provide to users, especially if, like many Edge Legal Marketing client companies, you are in the technology space.  If a prospect seeking, for example, case management software, should find your website in Google search results, click through and have a frustrating experience on your site, it will reflect poorly on your company and products.  Technology companies are held to a higher standard of quality on the web.

What to do Next

A simple test, if you have not done this, is to visit your website using your mobile device. Navigate many if not all pages, and check the quality of the experience.  Note any problems you see in links, page viewing, or readability.
To get help with making a mobile-friendly site, ask your webmaster to check out Google’s guide to mobile-friendly sitesA person with webmaster level skill can get ready in time for the April change by using the following tools to see how Googlebot views your pages:

·  To test a few pages, you can use the Mobile-Friendly Test.
·   Get a list of mobile usability issues across your site usiing the Mobile Usability Report.
·    You can also see Google’s mobile guidelines

·    If you offer apps, check Google detail on app indexing. Get your app indexed for the best user experience.

Posted by Megan Miller, Edge Legal Marketing