Becki: “So Nate. I need a favor. Our traffic numbers are dismal on the site – the boss wants to add a new article section to try to drive more search traffic. Can you help me get a new section up? I need it by next week for sure. Nate: “Sure thing, I just need to know how this fits into priorities.” Becki: “Well, it’s my top priority now.” Nate: “Yep, but John in HR needs me to set up two new computers for new hires and Deb in Sales needs a changes to the CRM and finance is having a major issue with the invoice system. Let’s discuss this in the next prioritization review.” Becki: “But that’s 2 weeks away.”
Becki: “Hey Nate. I’ve got to put up a page about our new product – my VP just decided to send out the press release early so I’ve got to get it up by end of day.” Nate: “Uh, the exchange server is down right now. Becki – I can’t really deal with that – let’s talk tomorrow ok.” Becki: “But I need it up today, seriously VP’s are going to freak out if it’s not done.” Nate: “VPs are going to freak out a lot more if they don’t get any e-mails for the next 2 days.”
These scenarios are not unique – it’s happening in just about every business we work with right now. And, really, both sides have great arguments. Marketing needs to be able to react quickly – to industry changes, to Google’s whims, to new social media tools. You name it. And IT has an overload of requests, and every single one of them is a top priority. The thing is, there are ways to make this a little easier.
Though you may not end up embracing each other – IT and marketing can work really well together if the proper technology is in place to support marketing needs and IT’s needs.
But first – we have to understand what’s coming. Historically, this is what we think of when we think marketing. Creative folks. Thinking of campaigns. Listening to creative pitches.
Right. They’re working on TV and radio. Maybe a little direct mail. PR. It’s been about pushing our message out in a variety of mediums to try to get the attention of our end consumer.
I 'm hesitating to use that word publisher, by the way, because to many of you it implies the production of books, magazines, or the like. Most businesses don't have a lot of experience with publishing, nor do they see themselves as publishers. Rather, they are in the business of whatever they are in the business of (selling software, or services, or what have you). But when we say that businesses are becoming publishers, we 're referring not to the process of putting ink to paper or printing and binding books but to the notion that creating and delivering relevant, valuable information to people will drive new business to you. Figuring out what your prospective customers are interested in, creating stuff that meets those needs, and delivering it to them is what you need to do. And that, by the way, is exactly what publishers do.
The New Rules of Marketing & PR t 's both efficient and increasingly imperative that companies create online content as a cornerstone of their marketing: You know this…. 1. The notion of marketing to your customers by interrupting them repeatedly with advertising or other marketing messages is simply not enough any more. Creating brand awareness through buying mass media or begging some attention from the newspapers, magazines, or other media that cover your market is selling your brand short. In other words: The rules have changed.
And really, you don’t have much of a choice here. 1,531 HubSpot customers (mostly small- and medium-sized businesses). The data was crystal clear: Companies that blog have far better marketing results. Specifically, the average company that blogs has: 55% more visitors
I n bound links critical: signal authority to search engines , thus increasing your chances of getting found in those search engines.
Why are indexed pages important? The more pages you have on your site, the more chances you have of getting found in search engines .
And what does it mean in the end? More content. A lot more content. In tons of different formats. More often. Companies are creating editorial calendars, they’re publishing at a rapid pace to provide good, meaningful and timely information to their customers. And they’re doing this in a lot of places. Often times because they don’t have the technology to support adding new content to their main site. They end up using ‘rented land’ to post valuable information – like mini-blogs on Facebook or videos on YouTube.
Here’s the thing – we’ve sold a lot of content management and ecommerce licenses to a lot of different brands, non-profit organizations and government agencies. And, we do our best to make sure we’re a good fit. We see that often times, the folks in marketing rely on IT to determine this – they’re expected to evaluate the product and the underlying technology. Marketing pays some attention – but they often care more about design capabilities or client lists than the technology they’re going to have to live with for years to come. So the following are some key pieces of functionality that we think any CMS should have. Some of it is basic, some of it isn’t – but regardless, it’s all necessary if you want a tool that enables publishing but doesn’t require your resources. So whether you’re on the marketing side of the house with me or over in IT, here are some key things to consider when selecting a web management platform.
We’ve been through this a few times. Brands, Government Agencies, Non-profits – you name it, they recognize the need to start publishing content. But all too often, that’s limited to starting up some random Wordpress blog and calling it a day. Yes – your marketing teams need to make a big commitment here. But so do you. Giving them a blog isn’t going to cut it anymore. Businesses that have a site that provides an experience that’s memorable and drives engagement are the ones who are going to succeed long term. So it’s up to you to make this a priority and give your marketing team the ability to manage their Websites like editors manage their publications.
It’s about real capabilities that will make a difference in your marketing efforts. And often, the big enterprise systems don’t have the base functionality that low-end, low-functionality tools have. Don’t make assumptions here – just because Wordpress does it, doesn’t mean the big CMS guys will.
Ok. So we might not recommend Miss Cleo’s variety of Direct Response – but we all know that immediate, timely marketing is the name of the game now. And e-mail is fast becoming our best option here – especially when we can integrate into behavior on the system. But, all too often marketers separate the 2 – they’ll have a web site system and an entirely separate email system…and guess what, when they want to integrate and send triggered e-mails it’s pretty costly or, more often than not, impossible. When selecting a tool, it’s critical that you don’t forget this need – when a user completes an action on your site, you need to respond – and a system that handles this seamlessly is a must.
And this just points to another strong marketing tactic that all too often is overlooked. The idea of a separate landing page management tool seriously boggles my mind. Any CMS should give you the freedom to do this – a flexible landing page template means you can create a dynamic – and more importantly – relevant experience. Ultimately, it’s remembering that a web platform isn’t about building out a homepage and managing your content libraries – yes, it needs to do those things. But it also needs to enable marketing to respond quickly and effectively to customers and provide relevant experiences to attract them.
This seems like such a no-brainer, but there are very few websites that think through this properly. If a user comes and engages in content on your site – don’t leave them wondering what to do next. Surface related whitepapers, case studies, articles, etc… Now. Part of the reason this is probably not done so often is because, well, it’s hard. So have the system do it for you. Categorize your content with a simple taxonomy that helps you surface good stuff that keeps your users going down the path to conversion.
Segmentation is where we’re headed. And, generating a specific experience based on that segment is not only desired, it’s expected. What’s challenging, though, is we often deliver related content based off where the user is at rather than what the user has done. But the latter is the gold of marketing, right? It’s not just important to make sure you’re delivering related products or content based on what the user is looking at. It’s about delivering related information based on all of the information you know about that user – their region, the search term they used to get to the site, their previous behavior. This is key – and again, it’s something that few systems can handle – but it’s really becoming an expected experience. Related information is not about the attributes of the page. It’s about the attributes of the user.
So here’s is a very simplified example. Let’s say you sell shoes. And let’s say you have a system that can intelligently bucket users into groups based on how they arrived. Again, this isn’t about where they are, it’s about WHO they are. So then, as those users navigate through the site, you can continue to maintain relevancy based on WHO they are. Surfacing related articles, products connected to that search term is just one simple way to maintain an experience based on the user, not the page.
How could we possibly have a presentation without mentioning smartphones and tablets? Over 68M consumers made at least 1 purchase on their mobile phone this year, and that numbers continues to sky-rocket. Websites absolutely HAVE to be proactive here, providing an experience that is strong across all these platforms. But that can be tough. It’s not about having 4 different sites. It’s about having a single system to manage all of your content. And, when appropriate, it may be about having a single site that simply responds based on the user’s browser width.
This is one example of responsive design. This is literally the same website, but the experience changes based on where I’m viewing it. Though this may not relate 100% with the web platform you select, it absolutely is something you should ensure it can support.
Make sure your marketing staff can easily understand how well their different campaigns are doing. This isn’t simply traffic referrers – it’s about tracking and understanding the impact of different campaigns on your business. Sure – you want to understand how your Facebook or Twitter or Mobile traffic is performing. That’s easy. That’s expected. BUT, it’s more critical to understand how your ‘Where’s the Beef’ or ‘Eat Mor Chikin’ campaigns are doing. Is it resonating? Is it working? Is it converting?
And to take it one step further … it’s being able to look at a single goal – identifying the most successful campaigns driving toward that goal and digging deeper to understand the specific efforts driving to success. It’s about pulling and moving the levers. About spending more on those items driving toward your goal. Understanding where to focus your efforts, your time and your energy. This needs to be easy – and a platform that easily integrates content and data is at the center of this. Marketers need to be able to quickly understand what is working and isn’t working as it relates to their goal, adjust on-site content, alter off-site campaigns, rinse, repeat.
And here we have it. Our top 10 recommendations to consider when looking for a web management platform – to make sure you’re driving toward user engagement but you have all the basics addressed as well.
10 Tips to Make Sure Your Web Technology Supports Your Marketing Strategy Becki Dilworth Vice President of Digital Strategy Bridgeline Digital Nate Barad Product Manager Bridgeline Digital
An Introduction. This is Nate. The IT guy. He’s busy. He has to keep the network up. He has to monitor EVERYTHING. He has to troubleshoot EVERYONE’s computer. He has to enhance the CRM. He has to help the CEO use print screen.
An Introduction. This is Becki. She’s the marketing chick. She’s busy too. She has to figure out what to do with Twitter. And Facebook. And, what’s this? Google +? Seriously? Oh. And write the press releases. And maintain the Web site. And send out the newsletters.
Now… Marketers are publishers. The Rules Have Changed.
No. It’s True. But…we are not in the business of publishing.
The Rules Have Changed. Prior to the web, organizations had only two significant choices to attract attention: buy expensive advertising or get third-party ink from the media. But the web has changed the rules . ” - David Meerman Scott “
#2: Have a Foundation User-friendly interface to add new pages and content. Menu management: Deciding what pages go where, what pages display and what pages don’t. Real WYSIWYG: Separating content management from the front-end won’t cut it. Give them the ability to add pages, add sections, add content, add photos. Shared content library: Update content once, change it everywhere it’s used. Intelligent SEO: Change the location of a page? Auto 301 redirect it to the new location.
#2: Have a Foundation Controlled Template Environment. Non-constrained design can be, well, chaotic.
#2: Have a Foundation Simple role management. Controlled access and publishing rights. Who can create content? Who can create e-mails? Who can publish content? Who can send e-mails? Do different SBUs need restricted access?
#2: Have a Foundation Flexible workflow. Multiple levels of approval – that you customize. Easily.
#3: Minimize Integration Points Guess what. They want it all. Work to store user data in one place. Avoid having your landing page content in one system, your site content in another, your blog content in another, your e-mail content in another. Email Marketing. Social Media Tracking. Site Analytics. Lead Nurturing. eCommerce Management. Landing page development. Blog post integration Microsite development. Salesforce integration
#4: Don’t forget the details It’s not just about fancy WYSIWYGs. Can you edit your URL? Are title tags unique and automatically generated? AND, can you overwrite them easily? How about meta data? Is it automated? Unique? Editable? Does your XML Sitemap update on it’s own? Can you edit product attributes easily? Can you create new user forms and surveys?
#5: Make data accessible. (and, more importantly, actionable)
#5: Make data accessible Analytics is more than just numbers. Make sure all of the core stats are easily available. Traffic sources. Top pages. Top sections. User Scenarios. Goals. BUT, core stats aren’t where it should end. Can you use site stats to provide segmented experiences? Do you have to add tags every time you add a page? Do you need development to add tracking for new goals?
#6: A site doesn’t stop at the homepage. (or start, for that matter)
#6: Move beyond the homepage Direct-Response Marketing. (Yeah. It’s back. And it’s the FUTURE.) Monthly newsletters aren’t going to cut it anymore. Integrated e-mail with your platform is key – triggered response based on behavior on the site. Separate systems means limited functionality OR painful integration.
#6: Move beyond the homepage Landing page management. The homepage isn’t the first page visitors experience anymore. Can your marketing team easily create new landing pages that drive toward specific success metrics? Consider flexible design, flexible URLs and flexible calls to action. Oh. And make sure they can track it too.
#7: Build momentum Automate ‘What’s Next’. Don’t leave your user’s wondering what’s next. But don’t depend on staff to tell them either. Automate relevant, related material to drive toward your goal.
#8: Individualize the experience. (yep, we’re getting personal now)
#8: Individualize the experience Segmenting experience and data. Marketing wants to deliver unique experiences that are meaningful to all of their target audiences. Make sure the marketing team can easily add and edit new audience segments – and deliver experiences specific to those segments. New user? From Europe? Previous purchaser? Cart abandoner? Searching for ‘jogging shoes.’ Whatever the segment – make sure your system can personalize the experience.
#8: Individualize the experience Segmenting experience and data. Search for ‘jogging shoes’ Search for ‘business loafers’ Search for ‘beach sandals’ Multiple page visit Helping your knees and feet when you run Comfortable travel shoes for business execs 3 shoes to bring to your vacation Entry search term Experience Maintain relevancy
#9: Respond to your user. (no matter when they might need you)
#9: Respond to your user Build an experience that reacts. Building three different sites isn’t realistic – on your budget or your timelines. But, you can’t ignore them. iPhone. Android. iPad. Tablets. Blackberry. Ensure your system allows for cross platform content management and catalog administration. Consider responsive design – a single site that delivers a meaningful experience based on the browser width.
#9: Respond to your user Build an experience that reacts.
#10: Manage campaigns. Not sources. (it’s a shift, a big shift)
#10: Manage campaigns, not sources Campaigns have a lot more tails.
#10: Manage campaigns, not sources And, even the most creative campaigns share one thing. Social. Facebook. Twitter. Linked’In. E-mail. Paid Search. Organic Search. Banner Ads. Re-Targeting. CPA. Rich Media. Facebook ads.
In Summary 1: Make a commitment 2: Have a foundation 3: Minimize integration points 4: Don’t forget the details 5: Make data accessible 6: Move beyond the homepage 7: Build momentum 8: Individualize the experience 9: Respond to your user 10: Manage campaigns, not sources
Q&A Contact Information Becki Dilworth Vice President of Digital Strategy [email_address] @beckidilworth Nate Barad Product Manager [email_address] www.bridgelinedigital.com blog.bridgelinedigital.com @bridgeline