Earned Media

In class we had a look at the benefits, challenges and the role of Earned Media.

I think most smaller business’s have had to make huge cuts in their marketing and advertising budgets and as a result are looking more to earned media for reputation building and awareness. Which is not altogether a bad thing, since it is forms of earned media which customers believe to be most credible and transparent. It does take time and effort however and a huge drawback is it can be negative and you have little or no control of what is said.

One of the tools for earned media we looked at was PR and blogging, which I have some experience in. What we did was send our shirts to a blogger who blogs about products similar to ours and our target market would be included in his following. He had expressed an interest via social media in our products and so we sent him a few items to review.

The chance we took here was that he could have hated our products and really slated us in his review. This is the downside to earned media- I’m leaving the control in his hands. Yes I facilitate him by sending him a product for free but he has every option to be either positive or negative about it. In this case he loved the shirt and has since review two more of our product ranges- all good reviews. The traffic from him his site to ours is continuous and steady, even-though he wrote the reviews months ago new customers are still reading them.

What is clear from this example is that we have spent a fraction of the money we would have spent on advertising but the effect much longer lasting, and I believe because we are not associated with this blogger customers trust his opinion more than ours.

E-Marketing: Measurement

As I mentioned in my previous post I like E-Mail Marketing so much because you can see the results almost immediately. You can do this with the e-marketing system you are using as most will have a tracking code built into each mail.

As soon as the email is sent to your list of contacts you can see immediate results for opening rates and click throughs.

I generally give each email about 48 hours before putting adding this data into a report as the opening rate can increase over time, however it usually decreases drastically after the first 12 hours or so. Usually after 12 hours anyone who is going to will have opened it; for example people who don’t have access to their personal email at work.

Campaign monitor allows me to track the opening rates in numbers and percentage, the click through rates, the specific links the customer clicked on and any unsubscribes from this campaign.

I can also complete A/B testing of email subject lines on some of my contact list to see which performs best. I can then send the better subject line to the remainder of the list.

Data from the email campaigns can help you adjust your campaigns in the future to create better performing emails. Click through and opening rates and newsletter sign ups can all also be used as a Key Performance Indicator within a campaign.

Key Performance Indicators

How do you know a campaign is successful? One of the main questions I have to answer in work is: what Return On Investment will be receive from this type of Marketing Activity?

Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are used to measure if your marketing campaign or ongoing marketing activities are successful. In class we learned about the IAB’s Measurement framework for KPI’s and how they break down the set up of KPI’s. As an example we are running a promotion in work in the lead up to Christmas.

To start selecting the KPI’s for this campaign, I began with intent and setting objectives: the main objective of the promotion is to increase sales in November and December.Of the 4 A’s, the main focus will be on Action as the ultimate success of the campaign will be based on the number of sales. However KPI’s will be assigned to Awareness and Appreciation – sharing of the promotion across social media and online PR will be closely monitored and traffic to the site from these social media sites will be tracked. Advocacy to the brand will also be monitored through tracking repeat sales.The final step is to benchmarking, we have statistics from both previous quarters and from Christmas online sales from last year which we can compare the measurements to, to see if we have reach the objectives assigned.

The KPI’s assigned will show if the campaign reached targets and was successful.

Google Analytics

Google analytics is a tool which can be used to measure traffic and activity on your website. I use it regularly for work and since starting this course have decided on some particular information to pull from to measure performance on our site.  You can also use it for campaign planning (any particular months see a jump in traffic) and keyword research (how are people finding your site now).

There is a lot of information available in the analytics but what I am going to focus on is:

- Visits to the site: measured month by month

- Location of visitors: are we reaching the target markets?

- Traffic Sources: Organic vs our Paid advertising, Social traffic and referral sources (other sites who’ve add a link to us, e.g. clothing bloggers), Direct traffic (brand awareness)

- Keywords: how are people currently finding the site, measure brand awareness

The Google analytics social section in traffic sources mean it’s now much easier for me to access figures on how my activities on social media sites are affecting traffic to the site- which will help me prove to my boss why it is worth continuing to put effort into them.

Some of these analytics I will track month by month, but others will be tracked quarterly.  For 2012 I intend to gather the quarter by quarter information and set goals to reach for 2013 based on this information. As one of our brand is relatively new I will expect to see growth in all the statistics next year.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is a very important part of any digital strategy. You have to know what you customers will be searching for when they are looking online for a product or service. The terms people will use to search are based on what they need and not necessarily what you would call the product.

This week in work I was working on a blog post for suggested Christmas gifts for men, as I began to fill in the keywords associated with post I realised that people searching in Ireland might also look for ‘xmas presents’  as well as ‘christmas gifts’.

The Google Keyword tool will help you with this research. You can select to research in a certain location and the tool will give you global and local monthly searches for the keyword. This is very helpful in my case where I want to specifically target Ireland as a market but also know I have customers in international markets searching for our products.

You will need to know the terms people will be searching when looking for your products for your SEO, PPC, Blog Posts, Newsletter and Social media content.

Search as an Online Marketing Format

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation is one of the most popular formats of online marketing. SEO is also known as Organic or Natural marketing. SEO is when the articles on a webpage are optimised with the relevant keywords and meta tags relevant to the subject of the website. It takes time to implement and to take effect but as part of a long term strategy SEO is very important to a website.

Keyword research is ‘key’ to SEO. You have to know your customer and think how they will try and search something. For example our customers might see a golfer wearing one of our shirts- the colour of the shirt will be one of our fancy colour names like ‘baltic’, ‘sweetpea’ or ‘daffodil’ but what the customer will search are ‘blue’, ‘purple’ or ‘yellow’ and these are the words I should have in my meta keywords in the back-end of the site.

PPC- Pay per Click is a type of advertising offered by search engines. PPC ads are shown in the top three slots and right-side slots of the Search Result Page (SRP).  A brand may use PPC to create general brand awareness and drive traffic to the website- perhaps before their SEO has taken effect or if they have an ongoing campaign.

The position your ad will appear in is based on the CPC, cost per click, you are willing to pay and your Quality Score. Your Quality Score is determined by Google based on your keyword  and landing page content relevance to what the user has searched for and your click through rate for your ad. These combined factors will determine where you rank on the SRP.

Using a system with the quality score seems like a catch 22 but the main aim is to make sure brands create ads which people will want to click on.

Mobile – Mobile search has become increasingly important as more and more users are searching on their mobiles. Mobile specific ads include ‘click to call’ and ‘click to download’ ads. Click to call ads will include the phone number of the business advertising- this way the user doesn’t have to click through the ad to contact the business, they can just call directly. This is useful for businesses such as insurance companies where the customer will have to call them to process a request. The click to download ad would be used by brands who have Apps they want people to download- the customer can download directly with fewer steps to go though.