Let’s start with your corporate homepage which should be the repository where your customers can find everything around your services, philosophy, etc.
Almost all companies – if small or large business – are present online. Do the websites follow the last market requirements? Is online marketing a part of the overall cross-channel marketingplan?
It is strongly recommended to review and evaluate a company website twice the year: are there any outdated data? Have all comments been replied, captured? Do you need to adapt the site structure to latest markets trends? Are all your latest and greatest services online?
Generally spoken it’s all about content that attracts the target audience and represents the corporate position. Following some sample questions that will help you to launch a long-lasting but flexible website:
All these questions will help you to establish a long-term, stable website while being enabled to react immediately on market changes. Ideally these questions have already been answered by your company strategy and corporate communication plan.
It is essential to define clear goals as those will have impact on your website content, structure and layout. E.g. if you are looking for awareness you might want to start with a smaller website introducing your company, the corporate philosophy, the differentiator, etc.
While when you are already focusing on direct sales opportunities you need to focus on contact forms, product descriptions etc.
A thought leadership site will be strong with external statements, guest blog articles, etc.
Interaction and discussion are strong viral marketing tools to be industrialized through Social Media.
Social Media must be part of every cross-channel marketing plan. The kind of social media you’re going to use must be defined by your online business objectives. E.g. Instagram and Pinterest can be efficient channels for target audiences around the age of 18-24. LinkedIn, Xing, Twitter are for professional topics such as product news etc. You also might want to think about LinkedIn and Twitter if you are targeting an international customer audience.
Your online language is following your corporate language but also your target audiences’ wording. Both must match but be also authentic.
To find the right language you need to prepare and develop a holistic content strategy. Stay tuned for another blog post only around this topic.
Every offline activity must link to your online presence to provide further information, to enable interactions, etc. Your strategy defines if sales should be completed either online or offline.
When I started with internet marketing in 1995, everything was brand new. Companies started to think about the internet but more from a technology developers perspective than for marketing or sales. The company I was working for at that time already noticed the impact of that new media. As one of the first I rolled-out an on-site internet café for their employees, management, clients and journalists. I trained all these different groups on how to use the internet and to read its’ specialities. After a while the internet became more popular, especially by individuals who took the advantage of the easy way to create a personal homepage and get virtually connected with others. Companies started their own web presences but the pace they followed was dependent on their home country. Approximately 5 years ago the meaning of digital marketing changed from an ad-hoc silo channel to an integrated part of the standard marketing plan.
Today online and offline marketing is connected as one and therefore has become much more complex than in the past. Read my blog “New marketing world” to see what that means for today’s marketing experts.
Even those companies with a prominent web and market presence lack in holistic cross-channel marketing. See IKEA as sample who just promoted their new digital family card. Customers received that announcement via email with a call-to-action to click on an embedded link to visit the registration page. On that page they are asked to open a specific URL via their smartphone to finally get the digital card on their smartphone.
It’s pretty reasonable that with this extra step, quite a lot customers might not finish that process or at least need to spend more time on it than necessary. The general idea of digitizing the card is great and follows the current trend of transformation. However, customer experience could have been optimized. In this case IKEA could have embedded the call-to-action directly in the email. IKEA could have won the first price if they would have embedded a QR code in that same email so that customers could have opened the registration landing page directly on the appropriate mobile device.
What do you think about cross-channel marketing? Is your online presence already connected to your company goals and marketing strategies? Do you already live cross-channel or does that practical example sound familiar to you?
Share your experiences. I’m looking forward to your feedback.