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3 Secrets for Becoming More Relevant in Your Digital Marketing

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by: Ellen Valentine (@EllenValentine)
12 November 2014

When I meet with marketing teams, with everyone from executives to digital marketing specialists, they are almost always under some kind of pressure to produce results and improve their marketing metrics. They are working long hours to get things “out the door” and often, under a crush of obligations, lose sight of the customer.  

Usually, when I sit down with these marketing teams to see what they are actually communicating to their customers and prospects, I see a relentless focus on products, services, and what marketers want to say and sell. So, it’s all too common to lose sight of addressing the customer’s needs. This is true across channels, including company websites, emails and other marketing tactics.  

So, if you think this situation applies to you, keep reading! It’s time to refocus on what matters, stripping down communications to the bare essentials. Essentially, it’s time to be relevant – closely connecting your marketing messages and content to your customers and prospects. Relevancy is the one-word litmus test that you must apply to everything you do. Ask yourself, “Is what I am about to launch relevant, closely connected and appropriate to each recipient?” 

Now, how do you become relevant in everything you do? The answer is easier than it may seem: strip away everything that's unnecessary or doesn’t pertain to the customer or prospect. Take away everything unnecessary on your websites, in your emails and in any other direct communications. Simply say what is essential to each person.  

Some of you might be saying, “I definitely get the concept. But how can I possibly do that?” I outline three steps below: 

1) Become a Data-driven Communicator

The only way to move from batch-and-blast emails and one-size-fits-all websites is to apply what you learn from your prospects and customers and use the data you’ve collected to personalize your messages. For example, if I've indicated that I rent rather than own my home, don’t send me any emails about homeowner’s insurance. Additionally, don’t provide lengthy information on my website about the products that only a homeowner would purchase. Instead, tell me about the new benefits of the umbrella renter’s policies.  

You can achieve this level of sophistication by asking questions/preferences on a Web form, landing page or pop-over window on your company website. Or, you can implicitly profile me if I navigate to a page about rental insurance. Once that question is answered, store that information in your digital marketing database and use it to construct rules about what's communicated and when. Use that information to only show me rental policy details on your website, for example. Of course, a good website would also include a place where I can update my information when I become a homeowner, but until then, the website is stripped of all the unnecessary details for products and services that don’t apply to me. 

2) Use Behaviors to Drive the Majority of Your Messages

The second way to become more relevant communicators is to reduce the percentage of push messages, which are typically the emails you have pre-scheduled on your marketing calendar.  

These include promotions, new product announcements, company news and more. Let’s face it, these messages are usually all about you and your company – what you have to sell, and what you want to communicate. We’re all guilty of it. We send these messages out and hope that the customer opens, finds them interesting and takes actions like filling out a “contact us” request or putting something in a shopping cart. The ugly truth, however, is these hope-based messages aren't very relevant communications for the recipients.  

As both a consumer and business professional, you know that if you get too many of these one-sided messages, you eventually tune out the brand and maybe never open their emails again. And remember, for every website visitor or email recipient that forever tunes you out, you have to go find another prospect to add to your list.   

3) Position Your Brand as a Concierge

Try to make the majority of your communications behavior-based, triggered messages. Respond with a helpful email if someone visits a product page but doesn't take the next desired step, send an abandoned cart reminder, follow up to ask how the video was that a prospect just viewed and if he/she has any questions. I like to refer to these types of communications as “concierge messages.”   

Concierge messages are only sent when behavioral rules that you have established are met. They are helpful, relevant and highly engaging. The more of these rule-based, triggered, relevant messages you can send, the longer your customer will stay engaged with what you have to say.

Strive to adopt this approach. Relevancy needs to be at the core of all communication strategies – exercising restraint with every email sent and every website content block, asking each time if it's relevant to the customer. Only when you do this will you continue to have customers and prospects that are happily engaged for an extended period of time. 

Related Resources:

1) White Paper: Ultimate Guide to Assessing Your Digital Marketing Program

2) Blog: 7 Strategies for Staying Ahead of the Marketing Pack

3) Blog: Behavioral Data: The Greatest Untapped Marketing Asset


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