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The year 2016 will be known as the beginning of the rise of influencer marketing. In a world where everyone is a minor celebrity through Twitter, YouTube, and blogging, anyone can use their clout to direct their audience and make smaller voices heard.

But what is influencer marketing? And why should small businesses try to harness its power? Here’s your guide to the whats, whys, and hows.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing combines word-of-mouth reviews with celebrity endorsements. Brands work to find a public figure or well-known name within their niche and ask them to talk about their products or engage with their content.

Depending on the company, this can be a low-key (and even free) exercise or a pricey form of marketing. On one end, small non-profits ask local news anchors to promote them — otherwise known as free PR — and B2B bloggers reach out to keynote speakers asking for retweets to their expansive networks. On the other end, some brands are willing to pay thousands of dollars just for one Instagram post from Kim Kardashian or Lindsay Lohan.

Finding a partner to showcase your brand is key, and when it’s done right, your brand can flourish.

Why is Influencer Marketing Beneficial?

Once our clients have a basic understanding of influencer marketing, the follow-up questions are: Will it work for our brand? And Why should we try it? There are many reasons to give it a shot, but here are our top six.

You Expose Your Brand to Larger Audiences

The rise of ad-blockers has led to more companies trying to connect with potential customers on a personal level instead of broadcasting blanket ads. There are two ways to do this: create content on personal platforms like blogs and social media, or promote your content on other influencer platforms.

Content marketers have started using influencers as recruiters for their brands. Your blog might only reach 1,000 people per day, but your influencer’s blog might reach 1,000,000. Even if just 2% of your influencer’s visitors come to your site, you’re still going to triple your audience.

Influencers Prove You’re a Major Player

Many brands use influencer marketing to seem like bigger brands than they actually are. Let’s use the example above, where a blog with a million followers promotes a blog with a thousand. The larger blog’s audience doesn’t know that the smaller channel only gets a thousand visitors daily — and they don’t care. Cool content is cool content, regardless of the audience.

Influencer marketing is ideal for putting your brand on the map and making it stand out. If your brand is good enough for the influencer, then it should be good enough for their audience.

Word-of-Mouth Provides Credibility

Many customers trust word-of-mouth, but it’s also one of the hardest marketing tools to employ. Influencer marketing channels the word-of-mouth benefits without the labor of getting each customer to promote your brand.

The key to finding a successful influencer is picking someone who already lives with your brand and would be a natural fit to represent you. For example, Audrina Patridge announced her pregnancy using a Clear Blue Easy pregnancy test featured on Instagram. The placement was a natural fit because she was expecting and because the majority of her fans are twenty-something women.

The Relationship Creates Better ROI in the Long Run

While some influencer relationships will remain the same (you will always pay through the nose for Kylie Jenner to take a selfie with your product), most niche influencer relationships will have better ROI the longer you work with them.

The first part of the outreach process is always the hardest. Your influencer might not be familiar with your product or content and neither of you is sure if the promotion will be a success, but after a few wins you can form a partnership, and your influencer’s audience will know that they genuinely love the product.

Paid placements should become cheaper as you work with the influencer more (while bulk buying should decrease the price) and organic placements should be easier to acquire over time.

Adweek notes that influencer costs have been rising significantly in the past two years, which means that getting in on the ground floor now can save you thousands in the next six months or a year.

Success Tracking is Easier Than Ever

Google Analytics and other sites like Coremetrics and Omniture can measure every step your audience takes and how they convert. Instead of just measuring exposure in the same way we measure TV and radio ads, we can measure the exact path from the influencer’s site to ours, and track their conversion process.

One of the hardest parts of marketing is constantly allocating and reallocating your budget for the highest ROI, and modern analytics will help with that.

Your Competition is Already Doing It

As of October 2015, 75% of companies reported using influencer marketing as a strategic marketing tool. Of that, 47% considered the channel extremely effective, while 34% thought it was somewhat effective. This means half of your competition is already beating you, and another third is on its way!

How Do I Start?

Once clients are sold on the idea of influencer marketing, the next question is how? We recommend these five quick steps to start testing the influencer waters:

Determine what budget (if any) you can commit to paid partnerships.
Brainstorm an influencer “dream team” of 10-20 people or websites that would ideally promote your products or content.

Get creative with the marketing message! Anyone can hold up a product, but unique messages have more staying power.

Seek out input from the influencer of what worked or didn’t, and collect feedback from both of your audiences on the promotion.

Test, test, test. It’s okay to fail as long as each failure comes with a lesson.

Influencer marketing depends on the spokespeople you choose, but also on the products or services you offer. Remember, Kim Kardashian can try to promote corset trainers all she wants, but if they don’t work, all that influencer marketing has gone to waist.

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/6-reasons-influencer-marketing-beneficial/163866/

Emotional engagement, a leading-indicator of consumer behavior, sales and corporate profitability, is now more difficult for brands to achieve as the key drivers of brand engagement have shifted dramatically toward emotional values according to the majority of the 72 categories surveyed in Brand Keys’ 2016 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI) – the 21st annual survey conducted by Brand Keys, the New York-based brand engagement and customer loyalty research consultancy.

“The consumer engagement process today is more dependent on emotional benefits and values of products than ever,” said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys. As rational attributes have become price-of-entry givens for today’s consumers, emotional values have become more problematic for brands.

“The difficult part is not brand outreach or messaging but how to accurately determine which emotional values a brand should leverage to emotionally engage consumers since they describe how consumers view the category, compare brands and howtheywillengagewithabrand, buy, remainloyalandprofitable. Imagery items and emotional engagement values are not one and the same,” said Passikoff.

Of the 72 categories included in Brand Keys’ 2016 assessments, the 10 with the highest expectations for emotional category values (in parentheses below) – and the brands consumers assessed as best meeting those values – included:

1. Athletic footwear: New Balance/Nike (Personal innovation)
2. Automotive: Hyundai/Ford (My life is always connected)
3. Breakfast bars: Kind/Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain (My tasty lifestyle)
4. Fast-casual restaurants: Panera/Shake Shack (Customization and well-being)
5. Instant messages: WhatsApp (Making my impact)
6. Online retailers: Amazon (Immediate gratification)
7. Online video: Netflix (Always amused, never bored)
8. Smartphones: Apple (I can do anything!)
9. Social networking: Facebook (Personal connectivity and influence)
10. Whiskey: Jack Daniels (My brand is me)

View the complete listing of the 72 categories and the brands which best emotionally engage consumers to learn more.

First-time engagement and loyalty winners

Brands rated Number 1 in their respective categories for the first time included: Lyft, Panera and Shake Shack, Dropbox, ChapStick, Svedka, Kind Breakfast Bars, Omni Hotels, REI and Haagen-Dazs. “As these assessments are based on a brand’s ability to meet customers’ expectations better for key values that drive customer engagement,” said Passikoff, “We’re not surprised to see that brands that do are category leaders and usually more profitable than the competition.”

“If a marketer can increase a brand’s engagement level – particularly the emotional values – they’ll always see positive consumer behavior in the marketplace. Always,” said Passikoff. “Axiomatically, brands that can do that always earn greater market share and are always more profitable than the competition. To succeed, marketers need to accurately answer these questions, ‘What drives my category, what are the emotional engagement values I need to focus on? How can my brand exceed consumer expectations for those emotional values?’ To their detriment, most brands can’t.”

Six new categories

The addition of six new categories – deodorants, file hosting, ice cream, lip balm, ticketing services, whiskey and the return of bottled water and tequila, as well as brand-expansion in several categories, added 83 new brands to the 2016 CLEI survey.

“We’ve seen high consumer interest and strong brand growth in the new categories,” said Passikoff. “And, the increased number of brands appearing in consumers’ consideration sets – 10 new brands alone in the Fast Casual and Quick Serve categories, for example, confirms the category volatility brands that aren’t emotionally engaging consumers face.”

The CLEI brand lists aren’t pre-determined. Consumers tell Brand Keys researchers which brands they actually use; brands must be mentioned enough times to provide a statistically generalizable sample. When consumers mention new brands at a significant level, it’s an indicator that current options do not meet their needs. And when that happens, consumers look to other brands to do that for them. On the emotional and rational sides of the purchase equation, today it’s the emotional side of that equation brands need to concentrate on,” noted Passikoff. “Today the rational stuff is easy. Profitability has become far more difficult.”

Methodology

For the 2016 survey, 42,792 consumers, 18 to 65 years of age from the nine U.S. Census Regions, self-selected the categories in which they are consumers and the brands for which they are top-20 percent customers. Seventy percent were interviewed by phone, 25 percent via face-to-face interviews (to identify and include cellphone-only households), and 5 percent online.

The research technique combines psychological inquiry and statistical analyses, has a test/re-test reliability of 0.93 and provides results generalizable at the 95 percent confidence level. It has been successfully used in B2B and B2C categories in 35 countries.

The output identifies the four behavioral drivers for the category-specific ideal, and identifies the emotional and rational values (and their percent-contribution to engagement) that form the components of each driver. Drivers – and their component values – are category-specific since consumers don’t buy smartphones the same way they buy cosmetics or pizza. The engagement and loyalty assessments measure how well brands meet expectations that consumers hold for each driver that makes up the category-specific ideal.

Source:  http://quirksblog.com/blog/2016/03/10/recent-study-finds-changes-in-brand-engagement/

Categorized in Business Research

Three different marketers, three unique paths to success:

No two businesses are alike. Your products, services, goals, perspective and definition of success are undoubtedly unique. Your marketing should be, too.

So why are so many marketing solutions inflexible and one-size-fits-all? Here at the Bing Network, we’re committed to helping each of our customers — no matter what size or shape — meet their marketing goals.

Search is one of the best places for businesses to find customers. Why? Searchers are people who already have a need, and they’re basically looking for your business to fulfill their need. Achieving marketing success with search is easily attainable. And because we work with all kinds of clients, we know what works and can share best practices from companies like yours.

Unique Perspectives, Personalized Search Marketing Strategies

Our new eBook, Realizing Your Definition of Success, shares the story of three very different marketers looking for flexible tools to help them manage their campaigns, get the most out of their budgets and time, and maybe most important, achieve great return on investment.

For Nick Braun, small business owner of PetInsuranceQuotes.com, digital marketing was an entirely new realm. He was looking to boost awareness of his national pet insurance business in the US, which was a market with little awareness and low adoption of pet insurance in general.
Paid search had long been a core marketing component for 25-year-old French furniture and decoration retailer Alinéa. The company’s in-house e-marketing team had established effective marketing solutions to drive people to its website and promotional offers but were seeking new ways to gain an edge on the competition.

Expert digital marketing agency TinderPoint was focused on securing greater interest across its clients’ websites — clients that include startups, Fortune 250 and FTSE 100 organizations across the globe. Their challenge was finding ways to demonstrate better ROI for a major client, an energy provider for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Bingarticle_Secondary_800X600

Each business looked to gain more reach to specific audiences — whether by age, gender, geographic location or time frame. With Bing Network, each business had access to unique, growing audiences and the tools that made reaching them in the right moment easy.

Regardless of their different perspectives and goals, all three businesses saw success beyond their expectations. With robust solutions and growing access to unique audiences, Bing Network helped them achieve all they set out for and more.

Your business is like no other. Your marketing should be, too. Whether your business is looking to drive awareness, reach a unique audience or enhance the accessibility of your ads, Bing Network provides a range of solutions that make achieving your goals easier than ever.

Source:  http://searchengineland.com/realize-definition-success-ebook-todays-marketers-249893

Categorized in Business Research

Marketing is always about what the consumer needs and wants to hear. If it’s not immediately relevant or interesting, then it’s just annoying. That’s why there’s such widespread use of ad-blocker browser extensions.

According to PageFair, ad blockers were estimated to cost publishers nearly $22 billion in lost revenue in 2015. And that dollar figure will continue to climb: Ad blocking has increased by 41 percent in the last year, with more than 198 million active ad-block users in the world.

In order to stay visible, you need to adapt to growing technology trends and the way consumers prefer to digest relevant information. Look over these eye-opening trends that you can leverage in the coming months.

1. Virtual reality

Virtual Reality has come a long way since the concepts and products released in the '90s. Technology like the Oculus Rift, which was bought out by Facebook to the tune of $2 billion, is going to have a big impact on the way companies engage individual consumers.

Think about the current demand for personalization among consumers and how that can be implemented with a 3D virtual experience. You could quite literally provide your customers with a 360-degree immersive story through visual content.

Virtual tours, one-on-one engagement and interactive and immersive commercials are just a few ways marketing will likely shift in the near future via the use of virtual reality.

2. The new age of search meets social

Google has dominated the search market, followed closely by Yahoo! and Bing, for years. We’re now seeing that Facebook is making continued advancements to step outside of the social bubble and create a more expansive service to rival those search giants. Byexpanding its search functionality, Facebook is able to tie in other components, which include call-to-action buttons and payment messaging.

Mix that with the existing ability users have to follow groups, join social discussions and engage brands while chatting with friends on Facebook, and you can see why the social site is quickly positioning itself to be an all-in-one platform for the web.

It’s not just about social engagement anymore: Sites like Facebook are allowing brands to create real digital experiences.

3. A step away from evergreen

Brands frequently embrace evergreen content, or content that will last for an extended period of time and continue to generate traffic. This year, we’re seeing a growing trend in the opposite direction: simple, brief content shared in real time. Platforms like Periscope and Snapchat are pushing a “less is more” concept, where we communicate with the end user for a shorter and briefer span of time.

In a world where your target audience is on the go and strapped for time, these kinds of marketing hors d'oeuvres are exactly what users are looking for.

Both Snapchat and Periscope provide unique peeks into brands that consumers feel connected to, while satisfying their voracious appetites for new content.

4. Marketing automation

Automation isn’t new, but it’s become more necessary and more relevant, especially with the focus shifting to writing 10 times the amount of content that is 10 times better than what your competitors are putting out. The bulk of your time this year is going to be spent competing hardcore for the waning attention of your audience. You can expect that content creation to take up vast time resources, so you and automation are going to become best buddies.

There’s no shortage of choices when it comes to platforms, and those marketing automation platforms will make it easier for you to segment your customers for improved email scheduling while tracking them through your sales funnel and monitoring social performance.

5. Location-based marketing growth

The best way to create an interactive experience with your customers is to deliver content and target the user directly at or near the point of engagement.

That can happen as a customer nears a retail location or other designated physical location such as a tradeshow or special event. Using Bluetooth technology, you can use push notifications to nearby devices, attracting the attention of your target audience.

Applications go beyond retail- or location-based marketing. For instance, SK Telecom and Seoul National University Bundang Hospital are using Bluetooth Smart Beacons to provide round-the-clock patient information and navigation to 6,000 daily patients.

Analysts estimate that beacons, acting as hubs, will be deployed all over airports and transit stations to easily send out notifications on departures, delays and passenger assignments. We are also seeing Bluetooth beacons being deployed in the smart home and at large event venues.

That provides serious insight for marketers into ways they can promote engagement, not only with their brand, but among customers during B2B and B2C events.

While retailers and brands have been experimenting with location-based push marketing for a few years, the support was lacking from major phone manufacturers. The new beacon technology from Bluetooth Smart is now widely supported by manufacturers, and is a reliable and cost-effective solution for location-based marketing adaption this year.

6. Better relationship marketing

Relationship marketing is a strategy more businesses are picking up on in order to foster better customer loyalty, as well as improved long-term engagement.

Over the last few years, many brands used social media to improve that level of engagement. While effective, the messaging was still broad -- to a group or community -- and less personalized than what we’re seeing now.

Smartphone adoption continues to grow, with an estimated 2 billion consumers worldwide expected to own smartphones this year. A consumer with a 24/7 connection to the web provides the means to directly connect with that individual. Every smartphone is an opportunity to connect with a prospect.

Through mobile technology and applications, you can build a stronger loyalty program and foster long-term engagement based around an emotional customer connection, not just a connection via a product.

You have more data than ever before to fuel that outreach, and that’s what’s going to help you make the switch from mass-targeted content and interruptive marketing to solid relationships built on trust.

What new trends are you seeing for 2016? Have you made any changes to your 2016 marketing strategy to improve customer engagement? Share in the comments below:

Related: 4 Things Businesses Need to Know But Often Don't About Facebook Advertising

Source: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/270662

 

 

A guide to using market research to understand who your customers are and what they want.

BY: Rob Mandelbaum

 

If you don't know your customer, then you don't know your business. You won't know how to respond if you see changes in your sales patterns. And because it's so hard to hang on to customers you don't know intimately, you will forever be chasing new ones.

Unfortunately, though most business owners like to think they know their customers, many are really only guessing. And when it comes to forecasting sales -- in fact, when it comes to virtually every aspect of business planning -- an empirical understanding beats gut instinct almost every time. Now is the time to get the facts.

Professional market researchers generally divide their work into qualitative studies (interviews and focus groups, with free-flowing and open-ended discussions) and quantitative studies (usually surveys). In a perfect world, you would probably do both, using qualitative research to create a survey, the results of which might in turn be interpreted using another focus group. Given limited resources, though, it generally makes sense to go quantitative. After all, says Steve Sprague, a marketing consultant in Marion, Iowa, "some data -- any data -- is better than none."

Building a Better Survey

1. Define Your Survey Target
First, identify the customers to survey. In general, it makes sense to focus on your best customers. "You want to look at the upper 60 percent of your customers by sales," according to Sprague. Naturally, this is easiest for companies that track purchases and customers individually: Rank your customers by sales and lop off the bottom 40 percent. Alternatively, your sales or accounts receivable staff ought to know who your most reliable buyers are.

Retail shops and other establishments in which purchases are small and buyers tend to remain anonymous may have to settle for a smaller sample from a broader range of customers. But even these businesses can identify their best customers by encouraging customers to fill out a postage-paid postcard with very basic information or by asking them at the register for a Zip code, which can then be used to create a demographic profile. (See "Decoding Demographics.") You might also institute a frequent-customer program, in which you offer a discount or other incentive in exchange for a small amount of personal information and an opportunity to contact the customer later. Newsletters and e-mail updates are also an opportunity to identify whom to contact later; ditto the prize drawing that requires a business card to enter.

Sometimes you will want to study specific customers. If, say, sales are flagging, you might study lapsed customers. "Identifying characteristics of your attrition market may help you develop new customers and clients," notes Nancy Ulrich, a marketing research consultant in suburban Jacksonville, Florida.

2. Decide on a Format
There are basically three ways to administer a survey: by mail, by phone, or online. A highly personalized letter is best when the survey population is hard to reach (physicians, say, or senior executives). A phone interview serves well for complex and probing questions that demand interaction between interviewer and subject, but it normally requires professional assistance. Most businesses, though, will do very well with an online survey. Many survey companies (Zoomerang.com, for one) offer inexpensive tools and complex branched questions, in which a specific response to one query generates a specific follow-up. And they are fast -- you can see results in real time.

Experts say that a written survey should take from five to 15 minutes to complete. Divide your questions between customer satisfaction and customer demographics, weighted toward the former. And keep it short, says Sprague, who includes fewer than 10 questions when he writes surveys for his clients. "By limiting the number of questions, you improve the response rate," he says. "And it forces you to think about what's important."

Be personal, and begin by praising your customer and highlighting the importance of the survey. At the end of the survey, you should offer some sort of reward or incentive -- the longer the survey, the more generous the reward.

3. Probe Customer Satisfaction
When writing survey questions, take care to avoid introducing a bias that telegraphs the answers you hope to receive. Avoid trade jargon or abbreviations, or at least make sure they are well defined.

Ask open-ended questions.These let respondents ruminate about what they like about your company and what might improve the relationship. Be sure, says Ulrich, that the text boxes allow space for lengthy responses. Follow these with a multipart rating question and a corresponding multipoint scale to review your business's specific processes. Ulrich believes that respondents more easily understand descriptive words (excellent, fair, poor, etc.) than a numbered scale.

Calculate your net promoter score.Ask respondents how likely, on a scale from 0 to 10, they are to recommend your company, product, or service to others. The net promoter score is derived by subtracting the percentage of "detractors" (customers who rate the business from 0 to 6) from the percentage of "promoters" (who rate the company 9 or 10). The greater the difference, the more likely that your company can convert the enthusiasm of current customers into new customers. Sites like Net Promoter (netpromoter.com) offer more information about these scores and comparisons with leading companies. Or simply view your score as a useful general indicator of your customers' feelings about your product or service.

Ask for suggestions.Sprague likes to conclude the customer satisfaction portion of a survey with a query like: "What could we do to make your next experience with us extraordinary?" "It stretches their mind and your mind," he says. "It's going to help you think of things you haven't thought of before."

4. Dig for Demographics
The demographic information you seek will depend on which attributes drive your business -- these may include age, gender, marital status, educational attainment, household income, and leisure pursuits. Some of these are sensitive topics, and you don't always need to broach them. For instance, if you know a customer's Zip code, you can get a rough idea about income and education. If you know the address, you can refine that further by sorting customers into what are called census block groups, says Jeffrey DeBellis, director of marketing and research services at the University of North Carolina's Small Business and Technology Development Center. (See "Decoding Demographics.")

When your customers are businesses, you want information about their size by number of employees and revenue. (If your customers are reluctant to share that information, formulate the responses as a series of ranges.) Also, try to get the NAICS (or North American Industry Classification System) or SIC (or Standard Industry Classification, which has been replaced by the NAICS) code. This can help you identify similar companies in the area.

5. Test the Survey First
Before you make the survey available to your customers, ask family members and friends to test it for time and clarity, and whether the questions mean what you intend them to mean and are free of bias and the like.

Using the Data

Once you tabulate the results (which happens almost immediately with e-survey programs), patterns should emerge. "If you have 20 answers, and you don't see definite trends, then you probably don't have enough data," says Sprague. You could try to resurvey, using the existing results to write more probing and targeted questions, or you could convene a focus group. Focus groups are also useful for interpreting the results.

Focus, focus, focus.For focus-group testing, it is smart to engage experienced marketing consultants, who will be adept at moderating the conversation. For one thing, your subjects will probably be more reticent if you or your top sales executive is conducting the session. "With a trained focus-group facilitator, you're going to have someone who will generally script the experience up front," says Ulrich. Moreover, "experienced facilitators develop a certain amount of intuition when something's up," sensing when the dynamic has changed and able to steer the conversation in a new direction if necessary.

The "aha" moment.Ulrich recommends that once you have collected all the data, "find one or two 'aha' ideas and implement them immediately. Make sure they're visible and that they impact the greatest number of people in a positive way." This will show, she says, that you have been listening to the needs and concerns of your customers -- which, any great salesperson will tell you, is half the job.

Decoding Demographics

The Web offers databases and automated services that can help make sense of the survey data you collect. Some are free, but the most useful involve fees or subscriptions. Check with your public library and local "economic gardening" organizations -- such as Small Business Development Centers, chambers of commerce, and economic development groups -- to see if they offer free or discounted access.

Source : http://www.inc.com/magazine/20090901/guidebook-how-to-conduct-market-research.html

 

Categorized in Market Research

How to use today's technology to attract and retain tenants

 

Being a landlord isn’t what it used to be. Not only has the online world drastically changed, providing people with quicker access to the products and services they want, but so have the needs of customers.

Whether it’s procuring small, daily necessities or buying a big ticket item, today’s web-savvy millennials are working longer hours and using the internet to speed up the purchasing process. It’s no surprise renters would rather see the exact details and layout of a property remotely before scheduling an appointment and taking the time to view it in person.

With technology advancements making online experiences safer and better, many forward-thinking landlords and property management firms have already transitioned into the digital space, directing more dollars toward sophisticated websites that are responsive and mobile-friendly, offering 3-D floor plan layouts, videos and other great marketing tools—all of which result in units renting faster.

Statistics show that 91 per cent of apartment searches today begin online. Landlords and property managers who are ahead-of-the-curve are benefitting from an earlier investment in their web and digital marketing strategies.

Building a successful digital strategy

Almost all landlords today know that they need to advertise their real estate online, but many are confused about how to maximize their strategies and budgets. While there is no universal answer for every landlord or company, there are certain variables that can impact overall strategies. Those variables include:

  1. Size of the company
  2. Amount of properties requiring advertising
  3. Having defined goals and objectives – which can range from generating traffic, converting website visits to leads, and / or reputation management, to name just a few.

It’s always good to start with an outline of your company’s marketing requirements (or “must-haves”) before adding complementary components to that list. This will help keep everything in perspective, and give the ability to move forward with a clear objective in mind.

Web marketing “must-haves”

1. A user- and mobile-friendly website with search functionality

Having a responsive, user-friendly website is the most important tool every landlord and company should have. Almost all research and searching is done on the web today and companies that don’t have an up-to-date website are losing thousands of potential customers every day.

For landlords and property management companies with multiple properties, having an intuitive and search-friendly website is the only way to go, as it allows users to search for a property by location, price, and bedroom type and contact owners instantly.

Also, when developing a website, be certain the web-developer is knowledgeable in best SEO practice ensuring content is optimized for search engines using keywords associated with your company.

Depending on your marketing budget and the amount of properties you need to drive traffic to, having a PPC (pay-per-click) strategy can be another great way to help drive more traffic (i.e. customers) to your website. And, the great thing about PPC campaigns is that you choose the keywords and you only pay when a customer clicks on your “AD” (link).

Setting up a PPC campaign is relatively simple and you should only pay the search engine you are advertising on (i.e. Google or Bing). Many companies offer to manage PPC campaigns but charge hefty “management fees” for overseeing this effort. Be wary of these companies, and do your research. In some cases, paying a management fee is necessary since it does take time to set-up and manage a well structured campaign. However, these fees should be clear (and understood) prior to signing any contracts. A good general rule of thumb is to either work out a flat monthly fee for the management or a percentage of the campaign spend (i.e. 10%).      

2. Social media marketing

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Linkedin… By now we all know that social media is a critical component of any successful digital strategy. FORBES recently compiled the following Top Ten list identifying the key benefits for businesses:

  1. Increased Brand Recognition
  2. Improved Brand Loyalty
  3. More Opportunities to Convert
  4. Higher Conversion Rates
  5. Higher Brand Authority
  6. Increased Inbound Traffic
  7. Decreased Marketing Costs
  8. Better Search Engine Rankings
  9. Richer Customer Experiences
  10. Improved Customer Insights

If your company is not on social media, quite simply it should be. Not only does social media offer all the benefits listed above, but almost all social media channels today have built-in advertising tools allowing companies to advertise and promote posts to targeted audiences—which is a great way to reach out to potential customers.

3. Video marketing

By 2017, video will account for 69 per cent of all consumer internet traffic, according to Cisco. Take YouTube for instance, which receives more than one billion unique visitors every month. Here are some more amazing video stats provided by YouTube:

  • Every day, hundreds of millions of hours are watched on YouTube generating billions of views.
  • The number of hours people spend watching YouTube each month is up 50 per cent year over year.
  • 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
  • 60 per cent of a creator’s views come from outside their home country.
  • YouTube is localised in 75 countries and available in 61 languages.
  • Half of YouTube views are on mobile devices.

Videos are naturally engaging, and in an age of information overload, it’s vital for businesses to offer content that is easy to digest. If not, consumers will simply move on. Video marketing does this very well. Put another way, if a picture paints 1,000 words then one minute of video is worth 1.8 million, or so say Forrester’s researchers.

By incorporating property videos onto your website and within your advertising on ILSs and social media, this will not only increase traffic to your website and lead conversions, but also provide higher qualified leads and customers.

 4. 3-D Floor Plans 

Offering floor plans has many advantages. Most importantly, they provide prospective renters with superior visualization of the unit allowing them to imagine their furniture and make measurements in advance. 3-D floor plans also exhibit great pictorial illustrations that help generate leads and interest.

What’s more, floor plans can be used in a variety of ways for advertising. They can be included on websites and shared on social media; they can be used in print advertisements or even printed-out and given as hand-outs when a prospective renter (customer) visits the property. Quite simply, they are an integral part of any good marketing strategy.

4. Third party advertising 

While all the components listed above are “must-haves” for setting up your digital marketing strategy, there is another equally important component ,which provides extreme value: advertising on other relevant websites. A few reasons why this is important to your overall web marketing strategy, include:

  • Most customers will find your property using some sort of search and in most cases, while doing this they will come across popular apartment finder websites, like rentseeker.ca and Kijiji. If you’re not advertising on those platforms, you’ll be missing thousands of potential customers daily.
  • An important factor for organic rankings on search engines (*not paid ADs or PPC)  are inbound links, which provide search engines (i.e. Google and Bing) with signals that show that your website is relevant, informational, and important. Most apartment finders and classifieds will provide links back to your website, which will in-turn help your own website’s rankings in search engines.
  • Another way to increase your own website’s authority and organic rankings is to reach out to local places, for example colleges or universities. Ask them to link to your website to help students searching for rental housing – this will in turn provide you referral traffic from their students as well as increase your website’s authority and in-turn your website’s rankings on search engines.

RentSeeker.ca  is Canada’s Leading Apartment Finder and Real Estate Marketing Company currently servicing over 100+ of Canada’s Largest Landlords and Property Management Firms. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Source : https://www.reminetwork.com/articles/maximizing-your-digital-marketing-strategy/

 

Categorized in Market Research
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