Consumers like my Wife are often engaged in two or three media streams at any one time. She can be they watching TV with tablet in hand, or streaming music while she shops online and simultaneously keeping an eye on Facebook. If she’s looking at your website, trying to grab her attention is a tricky business! Learning to use technology as part of a marketing strategy is vital in engaging visitors, but not by ‘shouting’ in an already noisy world of media; instead, it is about knowing your customer, and speaking quietly, but directly, to them.
The first step to a successful engagement strategy is understanding the market. Web and email best practices change year by year, as customers learn to avoid the poor practices of some internet marketing ‘experts’. As a virus eventually becomes immune to antibiotics, so the customer has become deaf to a world of constant, competing marketing noise. Customers have become adept at avoiding what they don’t want to hear. For example, the use of ad blockers has soared in response to the dawn of new, more intrusive adverts that jump off the page for attention. In doing so, these actively disengage those whose surfing time is rudely interrupted.
Why 30 Seconds?
A YouGov study from the UK supports this idea. It showed that a potential client will only entertain, and hopefully absorb marketing material for 30 seconds. ‘Dual screening’ (the idea that people have access to media through at least two devices at any one time), means that people’s willingness and ability to sit through 2 minutes of adverts, only to be rewarded with a further 13 minutes of programming, is no longer a valid deal. 44% of those involved in the study were found to use dual screens regularly, most significantly in the 25 -34 age bracket. Mass marketing will not engage the new consumer, whose selective hearing is well developed. Instead, marketers have 30 seconds in which to appeal directly to an individual.
Which platform is most engaging for customers?
What may come as a surprise is the way consumers interact with different platforms. When looking at time spent engaging in marketing content, a CNN study in 2013 showed that email marketing remained the most engaging platform for most clients. The percentages of people that would engage in marketing material for between 5 and 30 seconds was 50% for email, 36% for SMS and just 27% on social media. Does email marketing benefit from its self-filtering, opt-in nature, or is it social media that is below average due to the mass hordes of competing information on-screen?
Email is not a golden cow. Over 50% of people receive between 2 & 10 marketing emails a day, to which they have signed up. Yet only 8% of these people read every one. There are lessons to be learnt here. Each media channel must match. Though it may be email marketing that has the highest engagement rates, the same experience must be available on every channel. Consumers that have engaged on email must be immediately comfortable and familiar with social media, SMS or website content too. The content and benefits must be cross-channel.
The Expectation Economy
The Expectation Economy is a concept that has been growing over the last few years. Driven by a wealth of experience, consumers have growing expectations of online marketing, and have become highly savvy in good and bad practices. They will not be ‘tricked’. Consumers expect the information gathered to be used to target them, but they expect to receive deals and offers that are immediately targeted towards them. ‘Lazy’ targeting, is a huge turn-off.
It is therefore vital to engaging clients to understand them. Gather data on clients is easy online, and what is more, it is expected. What is vital however, is accurately using the information on a personal level. Segmented targeting of your address list is absolutely pivotal to a successful engagement strategy. It will also provide further, more precise data from which to further segregate campaigns. Using information and data, including an individuals preferred habits (time of day, media type), further enhances engagement, with over 60% stating openly that they are more engaged in media that is highly personalised, and fits in with their personal media habits.
And once you have a good customer, do not move on to finding more. Make sure that the individual stays engaged. Learn more and more about their habits and refine their personal profile. You will have a customer for life, providing the same value as getting many new customers, for far more effort.