Site Marketing Strategies for Success
A lot of developers spend a lot of time researching various Internet marketing strategies, but neglect to make them efficient and successful - it's all in the analysis! The goal of any successful marketing campaign, regardless of whether you are using social media, mailers, paid advertising or direct marketing, is to use all of the knowledge and techniques in your arsenal to build your brand and generate new business. This article focuses on giving you the tools you need to successfully analyze your Internet marketing strategies so they can be re-tooled as necessary.
Use an Analytics Program
Before you can even begin to analyze your marketing strategy, you need tools to help you analyze it in the first place. Google Analytics is a popular tool that can help you to analyze your website traffic - for free. Another great tool that was designed to work with business-oriented websites is HubSpot.com. Always use your server stats from your hosting company as a baseline to ensure that you are getting accurate information that isn't inflated or diminished in any way to encourage you to invest more money into a marketing scheme or pay for additional advertising. It is your job to keep these resources honest.
Figure Out What You Need
What are the areas that you want to improve in your business? Do you just want more traffic - or do you need to make more sales? Are you looking to attract regular readers to your informational blog - or are you looking to add fans to your Facebook page and followers to your Twitter account? Beyond your basic wants and needs you should keep re-evaluating your business situation so you will be ready to take advantage of new opportunities as they become available.
Set the Bar
Before you can raise the bar and increase your success you need to set the initial starting goal. You can say you need 1,000 new leads within 30-days and then tweak that goal as you go along, adjusting it to a lower number or longer time-period if your initial goal is not feasible, or by increasing your goal if you get impressive results in the beginning. Of course your goals will need to be adjusted over time as your overall reach increases and as you continue to saturate the market. If everyone already knows about your business and branding isn't an issue, you will have to adjust in other ways to attract new clients to your site.
Step Four - Analyze and Refine
In addition to adjusting for changes and altered expectations, you should now be ready to analyze your current traffic and marketing results so you can refine your approach. See what ad programs, social media networks, blog posts, topics and trends are positively affecting your statistics and sales, and what tools just aren't working. While it is important to evaluate your analytics on a regular basis, it isn't always necessary to make big changes. This is why we like to use the word "refine" in this instance. Refining means making slight adjustments and then watching for results. The old saying, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" is a good adage to remember, but it is also important to always keep moving and growing, even if you are only making the slightest upgrades or tweaks.
Step Five - Evaluate Your Goals
Daily stats-checking can be good - particularly in a paid ad campaign - but it is also good to stand back and evaluate your goals and results on a weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis – kind of like checking the scale when you are trying to lose weight! The idea here is to set long-term goals as well as to look for short-term results. Modifying, adjusting, refining and sometimes completely over-hauling your marketing campaign is just part of the process. Raising the bar after setting your initial goals is a sign that your efforts are panning out.
Ways to Improve Your Results
Sometimes the improvements necessary to increase your success have nothing to do with your advertisements, daily posts, comments or tweets. Sometimes changes are needed in the core areas of your website development, sales pitch and general promotions. Here is a short list of things you can do to improve your results today:
- On-Page SEO - Sometimes small changes made to your landing page, home page or sales page can make big differences, but even more than that, tweaks to the meta description, page title and headings of your website as a whole can help improve the SEO of your entire website. You can do a simple one-page test and see what happens just by changing the title on one of your pages to see if it receives an increase in targeted traffic.
- Conversions - Maybe your site isn't selling because your site isn't selling! It might have nothing to do with your marketing approach, reach or ad dollars. Little things like simplifying your conversion form, making it more visible on your home page or just tweaking your landing pages can sometimes have a huge impact. Take a hard look at your pre-sale and payment pages – always try to customize third-party payment pages to match your own pages as closely as possible.
- Mailer Programs - Some mailer programs don't work for the strangest reasons. It can be anything from sending the mailers too often to allowing too much time to pass between mailers. It could also be that your sales pitch in your mailers just isn't appropriate for the people receiving them. Testing, experimenting and asking for feedback can be extremely helpful.
- Content - If you don't have the right content, you won't get sales - period. Do an evaluation of your website and find out which posts, articles, tips and tutorials are generating the most traffic and then focus on increasing that type of content within your site.
- Keywords - You can do variations of your meta keywords, the keywords used in your blog posts and the keywords used in your description on listings to see if you can improve your results. Each page on your website should be using different - yet relevant - keywords, so there are lots of opportunities to make improvements to your site within each individual page!
Now a lot a set amount of time to this tweaking each day or each week and get busy!
Learn to Use Blogging as a Marketing Tool
While many people are aware of blogs and understand how they work, most of them do not understand how blogging can be a very successful and powerful marketing tool to be used to promote your business. It is important to understand how you can use blogging to advance your small business to increase your customer-base and your bottom line. Here are a couple of practical tips that you can apply to your current business structure that will help you to learn to view blogging as a productive marketing tool.
Any business can start a blog - it doesn't matter what you are selling or to whom you are selling it - any business can launch a blog. It should be noted that some business sectors will be able to blog much more naturally than others. However, as long as you know what you are doing and have an understanding of what is required to create a successful marketing blog, there's no reason why you shouldn't start one now if you haven’t already.
Blogs can help small businesses get an edge and have a voice, particularly during today's tough economy. You can create a blog about anything, giving a line of instant communication, tips, knowledge, information and news to your readers. Blogs have been written on just about every topic - both specific to one subject and generalized to a wide demographic. Ensuring that you are able to make the most of your blogging venture will mean doing some research and asking tough questions to figure out what type of blog you should create.
The goal of any marketing tool is to increase traffic, sales and revenue. Blogging can accomplish this by giving you new and unique opportunities for self-promotion through the use of links to and from other relevant blogs, and through the interaction opportunities with your customers and target demographic through comments and sharing. To get the most out of each blog post, article and tip you should post them on your blog, share with other industry-focused blogs and spread your knowledge (and links!) via popular article sharing sites and directories.
Blogs are a great way to effectively increase your relevant keywords and phrases, increasing the value of your overall website in the eye of the top search engine websites. When you write blog posts that are keyword-rich and relevant to your business, products or services, you increase the "value" of your website to others who are searching for information on the subject you are writing about.The more valuable your content is with regard to the keyword or key phrase used to search for your site, the better your rank will be in the search engines.
Increasing your demographic is an important benefit as well. When you write a blog and post it for others to find and read, you can reach out to new customers that might not have heard about your company or products before. This is a great way to build traffic, but it will also work to promote you and your website as industry leaders – thought leaders, as I’ve written before - a place where people can go for trusted information they can use.
How to Create an Effective Blog
Blog posts shouldn't just be a few lines of text with some keywords added in for good measure, they should add value to your website and should serve as an opportunity for you to communicate a message to potential customers as well as to your existing customer base. Make sure to always carefully construct a message that will show your experience and knowledge within the industry. As your customers read through your blog postings to find your opinions about relevant topics or to get advice or tips on using or purchasing your products and services – this proves that you and your company know the business well. This will help you to build a positive reputation as a leader within the community – again, commonly referred to as thought leadership.
Choosing a topic can seem a bit daunting at first, but once you start thinking about your business, your products and all the services that you provide, you will discover that your options are endless! For example, if your website is a professional service site for electrical work, you could write about how dangerous it can be for a homeowner to do his own wiring and establish your employees as highly trained and qualified individuals who work for a professional skilled company. You could also write up a list of troubleshooting FAQ or "frequently asked questions" that will help your customers know when it's time to call your office for professional help.
Make sure to always write unique and original content that has been written specifically for you, and that hasn't been posted anywhere else online. The search engines will notice if you have copied content from another source and the value of your post will be diminished as a penalty for using someone else's content. A typical blog post should be about 150-300 words per post, making them easy to write quickly, especially if you are already an expert in your field. You can write posts ahead of time and with WordPress software, plug in regular postings that will automatically show up on the website on the days that you designate.
When adding links, make sure to do so sparingly and carefully. You can link back to your business website, specific product pages or additional information about the services you offer. Linking back from your website to your blog will also help to improve your overall search engine optimization - on both your business website and your blog. Relevant in-bound and out-bound links can be very beneficial in a number of ways.
In order to have a successful blog and maximize your traffic-building potential, you need to update your blog on a regular basis. If daily is too much, shoot for weekly at first and then build up your blogging to a point where it is comfortable for you and for the time you can afford to allot to this task. A regularly updated blog will show up more frequently in the search engines and help to increase your visibility in organic search results.
There are a number of ways you can measure how successful your blogging project is to your website. You can use Google Analytics to track your traffic, keywords and demographics. You can also bring more traffic to your blog via social media accounts at hot spots like Twitter or Facebook. By allowing comments and other interactions on your blog and website, you can also engage with customers and potential customers and gain insight into how they perceive your website and/or products. Blogging is one of those marketing tools where you can expect to get out of it exactly what you put into it, so the more time you dedicate to building your blog and post count - and doing it right - the better your results will be!
Now go become a thought leader!
7 Tips for Better Twitter B2B Marketing
Nearly every company is knee-deep in social media marketing these days, but how many of them know how to best use these popular social tools to increase traffic and sales? When you are working within the B2B market, tools like Twitter will need to be used differently than they would if you were marketing to general consumers. To make sure that your Twitter marketing campaign is successful, it's important to establish some solid goals, allow time for your campaign to flourish and become successful and then to determine your ROI (return on investment) on your efforts.
Tip #1 - The More the Merrier
When you set up your Twitter account make sure to give access and delegate posting to more than one employee. Make sure to choose employees that will help you to professionally represent your brand. By having multiple users on one account you can be sure that your posts will be updated regularly and frequently, giving you more opportunities to reach B2B clients than if just one employee were trying to take it all on by himself. Multiple users also mean multiple points of view, communication styles and ideas - all of which can be key in gaining more followers and increased readership.
Tip #2 - Timing is Important
Knowing when to post your tweets can be just as important as what you are tweeting. Knowing when your company's message will be read by your B2B clients - and shared with other companies - is important. You can track this through analytics available through your Twitter account that will show if your readers view your tweets early in the day or later in the afternoon, during the week or on the weekend. You can then gear your tweets to meet the needs of your users.
Tip #3 - Content is King
What you tweet is also very important. Make sure that you are sending out valuable information to your B2B clients and not just a lot of opinion and chatter. Use your Twitter account as a means of sharing important information with your client base in a quick and easy manner. Think about it as connecting with your business community. The better the content you are sharing, the more likely it will be re-tweeted and shared with others outside your circle as well.
Tip #4 - Using Hashtags
It is important to research current hashtags and then create new hashtags to promote the updates you make on your Twitter account. A lot of B2B businesses will start out in their usage of Twitter searching the top-used hashtags. Hashtags help people to find content and share information with a large audience beyond your list of followers. Interact with hashtags whenever possible, such as at an industry event or conference, where your employees can tweet and re-tweet about their experiences at the live event to increase your visibility on the network.
Tip #5 - Keyword Optimization
You can search Twitter to find out more about a topic or keyword and how often it is mentioned or searched at twitter.com. This tool will help you to evaluate the market and formulate your Twitter strategy to choose your own relevant top-10 keywords. If you treat your Twitter account and tweets as you would a blog post or SEO optimization for a website, you will find that it becomes very easy to create search optimized content that is relevant to your industry.
Tip #6 - Using URL Shorteners
Using URL shortener programs is key to being able to fit everything you need within the 140 character maximum Twitter post form. You can use free programs such as bit.ly and give yourself more room for promotion and other supporting text for your tweets.
Tip #7 - Think Outside the Box
This well-worn expression still maintains relevance; look for new tools and methods to use for promoting your website, business and products on Twitter. There are a myriad of very powerful B2B marketing tools that can be used, such as search tools, client tools, Twitter analytics programs and Twitter directories. Make certain to use everything you can to get the edge on your competition and to provide useful and relevant information to your followers.
Get Busy ;-D
What's Current Thought on Testimonials?
I've read consistently that one of the most effective affordable marketing aids you can employ is a sincere testimonial from a satisfied customer, and certainly this makes rational sense. ...A third party raving about how amazing your product is, or how fantastic your services are...
If you use them, how do you get them? The most satisfied users you have are unlikely to ever send unsolicited praise...
Do you capture random remarks to use in reviews, recommendations and testimonials? Do you utilize surveys to create the basis for them? Request permission to quote their email or survey responses? Adapt their responses and send for approval?
What about pictures? Pictures are powerful...Do you create fake testimonials or are you authentic? Pictures, customer videos, emails - all these things go a long way toward establishment of trust in new prospective customers - probably more in mainstream than adult on this point ;-D
Online customers are savvy comparison shoppers these days and view everything on your site with a skeptical eye...Do you ask your users to recommend you via Twitter? How about their Facebook friends? Do they run blogs or forums? Do you link all your social sites to your homepage? Do you link your social sites to all the places your customers have given great reviews?
So much to do!
Sober Talk: Who's Really Using Twitter?
Depending on which report you read, you might hear a number of different outcomes describing how many people are using Twitter, how often they use it and what they are using it for. According to Twitter.com, the company states that there were over 175 million accounts created as of September 2010, with as many as 20-26 million unique visitors accessing the site each month throughout 2010. Those numbers don't seem to match up, however, until you take into account the number of duplicate accounts, users that are located in countries outside North America and of course the infamous "Twitter Quitters" that sign up and then don't use their accounts.
Another sobering statistic is the number of visitors who are simply reading all the tweets made by friends, celebrities and corporations, but are not making tweets themselves. Still, the company's claim of over 175 million accounts seems to be a little generous to say the least. In fact, other data contributed by other tracking services and analysts are now showing that Twitter's network of users is not as large as many marketers, the media - and perhaps Twitter itself - have estimated.
According to a report released by Paul Verna, a senior analyst at eMarketer.com, while Twitter users are a large group that is continually growing, their overall numbers are much smaller than most other reports would like you to believe. In a newly published report entitled, "Twitter Users: A Vocal Minority," eMarketer shows that Twitter is actually comprised of "tens of millions of users, as opposed to hundreds of millions."
Market figures show as many as 20.6 million adult users in the US will access their Twitter account on a monthly basis in 2011, a figure that is up as much as 26% from the 16.4 million users who accessed the social media outlet in 2010. Twitter is expected to continue growing in future years; however analysts anticipate growth only to as many as 28 million regular Twitter users by 2013. These figures are based on an analysis of comprised studies and polls revealing users' actual usage of Twitter across multiple platforms.
Marketers should also be interested in a study that was conducted by Pew Internet & American Life, which revealed as many as 7% of male Internet users in the US and 10% female Internet users in the US were currently using Twitter on a regular basis. More young adults utilized Twitter than any other age demographic in the study. Platforms were another area of study, with most Twitter users logging in and using the service via mobile devices. In fact, a study released by comScore showed that 7.8 million US mobile subscribers used their devices to log-on to Twitter in January 2011, up by 66% from January 2010.
For companies that are looking to move into the Twitter market as a means of expanding their social networking campaigns, the experts suggest keeping an eye on the usage habits and various demographic statistics in order to anticipate the response that a Twitter-based audience would have as a result of their marketing efforts. According to Verna, marketing groups would do well to set "realistic expectations" and to base their campaigns on data analysis in order to get better results, rather than relying on hyped up market estimates.
Make Social Networking “Work” for You! http://xbiz.com/blogs/132702
Social Media - Missed B2B Opportunity http://xbiz.com/blogs/130570
Just How Distracted Are Your Customers?
It doesn’t matter what you are selling these days, your customers are distracted.
Not only are they multi-tasking like never before, but many have developed a brand new behavior known within the online marketing environment as “multi-screening” -- while exploring your website, products or advertisements. Think about it – many people have their televisions, computers and mobile devices all going at once – distracted not just by your competitors for their attention, but also by the program on the television, texting and messaging from friends on their mobiles -- and of course the whole Las Vegas strip of advertising attacks on their computers. All this multi-tasking and multi-screening is having a definite effect on the behaviors and viewing habits of your core customer base and it is something you will need to learn to combat for continued relevance and success.
According to a study released by eMarketer.com, as many as 68% of all Internet users in the United States -- approximately 158.1 million users -- will be watching video content online in a 30-day period in 2011. That figure is expected to grow by 2015 to as many as 76% of all Internet users in the US -- or 195.5 million users. In response to this expected growth, advertisers are expecting to increase their investment in online video advertising from $1.97 billion to as much as $5.71 billion – clearly this is a huge market that warrants – no demands! -- your interest and consideration!
Out of the three screens that most Americans are watching at all times, the television still outweighs the computer and the mobile for focus and attention, however due to the rapid speed and ease of use associated with computers and mobiles, more and more of that attention is being taken away from their TVs. In fact, this is mainly due to the movement of television programming away from the “big screen” to the smaller screens via Internet-based programming trends. It is expected that by the end of 2011, 69.4 million Americans will be watching television programs at least once a month via an Internet connection, with as many as 100 million adults in America watching online by 2015.
This is a difficult area to navigate as behaviors, technology and video content offerings are still evolving within the vertical markets. However, savvy Web developers will pay attention to this new trend and will begin working on ways to keep their visitors’ attention on the small computer or the mobile screen, allowing them to effectively compete with what is available on the larger television screen.
This trend does not just apply to video-based content, but to all types of content. More than ever before the Web developer’s job is to keep the customer’s focus on the website and content offerings to prevent them from being distracted by anything that might impede a sale. It’s time to improve your skills in this area, get to know your customer’s needs, and be prepared to “wow” the customer in a whole new way!
And while I've focused on the site navigation, content, and product placement areas here in terms of engaging and retaining customer focus and attention, don't forget to regularly review your check-out or join process and billing option presentation just as intently, because the last area in which you want the customer to become distracted is during the payment process once their purchase decision has been made. For advice and guidance on maintaining customer focus as your customer navigates your site as well as considered strategy and expertise in easy payment process flow, don't hesitate to write me at marketing at webbilling dot com.
Now get busy with your development staff and lead the way on customer engagement for increasing revenue. Lead the Pack!
REAL Tips for Increasing Conversion Ratios
It seems as if all anyone can talk about these days is finding new ways to improve and increase their online retail sales and conversion ratios, but what are they really doing to make a change? Knowing what your customers want, understanding what they need and being able to make all of that available to them to improve the shopping experience as a whole is a huge step toward improving your numbers. A recent study was conducted with PayPal customers in both the U.S. and Canada that revealed the top five reasons consumers have said they walked away from a sale – a shopping cart full of products, or an online subscription application just partially completed…
Reason #1 – Shipping Charges and Fees
Have you ever taken a tour of your website through the eyes of the customer? People are trying to get the best deal these days on everything from normal, everyday purchases to subscriptions, online memberships and even download-able content. Money is tight, so today’s consumer is very price-savvy. It doesn’t matter if your website offers the best products at the best-available prices, if the customer gets to the check-out and finds out that you have the highest shipping charges and processing fees, chances are the sale is lost. Over 35% of those surveyed said that the fees and charges were higher than they wanted to pay. They could have their credit card out and be ready to hit the “SUBMIT” button, but get scared away at the last moment due to the perception of ridiculous fees or unreasonable terms and conditions that you have tacked on at the end.
Tip: Check out your competitors’ websites to see what they are charging for shipping, processing, renewals and/or other fees – it is important to offer competitive rates at all levels of the process.
Reason #2 – Comparison Shopping
Nearly 28% of those surveyed cited that the reason they abandoned their shopping carts was to check out the competition to see if they could get a better price or rate. You can help to get these customers back in a couple of ways – one, by allowing your customers to create an account where they can log-in, log-out, fill their shopping cart, save items or even create a “wish” list of items they want to purchase in the future. Other ways to allow customers to feel better about making the purchase at your website is to offer a price guarantee – offer to match a posted competitor’s price or beat it by 5%, or go the extra mile and create an app that will post your competitors’ prices next to your item so they can see how much it would cost at Company A, Company B, and how much they would save or get more by purchasing it through your website instead. Make sure to compare shipping, processing fees and any other costs as well – you might not beat your competitors in one area, but you could trump them in another!
Tip: Look for creative ways to reassure your customers that making a purchase through your website will not only be a smart buy, but that they will also be much more pleased with the services that you provide in the process – sell it!
Reason #3 – Short on Funds
Well, it’s no secret that the economy is still in a funk, to say the least. A lot of people will sign onto a website, find the items they want to purchase and will go through the entire process only to realize that they are short a few bucks necessary to cover the total cost once the shipping and processing have been added in – in fact, 22% of those surveyed said they left a purchase for this very reason. By allowing your customers to create an account that retains their shopping cart information and behavior, you can contact your customers with incentives that just might make the difference between making the sale or losing them to a competitor. Send out follow-up e-mails to customers who didn’t make purchases, giving them a 2-day only discount such as free shipping, 10% off the product(s) or another financial discount that just might free them up to make the purchase. Once you sell your first item to a customer you are building a relationship with them. Give them a good deal and an all-around good experience and you could win them as a loyal customer for life.
Tip: Make your website as interactive as possible, contact your customers with personal e-mails or messages that are catered just to them – enhancing the experience can go a long way toward improving your sales.
Reason #4 – Offline Options
Another 17% of those surveyed stated that they did their initial comparison shopping online, but that they liked to look at offline stores to see the product in-person or purchase it instantly without having to wait for shipping. Overcoming this objection can be tough because you are an online store and without an in-person, offline option - it can be hard to meet this demand. You can, however, get creative and offer a 100% money back guarantee on your purchases, post an area for customers to write their own personal reviews of your products or services and add other elements that will help boost customer confidence in what you are selling. As far as the “instant gratification” issue, make sure to offer next-day shipping as an option in addition to other, lower-cost options for those who “just can’t wait” to get the item in their hands.
Tip: Look for other objections that customers might have about your products, services or delivery options by opening the lines of communication on your website – post e-mail, telephone, instant Web-contact and an open forum to ensure that you make it available to everyone. Customers increasingly prefer live-chat options for questions and service.
Reason #5 – Payment Options
This is a big reason for many shoppers, so it was a little surprising to see it in the number five spot with just 17% of respondents saying payment options were important. You need to remember that when you build a website you aren’t just marketing to the people in your neighborhood – you are selling to the whole planet! Check out alternative payment options, find out what is popular in other countries and make sure that you offer enough local options to cover all your customers’ needs. Direct debit, pay-by-check and credit card payments are used most often, but be sure to stay in-touch with changes in technology, advances made in processing services and know what your customers want.
Tip: Whenever possible attend online or offline industry webinars about payment processing to stay on top of this ever-changing part of Internet-based business!
Same Traffic = More Joins – Convert Every Visitor
Doesn't it just make sense to get every single join out of your current traffic before going out to purchase more traffic? Only you know your European traffic figures, but have you checked to see how many German surfers arrive on your pages and how many leave without joining? Now, there can be a number of reasons for Germans leaving your site without joining and we have to do some analysis to really determine differential outcomes, but the fact remains that well over 70% of Germans still cannot or will not use a credit card online to purchase entertainment even if they have one...and the same is true to varying degrees for surfers from every other European country.
Adult industry professionals are always seeking more and more traffic...I guess as long as traffic was plentiful this made sense in terms of limited outlay of time and expense for the swiftest, best ROI. These days this is less and less the case however, and I've been watching to see who leads the way in terms of maximizing their existing traffic. You already have a cost-per-acquisition assigned to every potential user who arrives on your pages - a percentage of your fixed costs, advertising and traffic expenditures, marketing and show expenses...all this outlay must be divided by the total number of visitors - this is for every surfer arriving on your pages...you have another entire calculation to make to determine your cost per join! So if six or seven out of ten Germans who land on your sites have to leave because they could not pay, what have you lost?
If you haven’t yet looked into the advantages of adding more EU billing capability to your processing cascade you really must do it now – most options can be used in conjunction with every other join option you already have – They don’t really replace anything, but provide a measure of additional coverage even if some overlap to ensure that users arriving on your pages find one more possible method by which they can join your site or make a purchase...and for the major EU markets, adding this additional coverage option can be significant indeed. Why lose a single join?
Convert every possible user.
Bill every European with or without a credit card online.
Do not let any joins escape.
If you need guidance or insight into any payment method do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Marketing to Your Hispanic Online Audience
The U.S. Census data is finally becoming available to the American public, and it has revealed what many of us only previously guessed to be true: Hispanics are now the largest growing demographic in the U.S. In fact, the new count shows that one in every six Americans is of Hispanic decent. So it only stands to reason that marketers should be seriously turning their attention to the increasing number of Spanish-speaking online users now looking for entertainment venues online.
Of course Spanish-speaking users aren't only found in the U.S. - they are all over the world. There are many companies that have been targeting multi-lingual audiences for years, so this really isn't anything new for them. However the difference here is that these Spanish-speaking users are Americans who play by Western rules as far as Internet usage, credit card processing preferences, spending habits and more are concerned. While the Hispanic culture stands out and is different from most other U.S. demographics in many ways, these are still American citizens and they will behave much differently from Hispanics in Mexico, South America and in Europe.
While Hispanic users still aren't using the Internet at the same percentage as non-Hispanic users, the numbers are increasing. In fact, Hispanic users have been shown to utilize social networking and online video much more than other non-Hispanic users - a clear pattern is emerging. A recent study conducted by OTX MediaCT and Google revealed that Spanish-dominant and bilingual Hispanic users were much more involved in the use of online video and social media networks than any other demographic currently online.
The numbers show that 64% of Hispanic users had visited an online video website in the past 30 days as compared to just 50% of the general population surveyed. Spanish-dominant Hispanics used online video even more - with 66% of them enjoying online video websites as opposed to only 61% of English-dominant Hispanics. With the exception of just one online video site - Hulu, which is marketed primarily to English-speaking users through network programming - Spanish-dominant Hispanics were much more likely than English-dominant Hispanics to have visited a list of online video websites before taking the survey.
A parallel in usage was also discovered with regard to Spanish-dominant and bilingual Hispanics and their use of social networking websites. Interestingly, it is reported the most popular website for these users was MySpace over other networks such as Facebook or Twitter. However, with regard to Facebook and other social networking sites, their usage was either slightly higher or the same as other English-dominant Hispanics as well as general broad demographic users.
Overall Hispanic Internet Usage
The information uncovered in this study is very remarkable because most Hispanics, particularly those born in other countries and those who are Spanish-dominant have previously been found to be much less likely to regularly use the Internet than other racial or ethnic groups in the U.S. For example, a survey conducted by the Washington Post revealed that 72% of Hispanic adults used the Internet on an occasional basis - 15 whole percentage points behind Caucasian Internet users. This market data is interesting because according to the recent Census information, Hispanics are the "youngest ethnic or racial group" in the US with an average age of 27. The median age for white users is 41 and it is 31 for black users. Just age alone should make the numbers for Hispanic users higher than white or black users.
Digging deeper into the differences within the Hispanic demographic, as a whole the data reveals that there is a larger divide between English-speaking Hispanics and Spanish-dominant Hispanics, as well as a divide between US-born and foreign-born Hispanics. The Pew Hispanic Research Center conducted a supporting study that showed 56% of the US Hispanic population that is aged 16 or older was born in a foreign country. However, the usage data shows that Hispanics that are native-born American citizens who speak English as their primary language have a drastically higher Internet usage rate than any other demographic. The big drop-off that causes the overall figures to be much lower is with the Spanish-dominant foreign-born Hispanics living in the U.S.
The Pew study also included factors such as education and income levels, revealing that language-speaking abilities and nativity to the U.S. were also influences in these areas. Access to broadband connections, via the home and/or mobile device usage, also played a part in Internet usage habits, and were directly tied to language, nativity, education and income.
The Bottom Line
Analysts believe that because of its broad-reaching abilities, social networking and online video sites are unique tools that can be used to reach Hispanics who might otherwise be shy or insecure about using the Internet. There are a couple of reasons why Spanish-dominant Hispanics are turning to online video - such as the large availability of Spanish-language content as well as the ability to learn English and American slang terms by watching online video, helping them to overcome prevalent language barriers.
Social networking is a popular medium for Hispanics across the board, however, as it makes it easy to keep in contact with friends and family. These social networking tools are used within the country to communicate locally, but also to stay in touch with friends and family that are living in other countries outside the U.S.
So how are you marketing to the Hispanic population online? What are your successes and challenges, and how have you achieved your successes? What are some of your specific demographic innovations in the sales and conversion process? Is translation enough, or have you included other factors in your marketing mix?
Targeted E-mails - Increase Your Customer Loyalty
It is more important than ever before to stay in-touch with current and past customers to ensure that they stay with your brand rather than going to your competitors’ websites. Studies are also showing that programs that focus on increasing consumer loyalty are more effective now than they have been in the past – in part due to the consumer’s desire to work with a company that they know to be trustworthy that will deliver a quality product.
A great way to stay in-contact with your customers and to increase loyalty to your website or brand is to use targeted e-mail marketing techniques on a regular basis. There’s a fine line to walk between effective marketing, which can bring customers back to your site for another purchase, and over-marketing, which can motivate customers to un-subscribe from your mailings and take their business to another website. In most cases over-marketing is a result of sending too many e-mails, or e-mails that are repetitive and boring – your goal here is to offer an incentive to your customers, not to bully them with a sales pitch or bore them with a poorly constructed mailer.
One way to improve the way your mailings are received by your subscribers is to segment and target your mailings to ensure that your customers are receiving messages that will interest them, making them more likely to read the full e-mail, click on links and make another purchase. By targeting your customers based upon past purchases or past interest shown, you increase your chances of positive acceptance of your mailers and of inspiring a positive action, such as a new visit to your website, bookmarking of new products or a new purchase as a direct result.
In fact, a new study showed that mailings that were targeted to customers via a loyalty program out-performed other types of mailings, giving businesses a 40% higher open rate, a 22% higher click rate and a 29% higher purchase rate. Overall revenues for this type of mailing were also up by 11% compared to other mailers - making this type of marketing more than worth your while!
When thinking “loyalty” programs, you should focus on sending your subscribers mailers that have a clear focus on products or services that are of specific interest to them, as well as features and offerings that could yield a discount or a reward for participation. Studies have shown that effective communication based upon the life-cycle of the customer or via recent behavior and activity, such as messages regarding abandoned shopping carts or welcome messages to new customers, give the best results.
However if you are not getting a lot of positive response to your mailings, you are not alone. Another study revealed that only 40% of retail e-mail marketing campaigns were successful in 2010, meaning that many online businesses need to brush up on their skills and step up their game if they hope to improve on those figures in 2011. Sending more mailers is not the answer – the real key is sending mailers that are targeted, focused, relevant and useful to your subscribers.