- With the right strategy, digital PR can help drive both brand awareness and organic performance
- During an economic downturn, brand visibility is essential to maintain brand advocacy in the long-term
- Brands that will come out on top are those that take a cross-channel approach to drive more ROI, using data from other channels to inform their approach
Despite being tempted to pull back on spending during a recession, I believe that it is critical that brands stay visible to maintain brand advocacy — and Digital PR is a great, low-cost way to do so.
Future front-runner brands will be those that adopt a cross-channel approach to drive more ROI, utilizing data from other channels to inform their approach and ensure it resonates with target audiences.
With the current economic climate, brands and businesses are understandably scrutinizing every cent, and will likely make cuts to marketing budgets across the globe.
Businesses need to be realistic about their growth trajectory over the next few months and ensure every marketing dollar they invest is accounted for. While this may naturally lead to greater investment in performance channels, such as paid media, this will result in increased cost per click (CPCs). A way to still stay measurable but reduce costs is to get creative and focus energy on earning attention rather than continuing to pay for every click and impression.
As a result, I would argue that digital PR is one of the most important tools in your marketing toolkit, as, with the right strategy, it can drive both brand awareness and organic performance.
You’re missing a trick if you’re just using Digital PR to drive links
Digital PR is used to build high authority, and relevant links to key category pages to drive search performance through organic growth. A targeted strategy that aligns closely with SEO objectives will enable you to track ROI if you have the right measurement tools in place. This activity feeds into lower funnel marketing activity as it helps to harvest demand, as increased rankings capture better traffic and conversions.
However, if you’re only using it for this purpose, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity further up the marketing funnel.
Through securing brand-led, high-impact coverage on authoritative and influential publications, digital PR can also be used to drive search demand and upper-funnel brand awareness. This third-party validation is the perfect way to build salience, credibility, customer advocacy, and trust while simultaneously driving organic performance through high-quality links.
In order to achieve both brand and performance though, you need to be creating relevant and engaging content that your target audience wants to read and share. You shouldn’t be creating content ‘just for a link’ but taking into consideration wider business goals – and making sure you’re actually targeting press that your audience is reading.
In summary, digital PR shouldn’t just be an ‘intent-led’ marketing discipline to increase rankings. It’s a discipline that can both drive demand and awareness, whilst helping to capture intent-led traffic.
Why brand visibility is even more important during a recession
Recessions are difficult and uncertain times, which is why it’s even more important to continue to build visibility and salience – as with tighter budgets, consumers are likely to become more selective and want to buy from brands that they trust that stay relevant to them.
We have seen in previous economic uncertainty brands that maintain their brand awareness and relevance, retain more market share, and are able to bounce back quicker. Mark Ritson’s marketing recession playbook provides further information and sources on this subject.
In order to use digital PR to deliver true brand performance, you need to ensure you’re creating it based on as much cross-channel insight as possible.
Sharing cross-channel insight to deliver better ROI
While many marketers say they work ‘cross-channel,’ the reality is that many teams are still working in silos – especially across brand and performance teams.
To drive the best results, it is essential to break down silos and take data insights from each channel to develop one overarching strategy.
For example, to drive organic growth, while it’s critical to start with key SEO insight, search volumes, brand traffic, non-brand traffic, relevance, and the number of backlinks, you should be considering other channels to maximize performance.
Another example would be that your PPC and paid search teams will have a lot of useful data that you can use to inform your organic strategy. Which are the keywords that are costing the most? You can tailor your efforts to improve organic rankings for these keywords, effectively allowing you to spend less on those terms.
Your programmatic team will also have access to display placement reports which will provide insight into the publications and websites your in-market audience is visiting. This should then inform your target outreach list. From a paid social perspective, this team will have lots of useful information on what content performs the best — providing valuable insight for your PR brainstorms.
Amplifying your Digital PR coverage further
You shouldn’t just be working with other channel teams to define your strategy, you need to work with them throughout the whole process, to amplify results.
For instance, if you generate a truly fantastic piece of linking digital PR coverage, on a very credible publication. Whilst this will drive SEO performance and some brand awareness, in order to maximize the opportunity, and the valuable third-party validation, make it work even harder by amplifying through paid social.
Mini case study: Maryland cookies use PR to reach 5+ million people
Maryland came to us because they needed to align PR, programmatic, and paid social to drive mass awareness of their new Sugar-Free cookie and deliver an immediate surge in new customer sales. Through an integrated approach of PR, paid social, and programmatic, we reached 5.3 million people across all channels. View the case study here.
We have seen in past campaigns that by utilizing PR content as part of your social ads, not only can they actually perform better than the ad creative, but they can also help to prevent ad fatigue and provide you with additional assets (that you don’t need to pay anything extra for!).
Immediate steps to help your 2023 marketing plan
In order to be successful, it’s important to create a framework that helps to pull all channels together.
At Journey Further we use the ‘4Ds’ – Discover, Define, Develop, and Deliver.
This phase involves asking all the channels to provide insight and data based on their recent campaigns and learnings to date. It is recommended to assign a client lead who can be tasked with pulling together a list of questions and a briefing document to ensure the discovery phase is as useful as possible. This will help identify where the biggest opportunities are across channels.
Agree on the best objective and goals based on the insight provided by all channels. Create an overarching strategy that will deliver against them and drive maximum ROI.
Set a clear roadmap, with roles and responsibilities outlined across each channel. Whilst in the case of an organic growth strategy, SEO and PR will take the leading role, it’s important other channels are clear on the ways they can amplify the activity at each stage, and what learnings they can also gather from the activity to improve their own results in-channel.
Marketing activity is activated. If this is a digital PR campaign then influencer marketing and paid social tactics may be used for example, alongside outreach, to bolster the campaign and drive more buzz and engagement.
Reporting on the right metrics
Another benefit of working cross-channel is that you will be able to report on many more metrics, giving a more holistic and accurate view of ROI.
Creating a live, 24/7 reporting dashboard utilizing tools such as Data Studio will allow you and your team members to check in and monitor progress at all times. This will provide you with a continuous cycle of insight — to allow you to continuously improve your marketing efforts and deliver one overarching strategy that enables you to remain visible while also driving performance.
Beth Nunnington is the VP of Digital PR and Content Marketing at Journey Further, leading Digital PR strategy for the world’s leading brands. Her work has been featured in The Drum, PR Moment, and Prolific North. Find Beth on Twitter @BethNunnington.
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The post How to use digital PR and cross-channel data to amplify organic growth appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
- Has it become nearly impossible to cut through the noise of six million apps in app stores?
- For app marketing to be effective, it has to take into consideration the whole ecosystem that affects your app’s marketing performance
- Whether it is app store optimization (ASO) or combining organic and paid user acquisition, marketers need to look at data holistically and ask the right questions when analyzing app performance
- A successful app marketing strategy understands the correlation between ASO and paid user acquisition efforts
- You need to understand how your paid funnel impacts organic growth and vice versa
Whether you like it or not, apps have become a day-to-day standard for businesses and consumers. There is an app for everything, whether it is shopping, banking, travel, or gaming. In fact, a recent survey has found that 88 percent of mobile time is spent within apps.
According to Statista’s data from Q2 of 2022, there are more than six million apps across Google Playstore, Apple app store, and Amazon store.
That’s why marketing your app properly has never been more important and has become an integral part of a business’s marketing strategy. But for it to be effective, app marketing has to take into consideration the whole ecosystem that affects your app’s marketing performance. Whether it is app store optimization (ASO) or combining organic and paid user acquisition (for example, via Google App Campaigns and Apple Search Ads), marketers need to look at data holistically and ask the right questions when analyzing an app’s performance.
Here I will share some of the knowledge I have gained and tricks of the trade I have learned over the past 10 years in the marketing field.
Organic growth on its own won’t take you far
While a few years ago ASO may have been the most important part of your app marketing strategy, to stay competitive in the busy app marketing landscape, you need to power up your User Acquisition (UA) strategy. This does not mean that ASO is no longer important – it sure is – but it has to be combined with your paid user acquisition strategy for an app’s sustainable growth. Both organic and paid UA has the main goal to drive quality conversions while maintaining a low cost per conversion.
To start with, you need a solid ASO foundation to maintain a stream of high-quality users across channels. It is essential as the user will ultimately land in your app store listing. You are literally wasting your money if you haven’t invested time in ASO and optimizing your store listing.
Paid user acquisition can lead to more organic app installs. Ads will bring new attention to your app store listing. The more installs your app generates, the higher your app will be ranked in the app stores. As a result, it increases visibility across search results and browse sections. Due to increased visibility, more and more users will land in your organic store listing and download your app. Hence the growth loop continues!
A successful strategy is about understanding the correlation between ASO and paid user acquisition efforts. You need to understand how your paid funnel impacts organic growth and vice versa. At GAMEE, we have used App Radar’s all-in-one platform which has helped our team work together within one system and understand, as well as maximize, the impact of organic and paid user acquisition for both Google and Apple app stores.
Analyzing app performance
After putting a lot of effort into optimizing your UA, don’t just sit back and hope to see perfect results. Throughout the campaign, you should be analyzing your app’s performance and asking the right questions. You’d probably like to know how much growth your ASO efforts brought. Or was it your paid UA traffic that led to an increase or drop? It can be challenging to answer all these questions, especially considering many factors that can play a significant role. As an example, let’s look at a couple of scenarios.
Scenario one: A drop in app installs
Seeing a drop in installs? It might be concerning at first sight. However, the good news is that there is most probably an explanation for every decrease in installs. And for every problem, there is also a solution.
One crucial impact factor you need to consider is paid user acquisition efforts. When you notice a decrease in downloads, you should first check whether you had ads running during that specific time. Ads can bring a significant amount of traffic to your app, and once you stop or reduce them, this might have a substantial effect on your results. Check the correlation between organic and paid conversions, and then analyze how your paid conversions impact your total growth and understand whether an increase in installs might be due to reduced activity via paid channels.
What should you do now?
First, try to get a better picture of the situation by looking at the last 30 or 90 days timeframe and understanding how significant the impact was. If pausing, for example, your Google App Campaigns greatly decreased your installs, you should consider re-activating the ads.
Scenario two: An increase in app installs
This is the result we are all aiming for. Ideally, you’d want this to continue throughout and beyond your marketing campaign. But for that, you need to know what was impacting the increase. Transferring and attributing success from one place to another can be tricky if you do not know where the success is coming from.
Your best bet would be to look at the conversion breakdown to help you find the answer. Is it Google Ads, Apple Search Ads, another paid channel, or ASO? If you run a campaign via a paid channel at the same time as the installs increased then it is most likely that that was what influenced your overall app growth. It is worth also evaluating which ad platform is the most efficient. Do you get a better cost per conversion with a paid channel? To get an idea of whether your app is performing better or worse, you may want to compare the figures with previous campaigns – How did your impressions, conversions, and costs perform compared to the previous period? Taking all of this into account will help you determine whether you should change your focus or make tweaks to your campaign.
Three takeaways from GAMEE’s experience
At GAMEE we have learned that there are three elements every app marketer should never stop working on:
It is the end-point to all of your app activities. Every dollar and hour invested elsewhere can be multiplied by a good ASO strategy and approach. This is where our use of App Radar’s platform was extremely valuable in maximizing our campaigns.
Use custom app store listings (where possible), various combinations of paid ad networks, and app store A/B tests to get the best results.
Pick the audience, markets, regions, and/or demographics you need to win and focus your ASO and paid channels on them.
While analyzing the impact of paid and organic user acquisition is no easy task, the one thing you don’t want to do is put all your eggs in one basket. You can’t rely on just organic UA or just paid UA. For a successful app marketing strategy, both areas have to work in tandem. Your campaign should also allow room for testing. This enables you to tweak and pivot strategy as you go, and tailor it for your target audience. Trust me, if properly managed your app will soon be reaping your strategy’s benefits.
Jan Gemrich is Chief Marketing Officer at GAMEE, a high-engagement play-to-earn gaming platform, that attracts over 30 million users. GAMEE is part of Animoca brands which is a leading blockchain gaming company. Jan previously worked for 9+ years at Google, based out of Prague, London, and Toronto, where he was responsible for user growth (Google Pay, Android, Search) and the launch of new products (Pixel, Stadia, etc).
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ServiceMax, a company that builds software for the field-service industry, announced yesterday that it will go public via a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, in a deal valued at $ 1.4 billion. The transaction comes after ServiceMax was sold to GE for $ 915 million in 2016, before being spun out in late 2018. The company most recently raised $ 80 million from Salesforce Ventures, a key partner.
Broadly, ServiceMax’s business has a history of modest growth and cash consumption.
ServiceMax competes in the growing field-service industry primarily with ServiceNow, and interestingly enough given Salesforce Ventures’ recent investment, Salesforce Service Cloud. Other large enterprise vendors like Microsoft, SAP and Oracle also have similar products. The market looks at helping digitize traditional field service, but also touches on in-house service like IT and HR giving it a broader market in which to play.
GE originally bought the company as part of a growing industrial Internet of Things (IoT) strategy at the time, hoping to have a software service that could work hand in glove with the automated machine maintenance it was looking to implement. When that strategy failed to materialize, the company spun out ServiceMax and until now it remained part of Silver Lake Partners thanks to a deal that was finalized in 2019.
TechCrunch was curious why that was the case, so we dug into the company’s investor presentation for more hints about its financial performance. Broadly, ServiceMax’s business has a history of modest growth and cash consumption. It promises a big change to that storyline, though. Here’s how.
A look at the data
The company’s pitch to investors is that with new capital it can accelerate its growth rate and begin to generate free cash flow. To get there, the company will pursue organic (in-house) and inorganic (acquisition-based) growth. The company’s blank-check combination will provide what the company described as “$ 335 million of gross proceeds,” a hefty sum for the company compared to its most recent funding round.
TechCrunch is trying to help you find the best growth marketer to work with through founder recommendations that we get in this survey. We’re sharing a few of our favorites so far, below.
We’re using your recommendations to find top experts to interview and have them write their own columns here. This week we talked to Kathleen Estreich and Emily Kramer of new growth advising firm MKT1 and veteran designer Scott Tong, and published a pair of articles by growth marketing agency Demand Curve.
Demand Curve: Email marketing tactics that convert subscribers into customers — Growth marketing firm Demand Curve shares their approaches to subject line length, the three outcomes of an email and how to optimize your format for each outcome.
(Extra Crunch) Demand Curve: 7 ad types that increase click-through rates — The growth marketing agency tells us how to use customer reactions and testimonials, and other ads types to a startup’s advantage.
MKT1: Developer marketing is what startup marketing should look like — MKT1, co-founded by Kathleen Estreich, previously at Facebook, Box, Intercom and Scalyr, and Emily Kramer, previously at Ticketfly, Asana, Astro and Carta, tell us about the importance of finding the right marketer at the right time, and the biggest mistakes founders are still making in 2021.
The pandemic showed why product and brand design need to sit together — Scott Tong shares the importance of understanding users and his thoughts on how companies manage to work together collaboratively in a remote world.
(Extra Crunch) 79% more leads without more traffic: Here’s how we did it — Conversion rate optimization expert Jasper Kuria shared a detailed case study deconstructing the CRO techniques he used to boost conversion rates by nearly 80% for China Expat Health, a lead generation company.
This week’s recommended growth marketers
As always, if you have a top-tier marketer that you think we should know about, tell us!
Marketer: Dipti Parmar
Recommended by: Brody Dorland, co-founder, DivvyHQ
Testimonial: “She gave me an easy-to-implement plan to start with clear outcomes and timeline. She delivered it within one month and I was able to see the results in a couple of months. This encouraged me to hand over bigger parts of our content strategy and publishing to her.”
Marketer: Amy Konefal (Closed Loop)
Recommended by: Dan Reardon, Vudu
Testimonial: “Amy drove scale for us as we grew to a half-billion-dollar company. She identified and exploited efficiencies and built out a rich portfolio of channels.”
Marketer: Karl Hughes (draft.dev)
Recommended by: Joshua Shulman, Bitmovin.com
Testimonial: “Karl is incredibly knowledgeable in the field of content and growth marketing to a large (and equally niche) target audience of developers. He and his team at Draft.dev are some of the best at “developer marketing,” which is a greatly underrated target audience.”
Recommended by: Anonymous
Testimonial: “They really get what I need. By testing different messaging on different personas, we discover what works and what doesn’t to better understand our users and prospects. This is gold for a company at our stage. Showing those results to our investors blew their minds.”
Another week, another unicorn IPO. This time, Sprinklr is taking on the public markets.
The New York-based software company works in what it describes as the customer experience market. After attracting over $ 400 million in capital while private, its impending debut will not only provide key returns to a host of venture capitalists but also more evidence that New York’s startup scene has reached maturity. (More evidence here.)
The Exchange explores startups, markets and money.
Sprinklr last raised a $ 200 million round at a $ 2.7 billion valuation in September 2020. That round, as TechCrunch reported, also included a host of secondary shares and $ 150 million in convertible notes. Inclusive of the latter instrument, Sprinklr’s total capital raised to date soars above the $ 500 million mark.
Sure, Robinhood didn’t file last week as many folks hoped, but the Sprinklr IPO ensures that we’ll have more than just SPACs to chat about in the coming days. But one thing at a time. Let’s discuss what Sprinklr does for a living.
Sprinklr’s IPO filing and corporate website suffer from a slight case of corporate speak, so we have some work to do this morning to determine what the company does. Here’s what the company says about itself in its filing:
Sprinklr empowers the world’s largest and most loved brands to make their customers happier.
We do this with a new category of enterprise software — Unified Customer Experience Management, or Unified-CXM — that enables every customer-facing function across the front office, from Customer Care to Marketing, to collaborate across internal silos, communicate across digital channels, and leverage a complete suite of modern capabilities to deliver better, more human customer experiences at scale — all on one unified, AI-powered platform.
Not very clear, yeah? Don’t worry, I’ve got you. Here’s what the company actually does:
- Despite 2020’s challenges, ecommerce sales increased over the 2020 holiday — up 49 percent over 2019, pointing to a dramatic shift in 2021.
- Brands employed new strategies, like curbside pick-up, to increase shopper’s comfort levels in the midst of a pandemic.
- To leverage large quantities of customer data from multiple sources, brands will seek solutions that enable them to extract value from the data to drive intelligent decisions on delivering the right products at the right time at scale.
- Despite the explosive growth of ecommerce brands must continue to invest in multichannel business models, optimizing the customer experience both in-store and online.
- Retailers can boost ecommerce growth even more in 2021 by using AI to deliver highly relevant customer experiences.
It’s impossible to sum up 2020 in one word, but “unpredictable” is a good place to start. Looking back to last January, very few of us could foresee a pandemic that would sweep across the globe. As a new year starts, we’re all looking ahead with hope for a return to normalcy. Travel, hospitality, and retail were a few of the hardest hit business sectors in 2020. However, even before the pandemic, retail was going through a “reset” or “transformation” which some called the retail apocalypse. The pandemic accelerated ecommerce growth and the transition as consumers turned to online shopping, with their favorite stores temporarily shuttered and then for their health and safety as they re-opened.
As the 2020 holidays approached, no one could predict how it would play out. Given the economic downturn due to business closures, unemployment, and the subsequent drop in consumer confidence, would the holidays, normally the yearly peak shopping period, be a bust? We now have some answers thanks to a new Mastercard SpendingPulse report which provides insight on 2020’s holiday retail sales. According to the report, total retail sales increased by three percent over the 2020 holiday shopping season, which expanded (October 11-December 24) due to early sales and special offers. Even more impressive is the growth of online sales, which were up by 49 percent as compared to 2019. This very rapid ecommerce growth did come with some hiccups, including a crushing number of packages leading to shipping delays at public and private carriers, including the USPS and UPS. However, this doesn’t take away from the promising and continued growth of online shopping among digital-first and multichannel brands going forward.
Retailers proactively worked to make shopping safer and more convenient for customers, leaning heavily on strategies such as Buy Online Pick-up In-store (BOPIS) and leveraging technologies that enabled contactless pick-up. Among the most surprising findings in Mastercard’s report was how well the home furniture/furnishings and home improvement sectors performed over the holidays. Online sales of home furniture/furnishings increased by 31 percent and ecommerce sales of home improvement items were up by nearly 80 percent. This growth may be attributed to generous sales and offers, or that consumers had been “window shopping” for some time and took advantage of holiday sales to click “buy”.
Regardless of the factors that contributed to the enormous growth of ecommerce, it’s imperative that brands continue to invest in their multichannel business models by optimizing the shopping experience both instore and online, nurturing and deepening relationships with customers who are new to shopping online and their longtime VIP patrons as well.
Looking ahead, brands will be using what they learned from a year of ups and downs and applying these lessons to the new year. Keeping in mind that driving continual business growth takes much more than sales, coupons, and offers, there are four key trends that brands should seriously consider as they map out business strategies and roadmap for 2021:
1. Consumers will expect instant gratification when sharing their data
Consumers will continue to grow more comfortable sharing preference data with brands so long as they receive value from the exchange. They will also increasingly expect relevant experiences to modulate in real-time, with consumers receiving almost instant gratification for their data sharing. Consumers will grow less loyal to brands they engage with but relevancy will be a key differentiator and source of revenue-driving value for companies.
2. Brands will begin using multiple sources of data to create value for customers on the fly
Brands have more data than ever – on their customers, products, sales and purchases and from a multitude of channels including online, in-store, in-app, via email, third party, etc. We know that having the data isn’t synonymous with deriving value from the data as it oftentimes exists in silos, in different structures or schemas and accessible to different teams within an organization. Brands will need to look for solutions that unlock vast quantities of data from multiple sources to enable decisions over what and when to show to a customer; and then execute that decision at a web-scale. In other words, brands will begin to use exactly the right data at exactly the right time to amplify and extend their abilities to create immediate value for their customers
3. Retailers will increase focus on data privacy compliance as this issue continues to gain momentum
As brands collect more customer data and look for ways to best unlock its value to power relevance, ensuring compliance with various laws and regulations becomes more complex/difficult, especially when operating across different geographies. Brands will continue to focus on properly and regularly assessing their organization’s compliance with GDPR, CCPA, and various other evolving regulations, which includes vendors and third-party applications that organizations work with.
4. Brands will lean more on AI-powered product recommendation solutions to generate revenue and online sales
One way in which brands can create real-time relevancy is through better enabling product discovery with product recommendations. With so many channels and so much information being pushed to consumers, the ability to help them find and discover the items of most interest to them has become paramount. Product recommendations are ubiquitous across ecommerce and typically account for two-to-three percent of ecommerce revenue. However, traditional recommendations powered by collaborative filtering don’t really provide the most relevant product selection to the customer as they’re anchored on a product-to-product relationship. Solutions such as Google Product Recs-powered deep learning adapt to real-time in-session behavior of the customer, anchored on the individual’s shopping journey, and use key context (such as time spent on a product, the order in which products are browsed, and more) to adjust to changes in signals of buying intent.
We predict companies will look more closely at personalized product recommendations to deliver more value to customers and in turn, drive significantly more revenue for the business compared to traditional recommendations.
As a new year begins and we regain some of the normalcy we lost in 2020, brands must not waste the opportunity to forge even deeper relationships with new and existing customers. Retailers supplied shoppers with the products they needed during the height of a pandemic, confirming their commitment to their customers and building a bond of trust that will continue long after COVID-19 is history.
Tracey Ryan O’Connor is Chief Revenue Officer at Qubit.
The post Leveraging customer data and AI to drive ecommerce growth in 2021 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
- With remote work and the peak season coming in, creating an internal communication plan has become a massive priority for upper management to facilitate great teamwork.
- How can companies create internal communication plans that not only work in the short term but can also be utilized for years to come to achieve steady team growth?
- Eight great steps to improve your SMB digital marketing team’s internal communication plan and optimize successful outcomes.
Creating an internal communication plan has become a massive priority this year.
With more companies working remotely, documenting processes and making them accessible to teams has taken precedence over many other tasks.
Since team members cannot walk over to each other’s desks for a quick chat, it has become key for upper management to determine how best to facilitate teamwork.
How can companies create internal communication plans that not only work in the short term but can also be utilized for years to come to achieve steady team growth?
We share a step by step guide that will help marketing teams communicate better in the long run.
1. Audit established internal communication plans
Before you go steaming ahead to create a new internal communication plan, you need to look at what you already have—or whether you have something at all.
Analyze your documentation to see whether you have the most up-to-date information. Examine your process flow to determine whether obstacles are being overlooked.
Study how effective your former communication plans had been—did you reach the goals set out for it? If not, what areas require improvement?
It’s also worth creating a company-wide survey to get a better understanding of where your employees think the company is.
Are they comfortable with the way communication is handled? Would they prefer changes in a particular area?
A thorough audit, like in the example below, will make it much easier to start creating an internal communication plan that helps your company grow.
2. Internal communication plan metrics
Now that you’ve determined what worked and didn’t in your previous internal communication plans—or that you do need one—you need to determine metrics for it.
Some metrics to aim for include:
- Employee reach
- Employee engagement rates
- Employee retention rates
- Message open rates
- Message click rates
- Level of productivity
- Employee net promoter score
- Revenue increase
Your SMB may not be focused on all of these metrics—but you should aim for at least a few of these in your initial plans.
You don’t want to have a narrow focus such as increasing productivity rates that don’t improve engagement or revenue.
Instead, choose a set of metrics that you can calculate, and that won’t be unattainable, like the open rate below used by Contact Monkey.
3. Setting goals for internal communication plans
Miscommunication can cost SMBs an average of $ 420K in losses, found SHRM. Which is why internal communication plans are so necessary.
When you determine your metrics, you also need to set goals for your company and how the internal communication plan will tie into those goals.
How do you choose a goal for your plan that will help your marketing team grow? By using the SMART goal-setting method:
- Be specific about what you want to accomplish, and use simple language to convey it
- Choose a measurable goal that you can analyze
- Make the goal attainable so your communications don’t aim for something you can’t get
- Your goal should be relevant to the team and your overarching company goal
- The goal should also be time-based so that your plan doesn’t miss deadlines
Here’s a visual overview of SMART goals that your team can refer to in the future.
4. Identify internal communication plan stakeholders
No matter the size of your company or marketing team, your internal communication plan needs to be targeted towards specific stakeholders.
This is because not all messages are relevant to every member of the team.
The way a website design team functions will differ from the PR team, or social media team, like in this example.
You also don’t want to bombard other teams with marketing information that won’t be important to them.
Creating a one-size-fits-all plan for your company will only cause more misunderstandings—that is why you need to outline your target audience before creating a plan.
Use behavioral targeting methods to understand how, when, and why your team members need to be reached. This will make communication more effective.
5. Brand your internal communication plan
Branding is an essential part of external communications, but it should also be acknowledged for internal communication plans.
While brand symbols like logos, colors, and fonts are meant to evoke a connection between companies and consumers, it’s also necessary to maintain consistency within the company.
Branding ensures that your team is seeing the same message design internally and on your external channels.
So, make sure your internal newsletters and your business letter template, like this example, are updated regularly to reflect your branding styles.
But remember that branding isn’t just about the visual appearance of your company—your tone and messaging should also be consistent in your communications.
Don’t adopt a serious tone internally, only to be jovial with customers—your team is in many ways a customer, as well.
Your messaging should also be consistent—don’t tell external parties something that your marketing team doesn’t already know.
6. Design the internal communication process
One of the key aspects of an internal communication plan is workflow—your team should know whom they need to send content and strategies for approvals.
You should include a flow chart in your plan—these demystify approval processes so team members send their material to the right people in the right order.
7. Channels to implement internal communication
There are numerous channels where you can implement your internal communication plan:
- Internal newsletter
- Closed social media groups
- Project management tools
- Slack, or similar alternatives
- Video conference calls
Most of these channels are completely free to create and maintain but some of them can be time-consuming, as you can see from this chart.
Emails aren’t as instantaneous as they used to be and many people have found themselves using them solely for external purposes.
On the other hand, instant messaging tools have allowed remote workers to keep in touch with each other and respond immediately.
Your SMB may not have the ability to institute an intranet, but you may be able to design newsletters to send to your team.
Include which channels you will be using in your plan and for what kind of communication so that team members are aligned and know where to reach out for responses.
8. Regularly evaluate your internal communication plan
If you think your job is done because you’ve created your internal communication plan, I’m afraid that isn’t the end of it.
Your plan will need to change to reflect your marketing team’s structure, your company’s new goals, and even the external environment.
Be prepared to assess the following on an annual basis:
- Email open rates
- Click-through rates
- Channels used
- Feedback from your team
- Common barriers
- Areas for improvement
Once you determine how these areas have performed you can redesign your communication plan.
Conclusion: Create an internal communication plan that keeps your team aligned
Creating an internal communication plan that works takes time and energy. You will also need to A/B test your tools and processes to define the ones that work best for your company.
To recap, here’s how you can create an internal communication plan that works:
- Audit your current plans
- Choose your metrics
- Set plan goals
- Identify stakeholders
- Brand your documents
- Design the process
- Choose your channels
- Evaluate your plan
By following these steps, you can create an internal communication plan that will help your marketing team become aligned with your company.
Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, the online infographic maker and design platform. Ronita regularly writes about marketing, sales, and small businesses.
The post Internal communication plan: How SMB marketing teams can achieve growth appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Traditionally, measuring business success requires a greater understanding of your company’s go-to-market lifecycle, how customers engage with your product and the macro-dynamics of your market. But in the most challenging environment in decades, those metrics are out the window.
Enterprise application and SaaS companies are changing their approach to measuring performance and preparing to grow when the economy begins to recover. While there are no blanket rules or guidance that applies to every business, company leaders need to focus on a few critical metrics to understand their performance and maximize their opportunities. This includes understanding their burn rate, the overall real market opportunity, how much cash they have on hand and their access to capital. Analyzing the health of the company through these lenses will help leaders make the right decisions on how to move forward.
Play the game with the hand you were dealt. Earlier this year, our company closed a $ 40 million Series C round of funding, which left us in a strong cash position as we entered the market slowdown in March. Nonetheless, as the impact of COVID-19 became apparent, one of our board members suggested that we quickly develop a business plan that assumed we were running out of money. This would enable us to get on top of the tough decisions we might need to make on our resource allocation and the size of our staff.
While I understood the logic of his exercise, it is important that companies develop and execute against plans that reflect their actual situation. The reality is, we did raise the money, so we revised our plan to balance ultra-conservative forecasting (and as a trained accountant, this is no stretch for me!) with new ideas for how to best utilize our resources based on the market situation.
Burn rate matters, but not at the expense of your culture and your talent. For most companies, talent is both their most important resource and their largest expense. Therefore, it’s usually the first area that goes under the knife in order to reduce the monthly spend and optimize efficiency. Fortunately, heading into the pandemic, we had not yet ramped up hiring to support our rapid growth, so were spared from having to make enormously difficult decisions. We knew, however, that we would not hit our 2020 forecast, which required us to make new projections and reevaluate how we were deploying our talent.
SMBs working to accelerate digital growth encounter a variety of challenges across internal operations, marketing platforms, site properties, and competitors. Part of the path to growth is identifying and prioritizing those challenges, which can be tough without looking at the right reports and metrics.
In this post, we’ll dig into four areas that often uncover growth blockers and explain how to assess the opportunities that overcoming them would present.
1. Site issues
Growth, in the advertising budget and in awareness, brings more demand on your site. This means more users, more tracking and tagging, and other factors that can affect site speed, which is a huge factor in user experience. One of the best tools out there to test site speed is Google’s PageSpeed Insight tool, which provides great data and insights on your site speed and user experience on mobile and desktop. In general, Google recommends site speeds between two-to-five seconds, and this is considering the faster end of that range in mind. Anything beyond that, and you’re losing money from users bouncing.
Beyond site speed, the way users digest and navigate your site may not be optimal. Although there’s a lot you can glean from click paths in Google Analytics, heat maps are a relatively tried-and-true way to understand:
- How users are interacting with your site
- Where they’re getting stuck
- Where you should relocate your most valuable CTAs and messaging
We’ve seen numerous clients improve CVR by over 20% with rapid testing cycles on top pages.
2. Internal obstacles
You can promise your users the world in your ad campaigns, but without aligning expectations with current internal challenges, that will only build a base of frustrated customers.
B2B companies may have slower-than-expected turnaround times to contact leads that your ads generate, ecommerce companies may experience inventory issues with best-selling products. If your ads are promising same-day calls that get placed weeks later or if you’re offering fast shipping of out-of-stock products, you’ve used ad spend to create a tide of negative sentiment.
Make sure you’re syncing with internal teams to understand challenges that may require you to adjust messaging, or even slow down/pause ad spend while the issues are being sorted out. Especially considering we’re in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, this is more important than ever for sites selling physical products whose supply chain has been affected.
3. Creative chaos
Images, headlines, descriptions, landing pages, ratios, messaging themes – each element can be a factor in attracting and optimizing user engagement, which makes prioritization of testing complicated. The creation of a testing calendar that aligns with your media plan is incredibly important. If you’re new to testing, start slowly and test one variable at a time to keep results clear. If you’ve got some testing experience under your belt and have the requisite budget and expertise, consider adopting a multivariate testing tool to help you execute a rapid testing schedule that will provide both insights and greater performance.
4. Competitive pressures
The challenge that lurks for companies in every growth stage and vertical is competition. More than simply driving up CPCs on Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn, competition requires marketers to consider things like:
- Cheaper brand clicks vs net-new non-brand users
- Acquisition vs less-costly remarketing campaigns
It also requires frequent analysis of how the competitive landscape is changing – new entries, new messaging, new price points and offers. SMBs especially need to clearly articulate their advantages over better-known competitors to give themselves a chance to carve out market share in the face of rising costs.
Of the types of challenges outlined above, only competitive pressures are somewhat beyond your company’s control. Make sure to plan out your cadence of site analysis, internal check-ins, and creative testing roadmaps to keep your own house in order and position yourself to meet competitive challenges that arise.
Lauren Crain is a Client Services Lead in 3Q Digital’s SMB division, 3Q Incubate.
The post How to identify and address the four biggest digital growth challenges appeared first on Search Engine Watch.