No, this isn’t your average digital marketing listicle listing three SaaS tools the author is partial to (or paid for). Instead, we’re going to be discussing three tools that all businesses need to – absolutely should – make use of to further their marketing goals.
The tools themselves – webinars, analytics, and packaging – are seemingly unrelated and generalized in application. Indeed, “tools might not even be the right word; I’m guilty of using it categorically here. Yet, taken unto themselves, these three are very effective as part of a whole marketing process.
- Webinars: These are arguably technical. You may be considering how they might help.
- Analytics: You’re already “using” them. More precisely, you definitely have some in place.
- Packaging: Don’t think only physical products can be packaged. Duh.
So let’s take a closer look…
Let’s get a small technicality out of the way: A webinar is a web seminar – an online event. It is a digital gathering of organizers, speakers, and attendees. A webcast is a broadcast – audio or visual – of an actual existing (physical) event. Apple routinely uses HD webcasts to launch its latest products and to broadcast keynotes at live conferences. So does Google. For the purpose of this post, we’ll use the terms interchangeably, because a webinar can also be a recorded webcast.
Webinars are inexpensive but very effective tools of engagement that go a long way in generating leads. People who register for webinars and webcasts want to have access to high-value content from the comfort of their homes or offices. In return for this convenience, they’re willing to share personal details like name, email address, age, occupation, etc.
Smart marketers can then segment and use this data to create customer profiles and personas that can be targeted at each stage of the sales funnel. Consequently, webinars are one of the most effective content marketing channels:
Webinars and webcasts have gained widespread acceptance and popularity over the past few years, but still there is a hesitant majority dithering at the fence. Some businesses avoid webinars, as not everyone is comfortable speaking to a large audience, even though it’s digital. These businesses can collaborate and team up with domain experts who are good speakers and presenters.
Others assume that hosting a webinar is a technically demanding exercise. However, only creating the content for a webinar is a difficult task. Product demonstration needs domain experts, not pleasing personalities. The challenge sometimes lies in finding the right person who can engage the audience well.
Other than helping convert prospects into customers, webinars have a lot of advantages. They can help compound your credibility and thought leadership efforts. Webinars give an opportunity to the businesses to build trust by sharing new ideas live, and showcasing their expertise and knowledge.
Webinars have a long lifespan. They make excellent reference material as they can be archived and indexed, not unlike blog posts. According to Erin Kell of Trew Marketing, webinars are not a once-and-done marketing effort. Your recorded webinar can be viewed on demand for months – or even years – to come, and can continue to generate leads. For multinational companies, doing training webinars is very helpful as employees can access those videos anytime. Training programs can thus reach a global workforce in a very cost-effective way.
The more granular tracking you have, the easier it becomes to identify problems, compare solutions, and estimate costs. You can also segregate different marketing activities and calculate the ROI of each campaign. For instance, here’s a typical process used to follow a person from source to conversion for digital marketing campaigns:
The ultimate success of analytics lies in breaking the data into simple one-line messages and to-do lists. Make your analytics less theoretical and more actionable. Don’t sugarcoat your words – use statistics to narrow down a problem and always recommend a solution at the end.
Let’s say your data shows that people are not happy about the quality of customer service in a particular store. The data in itself is always quite complex and difficult to comprehend, and after analysis it seems like a labyrinthine mess. However, a good manager would know how to make sense of this chaotic knowledge and extract true value from the data by breaking it down further until actionable, task-oriented solutions emerge. Here’s a classic example of how to report your findings to the store manager:
We would like to bring to your attention the fact that our recent social media analysis suggested that 40% of user interactions across our social media networks were grievances. Further investigation revealed:
- A disproportionate share of complaints were about customer service in the Bay Area store. The first three of a series of critical threads involved this store.
- Complaints are significantly higher in the apparel department: 23% of products sold are returned. The next highest are: 3.1% in home supplies and 2.8% in electronics.
- Complaints are correlated with age: 51% of 45 to 54 year olds are not happy with their purchases.
- Both men and women have complaints proportionate to items sold.
- Complaints aren’t correlated with ethnicity.
We recommend re-evaluating quality of clothing products for middle-age customers as well as customer service in the apparel department for problems and broken processes.
Packaging is a great opportunity to extend branding. Packaging choices can help drive conversions by encouraging positive reviews and repeat customers, offering you another opportunity to get it right with your best customers.
Packaging is about presentation. The days when any brown box would do are behind us: crisply-packaging products in safe, quality materials is the bare minimum for most e-retailers, and branded packaging that’s in line with your brand identity will appear in unboxing videos on YouTube (which routinely get half a million views and sometimes over 2 million), extending your brand’s reach. Packaging is part of the user experience.
Tony Foster, sales & marketing director for DS Smith’s UK packaging division, recently helped natural skincare brand Dr Organic create a new suite of packaging to support its e-retail. His insight:
“Retailers and brands in the e-retail space ensure product availability and delivery, while at the same time creating innovative packaging solutions that will bring the brand experience into the home.”
Making the package a pleasure can help drive brand identity and trigger brand advocacy, as in the case of Birchbox.
Birchbox’s packaging – thoughtful, stylish, and on-brand – ensures a great response from its customers, including the 93,000 or so who chose to upload the experience to YouTube.
Packaging affects conversion prior to purchase if the packaging is shown in product images. After purchase it strongly affects repeat customers and can go on to affect new customers through reputation and social reviews as well as social media exposure. In-packaging marketing messages also offer a further opportunity to retarget.
Make packaging work for your business by enhancing customer satisfaction, strengthening brand identity, and encouraging repeat customers. Here are some tips on how to get it right:
- Product care: Customers’ first concern is product safety. Choosing or custom-ordering packaging that ensures product safety means you’ll satisfy the fifth of consumers who currently receive substandard packaging. Packaging that still looks crisp when it arrives will help make a better first impression. Careful packaging choices can also help prevent “cube-out,” where oversize boxes fill delivery vehicles well below their maximal weight.
- Branding: There’s one big difference between shopping online and shopping in-store: no matter how crystal-clear your photos, how captivating and vetted the design of your identity, how enticing your product descriptions and web copy, or how persuasive and compulsive your landing pages, your customers have never had a tactile interaction with your brand until their package arrives (or finishes downloading).
- Customer retention: Most subscription services include retargeting and CRM for increased customer lifetime value in the form of questionnaires, quizzes, free e-books, and other content in the box itself. Increasingly, that’s going to be a huge opportunity for e-commerce to add another layer of channel-agnostic retention. Some commentators are even predicting it won’t be long before packaging includes sensor technology!
Over to you
Going back to where we started – had you thought about webinars, analytics, and packaging in the ways discussed here? Do you think your own strategies need a revisit? How will you integrate these dissimilar, isolated tactics into your overall marketing process? How will you prioritize them?
Online and in-person sales and marketing processes that support one another produce happier customers and higher profits. Learn more about Our Digital Planet: See It, Click It, Touch It, Buy It.