We develop blindness towards all sorts of advertising. When first introduced online, banner ads achieved a 50-90% CTR. Now the majority of people can’t stand them. Marketing effectiveness demands a change.
It’s not so much that various methods of marketing are inherently ineffective. It’s just that people get used to them, so marketers need to innovate. Data-driven marketing is one result of this ever-present need for change.
Why You Need to Have Data-Driven Marketing
The proliferation of information in our time might lead you to believe that companies are using data all the time in their marketing. However, they are not.
The Harvard Business Review reports that while infographics are now fairly standard, very few of them portray data that tells an original story. Marketers tend to use data for their own decision-making, but not for creating content that adds value to their customers.
That’s really too bad because the insight data offers can be quite interesting and even enriching. Solid, data-driven content gives your company credibility. If you have reliable facts backing up your opinions, people will see you as trustworthy. Another advantage is that your own knowledge will increase as you share information with other influencers.
Data can also have a lot of power simply from the fact that much content on the internet is mediocre. If your content has integrity—if it is original and accurate—it will stand out.
The companies that are best at marketing with data use it to appeal to people’s emotions. They present their data in format that is interesting to look at (hence the popularity of infographics), and ideally they put the information in the context of a story.Quote source
For the Google Trends “Year in Search 2015,” Google did an amazing job at turning data into a compelling story. The company presented the top searches of the year through a brief video. The opening text says, “In 2015 the questions we asked revealed who we are.”
The video goes on to show the questions people searched, such as “how can i help the refugees” and “how can we overcome prejudice,” interspersing the questions with pertinent footage from the year. The video used data not only to tell the individual stories behind the searches but also to tie them together into a larger narrative of unity within diversity.
Businesses run into trouble implementing data effectively for a number of reasons. First, there is simply an overwhelming amount of it. It can be difficult to know how to sort through and productively utilize all of a company’s accessible information.
Another potential pitfall is that sometimes those in charge incorrectly estimate the costs of gathering data. Sometimes information isn’t gathered correctly or analyzed thoroughly, and often there is poor or no communication across departments.
Silos are in fact a significant challenge to success, especially in larger companies. The larger a company grows, the greater the challenge to be unified and to communicate well about any goal. It’s also easy for businesses to lose sight of their goals if they are not relying on data for what their priorities should be and whether or not they are sidetracked from them.
It is critical to remember that data is not a solution in and of itself; it needs to be reliable. Kimberly Whitler of Forbes states, “If the data is bad—disorganized, incomplete, inconsistent, out of date—then the resulting decisions will be bad, too.” That’s why it’s important to have people at your company who understand how to find, analyze, and organize trustworthy data.
How to Leverage Data Effectively
As you seek to leverage data-driven content for your business, there are some specific principles you should keep in mind.
First, be strategic. Choose your data team carefully; it’s extremely valuable to have people from different departments and perspectives. Have a clear idea of your goals and KPIs so that you are mining your data with purpose.
Know the best channels to tap for the data you’re trying to attain. Is your audience primarily on Twitter? Then don’t waste time gathering information from Facebook or Instagram. Have good analytics models in place, as well as metrics with which to measure your results.
It should go without saying that your data should be as accurate as possible. Once you’ve collected enough information, use it to build customer personas that will lead to customer-focused content. Avoid silos by having cross-company goals, and evaluate and re-evaluate the data as you collect it.
Remember, data is most interesting and valuable to your customers when it is presented with visually appealing, quality content. Fortunately, quality content is exactly what Google is looking for and is one of the main ways you can get Google to index your site.
Neil Patel notes that having a blog is one important way to increase site traffic: “websites with blogs get an average of 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links.”
Good content is interesting enough on its own, but having evidence to back up the content makes your position even more powerful. It’s also worth observing that Patel uses multiple infographics throughout his article, making use of their widespread appeal.
People Crave Insight into the World
People love to learn new information, especially if that information tells them something about who they are and is presented in a fresh way. Effective data-driven content will boost the power of your marketing because of its ability to make the truth interesting.
During the past three years, desktop internet usage has declined from 90% to 60%, while mobile internet usage soared to 40%. If this trend continues, and it seems that it is likely to do so, mobile internet usage will soon surpass desktop internet usage.
The general approach used by most designers when designing for mobile devices is to create a responsive smaller version of their desktop website. This approach, however, is not the ideal strategy for designing mobile sites. Instead of merely scaling down a website, it is best to assess the client’s business and how important mobile accessibility is for their users.
The challenge for web designers nowadays is how they can design for various mobile devices which come in various different sizes. Here are a few best practices in creating better, more intuitive, and user friendly mobile user experience:
Provide Clear and Concise Content
Mobile users are typically on the go. This, combined with relatively smaller screens, makes it necessary to feature web content that is easy to read. Minimalism is key, with each web page having just one central focus.
For atypical gestures, such as a swipe to go to the next page or a horizontal scroll, make it easy for users to use these features by adding a small arrow or a hovering message.
Keep Menus and Navigation Simple
Unlike desktop websites with a menu bar at the top of their pages, mobile sites need something more compact to fit in the smaller screen. Instead of a menu bar, use a drop down accordion or icon on the top left or right of the mobile screen as your menu.
Refrain from having multi-level menus with sub menus that appear on hover and ensure that everything is accessible to mobile users.
Consider All Mobile Device Layouts
Image source: bradfrost.com
Always keep in mind that mobile devices come in several different dimensions. Don’t just design for a 320-pixel width, design for other sizes as well, like 176, 240, 320, 360, and 480 to 600 pixels for landscape.
You will need to make sure that your web layout is flexible and fluid so it displays properly on various screen sizes.
Focus on Touch Inputs and Gestures
Today’s mobile devices no longer come with a keyboard and a mouse, and the primary mode of interaction is touch so you will need to design for touch.
In doing so, it is vital that you consider the different sizes, shapes, and pressures of fingers to mobile device touch screens and ensure that buttons, forms, and other elements that require touch input are large enough so there would be no overlap with adjacent elements.
Product management training instructors from Product School stress the importance of users in determining product design and the same applies to mobile web UX.
By keeping these things in mind as you design for mobile users, you are then able to provide a more efficient and positive experience to your mobile users which will also help your clients in building trust among their target audience.
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..it always comes back to your content. You should really create content that helps the people in your niche.
Make sure your content stands out from the crowd. Some great free resources for this:
- HARO (Help A Reporter Out)
- My Blog U
- Source Bottle
Check out my case studies at Internet Marketing Gym