Musings and ramblings of a digital agency.

As someone who has consulted for over two decades developing and implementing digital strategies, and making the most out of marketing technology and campaigns, a consistent question I get asked is “how can we get more out of what we are already doing without spending more advertising money?”

It appears that many companies are stuck only repeating prior proven tactics or, worse still, are locked into the ongoing paid cycle to drive more traffic to their websites, to ultimately reach a bigger audience and hopefully get as many of them to purchase.   

Thanks to technology, real-time connectivity, and an increasing amount of data being available (more than most brands actually have the capacity or capability to use), it is now possible to finely tune and filter to target audiences with micro-precision, meaning all brands are able to better reach their desired audiences with greater relevance. Yet, the cost to drive this traffic is not getting any cheaper.  

With a current average click cost for Google Ads ($2.32) and Facebook ($1.72) or a bargain on Google Display ($0.58), many companies are simply caught up trying to outspend their competitors, and with global digital advertising spending expected to rise 17.1% this year, the main companies benefiting from this are Google and Facebook.  Check the share price increases over the last 5 years – Facebook 178% and Google 1078%. 

All this leads me to think about tactics to get more out of what you are already doing rather than just blindly spending more advertising money to drive more traffic.

I feel that many companies are missing using key tactics than can help increase conversion and short circuit the time it takes a customer to purchase.  

I also meet a lot of companies’ digital teams who only look at last click attribution, so they are missing the bigger picture of understanding true channel influences in reaching and converting new audiences.

Many clients seem to be less focused on building or utilising their OWNED audience assets but are very happy to keep PAYING and many appear to just hope for EARNED outcomes. Refer to POEM if you don’t quite understand my flippant jibe. 

Many brands are not using softer subscription types such as Web Push to build new prospect lists. Worse still, some brands are paying again to re-market to the same customers who never converted in a previous session and most likely may never convert.  

There is a wealth of knowledge and guidance for content marketing which is a key activity that most brands are doing (sadly with quantity trumping quality), so I am not going to focus on content marketing in this article.

So how else can brands capture more leads and make the most out of their existing website traffic?     

Here are three ways that you can do more with what you already have right now:

1.   Intelligent Messaging 

Any brand that is serious about customer experience will already be using this tactic.  

Offering browser based opt-ins for Web Push Message Notifications that drive users back to relevant offers, often personalised based on their prior browsing behaviour, is a great way to build a new list and drive traffic back to your website – and the best part is driving users back long after they left your website.  

All this without any data being handed over by customers to be subscribed to this messaging channel.  Would you like fries with that?  Absolutely.   

Another common use we see is using Contextual interstitials to guide more users quicker down key conversion paths on your website and assisting users in their purchase journeys. This can also be used to simply increase the amount of organic email subscriptions when users show exit intent.    

OtherLevels has been a global leading SAAS provider of intelligent messaging and has consistently seen client’s website conversion rates increase by 10%+ or deliver a 4 : 1 or above ROI by using their service.  For any client that owns the transaction or lead generation activity that is occurring on their website, then this tactic is without doubt really promising and should be explored further.   

There are numerous solutions from free to paid for this to work with your website. Note – you get what you pay for here with the free tools usually requiring lots of setup and administration with less flexibility or messaging and personalisation sophistication.

Some CMS tools are also including audience messaging features into their systems. 

2.   Email Marketing

It might be 20 years old but it’s still going really strong.  Email marketing continues to be one of the leading digital marketing channels with a median ROI of 122%. 

As data or event triggered one-to-one emails continue to increase in usage and sophistication due to their higher engagement rate, batch campaigns are now needing to use more segmentation to try to cut through the clutter of a congested inbox. 

So here are some great examples of email tactics you might not currently be using:

  • Give an Email Incentive to subscribe – provide customers a discount or special offer and a real reason to subscribe. Make it exclusive to the email channel, make it easy to subscribe and progressively capture preferences and keep the first subscription form as minimal and simple as possible.   The less fields you collect the better the conversion rate.   Offer subscription prominently from hero banners to pop ups and promote throughout your website. 
  • Email Birthday Offers – extend the offer beyond the first welcome or go further with a welcome series that conditionally changes based on what emails or content your customer did or did not interact with. Now that’s a real journey and the best part is it can be automated. 

Other important tactics that we have seen lift the needle for many clients large and small include: 

  • Segmented sends to personalise and use more relevant content – it’s a known fact less is more with email and the better targeted your message, content, and copy is the more likely it will elicit action and engagement from your audience.
  • Data freshen or append – With segmentation now becoming more important, many companies we work with are realising that the customer data they captured some time ago has not been updated or refreshed for recently. So whether going back to other owned data sources to fill in the blanks or refresh with more current data, incentivising customers to re-profile themselves or even going as far as using 3rd party sources to append to their existing data – the more you know about your customers and the more you can segment them accordingly, the better your batch campaigns will perform. 

For some of our more advanced clients, we have also been working on using behaviour activity to help inform and extend the personal profiles by using content affinities and other ways of classifying content types or even their journey stage.  All from email clicks alone! 

There are of course numerous other tactics to get the best out of an email program. 

It’s not about the tools but what you do with them that counts. 

3.   Competitions / Prize Giveaways 

Competitions and prize giveaways represent a fantastic way to build and grow your audience.  Simply give away a great prize – think about using partners for prize components – see the example above we launched recently for Tourism Events Queensland & Uber.

  • Send it to your entire email list and give an incentive for your customers to share the campaign – the virality factor ensures you can easily acquire a new reasonable size audience quickly. We have seen competitions consistently be one of the most cost-effective acquisition strategies and provide the longest opt in timeframes and the most engaging source for email subscribers.   We have tracked all of our clients’ email programs for all common acquisition sources and the competition source has consistently ranked best for engagement and longevity.

Some quick best practice recommendations from XCOM Media with more than 14 years delivering some of Australia’s most well-known, loved and respected campaigns such as globally awarded campaigns for Tourism Events Queensland – Best Job in the World,   Virgin – Pit StopFlight Centre – SkyfallGold Coast Tourism  – Keys to Coast and countless others.  

  • It’s all about getting that email address – keep it simple.
  • The entry mechanism must be easy to use with mobile being the main device for entry.
  • A responsive microsite is the recommended delivery mechanism to ensure it works on all devices.   
  • A great concept and idea can go far to stand out and get traction.
  • Campaigns that require more steps as part of the entry will require a bigger prize ‘carrot’ to create incentives, encourage entry completion, and avoid abandonment.  As an example, the James Bond Skyfall campaign for Flight Centre was shared almost 1 million times just within the campaign itself and had multiple stages over 3 months.
  • Choose a complementary partner that can help with the prize component and for seeding to their audience to get a better outcome and return.
  • Consider how could you offer an ongoing competition as well as understand that many competitions have a short life (6-8 weeks is generally the optimum). 
  • Promote competitions to everyone you possibly can including a decent home page placement. Check out the great ADMA guide on running a competition in Australia.   

Do make sure you are legally compliant and if you use free or cheap tools make sure you understand who owns the data collected. Your privacy policy should be updated to reflect this. 

There are obviously more tactics I share with clients and colleagues when asked the question – “how can I do more with what I have?”  If you are left needing more, then check out this great article for some more growth methods and ideas. If you are still craving more content and ideas then the latest Mary Meeker’s 2019 Internet trends report will keep you reading for days with over 300 content slides. 

Disclaimer – the agency I helped build for over a decade – XCOM Media was purchased by OtherLevels in November 2018.