10.27.2015

How Marketers Can Prepare for the “Internet of Things” Evolution

Years ago it may have seemed far fetched to think the products we use everyday would become practiced to learn our tendencies; what we like, what we dislike, and all our detailed preferences. Our cars now park themselves, restaurants find us, and our home appliances have the ability to re-order our products when we need them.

 

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With technology moving and advancing at a rapid pace, we are starting to see how the world has moved to an “Internet of Things.” Many products that we use each day are “smart products,” and have the ability to acquire information and user preferences to help us make decisions. Our products connect us to brands and the things that we intuitively want to buy. Marketers love the fact that consumers now provide their own information and actively tell the world what they want.

So how does this change marketing efforts for organizations that are all fighting to get our attention?

Although it may sound contradictory to the marketing stereotype, the future of marketing lies less in “talking” and more in “listening.” Let’s face it, consumers have changed – they tell the world what, where and when they want something. So for marketers, becoming better listeners and observers is how they are going to create successful campaigns and appeal to the “new consumer.”

Marketing efforts will become less calculated and more impulsive for brands and organizations now that corporate exposure has become much more attainable. The use of viral activity and online media allow brands with smaller budgets to compete on a more level playing field. Companies need to understand that being innovative and agile will be more productive when trying to grow market share. The future of most marketing efforts will no longer attempt to appeal to the masses – and why would they? Detailed, focused marketing tactics will begin to play a more important role for marketers. Consumers are providing honest data and valuable analytics that marketers compile and make sense of on a daily basis.  Marketing departments can analyze that consumer data on the fly, see what platforms their audiences are using, what individuals are looking for and when they are most inclined to buy.

As marketing professionals in the “Internet of Things,” we need to stay committed to becoming better listeners. Although it may be a new style that will need to refine, ultimately we all have the same goal. The goal is to communicate with one another, and to be a great communicator, you better be a great listener.

Nick Brucker is the President & CEO at Sparq Designs, a digital marketing agency in Pittsburgh. Learn more about him, here. If you have questions about building a relationship, contact the  Sparq team today.

Follow Nick on Twitter & LinkedIn 

08.12.2015

4 Ways to Make Your Website an Effective Sales Tool

The goals of many small businesses’ marketing efforts are to turn traffic into leads and leads into business. But often times when meeting with business owners, they have an online marketing plan and website that falls short of their ultimate expectations. Having an effective web presence can be a powerful tool to gain quality leads, and we’ve gathered 4 simple ways to do just that.

 

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1. Make information easy to find

In the industry landscape, a brand now competes on a global scale and with this elevated competition, a website must be able to convey important information in a quick and effective manner. Make sure the most important navigation information is displayed in your website’s primary navigation area. Most of the time the main navigation area is located in the top header. However, most websites make the mistake of hiding important information within sub tabs or drop down menus.With the short attention span of individuals today, a site must provide information to the users in the quickest way possible.

2. Make sure your site is responsive

Mobile devices and tablets today have become the main form of communication. Recognizing and understanding that mobile searches now outnumber desktop searches, businesses must realize that their site needs to conform to mobile regulations. In April, Google announced an algorithm change that placed a higher emphasis on user experience. It is simple; Google wants users “to receive an uninterrupted experience.” So what exactly does this mean?

A user should receive a seamless experience on any device that they browse any particular site on, from desktop to tablet, to mobile. There should be no more zooming in and out or scrolling left to right to read content on a site when viewed in a mobile layout. In many cases users will abort a mobile site that does not layout content and information in a user-friendly manner.

3. Have SEO in place to drive traffic

If a business does not already have an SEO (search engine optimization) campaign in place, their competition most likely does. We live in an age where information is at our fingertips. If someone does not know an answer to their question, they get on Google to search for it. If someone wants to find the best coffee shop within 5 miles, they go a local directory.

We live in a world where “being at the right place at the right time” can make or break your business. For small businesses especially, investing in your online marketing can make a world of difference. A business can invest money into the creation of the most visually appealing website, but if it doesn’t show up when users are searching for your services…how effective can it really be?

SEO is marketing that is built for longevity. If done correctly, your site and online presence will continue to grow for months and years after you have made your investment.

4. Obtain user information through your site

Now that there’s an understanding of the importance for driving traffic to a site and a user has gathered information about the business and services, there needs to be engagement. Whether it’s a site that is heavily trafficked or one that receives twenty hits per day, converting traffic into business is the holy grail of online marketing. There should be multiple ways to connect and find out what the potential customer wants.

Have a phone number, email handle and address prominently placed in the header and footer of the website. There should be contact and quote forms displayed in multiple areas and pages where viewers can easily connect with you. Now that you’ve seen these four ways to make your website an effective sales tool, do you have any to add?

Nick Brucker is the President & CEO at Sparq Designs, a digital marketing agency in Pittsburgh. Learn more about him, here. If you have questions about building a relationship, contact the  Sparq team today.

Follow Nick on Twitter & LinkedIn