Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Tips for Clicks on Your Website – Combining Social Media and E-mail Marketing is a Growing Trend

A couple of days ago I met a friend of mine who is the content manager for the website of a regional tourist board and we discussed to what extent social media networks can drive more visitors to your own website and especially of what quality these clicks were regarding leads and user engagement. We concluded our discussion that the success of social media marketing is dependent on the content quality and how the usage of social networks is integrated into the whole eTourism and eMarketing strategy.

To summarise the tips for clicks, it must be emphasised that first and above all content is still king! High quality content means that it is interesting and relevant for your visitors and potential buyers. Self-adulations and exaggerations about products and services (as they can be found frequently in brochures and flyers) are in most cases not perceived as credible by customers.

Moreover, the navigation, information structure and look & feel of the website should be distinguished by a high usability which caters for the skills and needs of various user types (e.g. experienced – inexperienced, first-time visitor – returning visitor). Not only can you please your visitors with relevant content and an intuitive navigation structure but this will also improve the volume and quality of traffic to the website from search engines via organic search results (i.e. search engine optimisation).

Despite the wide variety and potential of online marketing formats, offline marketing should not be neglected. Every contact point with customers (e.g. personal contact, public relations, press releases, print catalogue, phone call, voice mail etc.) is an opportunity to point clients to content on your website. However, customers should also be made aware of the benefit they get when visiting the website. You can collect the user feedback in order to find out why customers visited your website and what they found particularly useful.

Many tourism businesses and organisations have planned to increase their communication activities on social networks in the next months with the goal to generate more website traffic. This trend is also underpinned by the “2010 Social Media Marketing Benchmark Report” from MarketingSherpa, published by eMarketer (21 Dec 2009). Increasing website traffic significantly outranks other marketing objectives such as increasing leads and sales revenues or improving search engine rankings and brand awareness (see table below, click to enlarge):

However, creating content for social media platforms (e.g. fan pages, blogs, videos, tweets), communicating with users and monitoring user activities also require more financial investments into staff and co-operations with agencies or consultancies. It is therefore not really surprising that many industries plan to raise their marketing budget in favour of social media marketing (see chart below, click to enlarge).

Half of the marketing managers from the travel and leisure industry claimed they intend to increase the budget for social media marketing in 2010, according to the “2010 Social Media Benchmark Report”, for which 2,317 US marketers were questioned about their marketing budget plans.

In spite of the hype and growing popularity of social networks, recent surveys revealed that it is still the e-mail newsletter that can lead to high conversion (e.g. purchases, subscriptions etc.) and user engagement rates. E-mail is obviously still the king of online content sharing, according to a survey carried out by StrongMail and published by eMarketer (23 Dec 2009). E-mail links achieved conversion rates of nearly 37% for online content shared by Internet users, whereas Facebook led to conversion rates of 3% and Twitter of 0.4% (see chart below, click on chart to enlarge).


Another “driver” for e-mail sharing is SWYN which stands for “Share with your Network”. The integration of a code snippet in an e-mail newsletter allows subscribers to share email content with various social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg etc. (see graphic below).

It actually seems that the combination of e-mail marketing and social media is a growing trend for driving more visitors to the website, which is also reflected in the planned marketing spendings for the year 2010. Seven out of ten business executives around the world are going to increase the budget for e-mail marketing and 60% will spend more money for social media marketing (see chart below, click on chart to enlarge).


Of course other marketing activities such as search engine marketing, banner advertising, ads on mobile applications, strategic e-partnerships and many more are also still relevant in the marketing mix. It is essential for all marketing activities, though, that the objectives and metrics of how to measure these objectives are clearly defined, targeted and geared to the user needs.

Therefore, the basic ingredients for driving more traffic to your website and turning visitors into customers are a well structured website, top-quality content / offers, aligned marketing activities, regular analysis of performance metrics and continuous quality improvement.

Related arcticles:
How to Conduct Email Marketing that Doesn't Suck
Poor Usability Drives Down Bookings on Hospitality Websites
What travelers are actually looking for when searching online

2 comments:

  1. Einer der besten Summaries seit langem die ich in meinem RSS - Reader gelesen habe. Danke für das Zusammenfassen und Kommentieren der spannenden Stats!
    Bis bald Martin

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  2. Hi Martin,

    Thank you for your comment. Maybe you want to share your tips for clicks with us?

    Take care,

    Christian

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