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Digital Marketing Digital Marketing Strategies Marketing

Why Do Most Digital Marketing Strategies Fail?

Digital marketing strategies are arguably the best way to grow a business—especially a tech startup that’s looking to reach a wide audience and scale with online product and service offerings. But the sad truth is that employing a digital marketing strategy is no guarantee of success.

It’s hard to determine what percentage of digital marketing strategies succeed or fail, since the definition of “success� varies (as we’ll see). However, it’s reasonable to conclude that the majority of digital marketing strategies don’t achieve their full potential—and a disproportionate number of strategies end up losing money for their respective businesses.

So why is it that so many digital marketing strategies fail?

Defining Success

First, we need to define what “success� in digital marketing is—and incidentally, this is the first point of failure for startup entrepreneurs. Too many people go into marketing without a clear definition of success of their own to guide the strategy. If you don’t know what success looks like, how can you possibly achieve it?

There are a few different ways to define success in marketing, but the most common metric is your return on investment, or ROI. Your ROI is a measure of how much money a strategy brought your business, compared to how much you spent to achieve those results. A positive ROI means you made money, and the higher your ROI is, the better. A negative ROI is a clear indication that some element of your strategy isn’t working.

However, you may be more interested in achieving a specific level of success; for example, you may want your marketing strategy to bring in 100,000 new customers, regardless of how high or low the ROI is. What’s important is that you have some goal and some definition of success to drive you.

Lack of a Coherent Vision

Similarly, many digital marketing strategies fail because they lack a coherent, overarching vision. A marketing strategy is a set of ideas and directives designed to help you achieve a goal. Within that strategy are many tactics you’ll use, such as email marketing or search engine optimization (SEO).

Too often, marketers focus exclusively on tactics; they execute the ground-level work to bring new customers to the brand, but they don’t have a “big picture� vision to tie all those ground-level tactics together. Without a foundation to provide a map for all those individual tactics, those tactics will remain unguided, and may fail.

Inconsistent Branding

Your company’s brand is at the heart of all its marketing, advertising, and core messaging—or at least, it should be. Throughout all these materials, your brand should be front and center, and it should be presented consistently.

On a superficial level, you can think about your company’s name, identity as it relates to colors, logo, and other visual features. But on a deeper level, you should be thinking about your core values, your tone, your voice, and how your brand is different than your competitors. These features should shine through whatever other messages you want to present—and should be consistent across all mediums and channels.

Overly Independent Channels

Modern digital marketing includes attention to a multitude of different channels, including email, social media, search engine results pages (SERPs), and banners on various websites. There are dozens of ways to reach your customers, and the most effective marketers know that you’ll need some combination of these to see the best results.

However, there’s a difference between adopting a true “omnichannel� strategy and simply investing in many different channels simultaneously. Well-executed omnichannel marketing strategies attempt to unify these channels and give customers a cohesive overall experience. If each channel offers a different message and an experience so unique that it feels like a different brand, it’s not going to work in your favor.

Cheap and/or Spammy Tactics

In an effort to see fast results or spend as little as possible, some brands succumb to investing in spammy or cheap marketing tactics. For example, they may buy spammy backlinks in an effort to boost their domain authority or buy an email list to send marketing emails to as many people as possible—even if they never signed up to receive those emails.

In the short-term, some of these tactics can work. They provide decent on-paper results. But long-term, they almost never pan out. Eventually, your business could attract a penalty from Google or get blacklisted by email service providers. And even if you escape that fate, your reputation may take a massive hit.

Not Investing Enough

On a similar note, some digital marketing strategies fail because the business wasn’t willing to invest enough to make the strategy work. Sometimes, it takes more money to invest in quality work; a $10,000 designed website is probably going to look better and be more functional than a $100 one. Other times, investment is a form of trouncing the competition. For example, if all your competitors are paying $10,000 per month on marketing in a specific channel, and you’re only paying $1,000 per month, you’re not going to beat them. If you spend $15,000 per month, you’ll almost certainly rise to the top.

Additionally, many digital marketing strategies (like SEO and social media marketing) take time to develop. If you only invest money for a month, you’ll never get to see the true fruits of your labor.

Obviously, there’s such a thing as investing too much, but investing too little can also be a death sentence.

Taking Competition Head On

Your startup is going to have competition, whether it’s now or later. Competing effectively is all about finding a way to compete indirectly. If you try to compete directly, you’ll be butting heads against an entity that already has experience in this area, or that is willing to outspend you. Instead, try to compete in a way that renders their power useless.

For example, instead of competing to win the attention of a national audience, try to appeal to a local audience. You could also appeal to a different target demographic.

Investing Too Much Too Early

Digital marketing depends on an ongoing process of measurement, evaluation, and adaptation. The more time you spend marketing and advertising, the more you’ll learn about your audience, your competition, and even your brand itself. With this increased knowledge, you’ll be able to spend money more efficiently and market “better.�

This course requires your business to gradually increase its investment over time. If you invest too much, too quickly, you’ll be investing quite heavily into a strategy that has not yet proven itself, with minimal knowledge to work with.

Lack of Measurement

Marketing without measurement is like throwing darts blindfolded. You can’t see the target and you can’t see whether your shots are landing. Despite this, many startups are perfectly willing to treat their marketing strategies this way.

If you want to be effective, you need to be measuring everything and studying those metrics. How much are you spending? How many people are you reaching? If you change a variable in your messaging or distribution, how do your engagement metrics change?

Doing Everything Internally

It’s possible to market your business exclusively with an internal team—but it’s not always productive or efficient. Most of the time, it’s better to work with a dedicated professional outside your business, such as a marketing agency or a team of independent contractors. This way, your internal staff can stay focused on your core products and services, and you can get access to more dedicated specialists.

Refusing to Adapt

Marketing strategies must change if they’re going to become successful or remain successful. You need to learn from the past, study the changing competition, and consider adopting new technologies and new approaches. Otherwise, you’re going to fall behind. Some digital marketing strategies fail simply because their executors failed to keep up with the latest changes.

Digital marketing can be tricky to pull off effectively, but digital marketing success is well within reach for most startups. If you work hard to avoid these common pitfalls, you’ll have a much higher chance of getting the results you want.

The post Why Do Most Digital Marketing Strategies Fail? appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Branding customer connection customer engagement customer experience Customer Service Digital Marketing Marketing online marketing

How to Use 6 Moments of Truth to Create a Strong Bond Between Customers and Your Brand

customers and branding

In the 1980s, Jan Carlzon, President of Scandinavian Airlines, introduced the concept of the “moments of truth� to his organization. In Carlzon’s words, “The Moments of Truth are the various points at which people connect with the brand.� Here is how to use six moments of truth to create a strong bond between your customers and your brand.

Moments of Truth

Carlzon believed that if you create a positive outcome at each Moment of Truth — then your business will be successful. That theory proved accurate when Scandinavian Airlines became one of the most admired industry brands, despite tough competition.

Since then, the Moments of Truth concept gained momentum as it rolled through sales, traditional marketing, and growth marketing that focuses on user acquisition and retaining customers, and turning them into passionate advocates.

Each brand uses it to build an emotional connection with customers at each moment.

Initially, only Carlzon used the concept of Moments of Truth. As the theory progressed, more brands, like Procter & Gamble, Google, and others, joined the movement, unveiling the exact Moments of Truth necessary to reach their users’ hearts.

Today, you will find countless micro-moments involved in the theory. In this post, I will discuss six significant moments at each step of the entire customer journey.

Without further ado, let’s explore what those moments are and how they will help you build a long-lasting relationship with customers.

6 Moments of Truth to Build a Strong Bond with Customers

1. Less than Zero Moments of Truth (<ZMOT): “I don’t know.�

People get on Google and research products or services before buying them. But a “before-Google� moment exists when something happens in the customers’ lives that lead them to go online and find out the answers or solutions.

This is the “Less than Zero Moment of Truth� (or “<ZMOT�). A brand must plant the idea of why potential customers need their product or service before they jump onto Google for more information. Call this the “awareness stage� when customers have a problem but are not aware of it yet.

To create awareness during Less than Zero Moments of Truth, you will require:

  • Data on who your targeted audience is
  • Data on which channels they hang out in the most
  • Content with search intent that fits well at the awareness stage, as well as fits the channel itself

For example, Femibion is a German pregnancy healthcare brand owned by Merck Consumer Health. Merck wanted to raise brand awareness by offering a free baby-planning book called Femibion BabyPlanung.

To sell the planning book would be challenging because mothers weren’t even aware that they needed a baby-planning book to demystify practical issues during pregnancy.

Merck took this challenge and worked with Facebook on a multistage campaign, targeting female audiences in Germany.

The campaign debuted with a cheeky series of carousel ads, presenting blissfully happy pictures of “baby-making places,� or particular spots where women might conceive a child.

The later ads possessed a more standard format, featuring the book’s image, accompanied by a call to action.

By the time the brand ended the promotion, the ads had a 35% increase in conversion rate. As a bonus, the company successfully generated 10K leads while decreasing their sample distribution cost by 2X.

Because Less than Zero Moments of Truth is just an awareness stage, you can’t guarantee leads. Generally, when users become aware of a problem or solution, their next step is to Google-it — which brings us to our next Moment of Truth.

2. Zero Moments of Truth (ZMOT): “This is the problem. I need a solution.�

Here comes your favorite moment: When potential customers jump onto Google to find the solution or answer to their problem or question. They may find themselves fascinated by your product or service while on their journey.

The moment takes place before the consumer has decided to buy. At this moment, consumers also look for websites, reviews, and other confirming data before they make up their minds.

Google, itself came up with the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) in 2011.

ZMOT is a collection of multiple moments, also known as a “micro-moment,� wherein consumers go through multiple mini-moments before buying the product.

How does a Micro-Moment Play Out?

Picture this: A traveler is seeking a new place to explore. He runs into an ad for a Smoky Mountain resort on social media. He searches Google to see how the place looks and read some Google reviews; then, he asks friends and checks out YouTube to find worthy places around the resort.

In this case, the potential customer goes through multiple micro-moments before making fully informed decisions using all available sources.

The key here is to optimize each micro-moment that takes place along the journey, starting from when consumers go online to when they select the product or service, read reviews, compare information, and so on.

There are three steps to optimize each Zero Moment of Truth:

  • Find your zero moments: Imagine a customer’s journey, starting from going to Google with potential searches to consuming everything that comes along the way. Note every moment that takes place. Figure out ways to integrate your brand. For example, you can collect Google reviews from past customers to convince future customers.
  • Answer the questions that customers ask: Work on discovering all the questions those potential customers may ask and answer them in every possible way. For example, answer the question, “What are the best places to visit around the Eiffel Tower?â€� in an article or video format.
  • Adopt four parts of communication: There are four ways to communicate with your potential customers at the Zero Moment of Truth stage via content:
    1. Paid advertisements: Google ads or social media ads
    2. Owned content: Creating your own content to promote your brand
    3. Earned content: Winning online product reviews and social media buzz
    4. Shared content: Natural brand mentions, like people sharing your stories by word of mouth

Once consumers register your brand in their mind after repeated mentions in various micro-moments, they become ready to click “buy�—but first, they need a little nudge.

3. First Moment of Truth (FMOT): “I want to buy it but…�

Now comes the most sensitive moment.

First coined by Procter & Gamble, the “First Moments of Truth� (or “FMOT�) are the 3-7 seconds after the shopper has become convinced by the brand’s product or service. This is when brands have the best chance to convert searchers into buyers by bewitching their senses, values, and emotions.

Generally, these moments involve the customer reading a description or hearing a pitch to understand better how the product serves their needs.

Consider this: Dao Labs is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) creator brand for a Westernized audience. They wanted to make their medicine feel approachable, credible, and necessary for a balanced lifestyle.

The problem was when visitors arrived at their product page; they didn’t feel familiar with TCM. So, the brand started telling large stories wrapped in history, usage, and benefits clearly.

As a result, they built a product page that appealed to human emotions, values, and everyday health issues.

A good presentation with a little list of how your product will fulfill the user’s needs is all you will need to turn visitors into buyers. On top of that, allowing users to zoom in and showing multiple angles will increase their likelihood of clicking the “buy� button.

Once they click “buy� and finish the payment, this is where retailers typically drop the ball.

Your real journey to create strong bonds begins when customers purchase your product and reach the moment of the gap.

4. Actual Moment of Truth (AMOT): “When will my product arrive?�

Once consumers buy a product, brands lose control over the process (except for keeping customers informed). More importantly, no one looks after the emotions that customers go through when purchasing the product and when they receive it.

The time period can be as short as immediate product delivery, like an online subscription, or a few days’ deliveries for a physical product.

Amit Sharma, Founder and CEO of Narvar, call this gap the “Actual Moment of Truth� (or “AMOT�). This is where you have an opportunity to do more than send a shipping confirmation email. The actual moment of truth is where you have an opportunity to tell the customer that they made the best decision by choosing you over others.

Let’s take an example of cold cream to understand how to keep users entertained during the AMOT.

Let’s say a customer buys cold cream online from a brand. Along with the shipment details, the brand can offer suggestions on when to use the cream and how many times it should be applied. Maybe the brand can go even further by sharing tips on protecting their skin against chilly weather.

Regardless of your business, there are always Actual Moments of Truth that occur while the customer waits for the product to arrive. Find them and use them as an opportunity to deliver a more positive experience.

After customers receive your product and are enjoying the tips you have sent them during the AMOT, they will move towards a resulting experience. It is at this point when your product is expected to support your pre-purchase promises.

5. Second Moment of Truth (SMOT): “Let’s Use the product.�

When customers receive the product and start using it, it has a major impact on their satisfaction level. Hands-on product experience directly affects the reputation of a brand, as well as its audience reach. This is when customers subconsciously start thinking about whether they would like to continue a relationship with the brand or not.

Procter & Gamble coined this moment as the “Second Moment of Truth� (or “SMOT�), which is when customers start using the product.

Many marketers’ challenge is to ensure an excellent experience when everything depends on the product’s usage.

Why do you need content marketing?

  1. To provide targeted information to help customers use their products.
  2. To offer toll-free numbers to solve their issues instantly, for free.
  3. To help them return or fix the product as soon as possible.
  4. To send them how-to videos and user guides.
  5. To be accessible instantly to answer their questions.

By doing so, brands will potentially convert a one-time buyer into a fan. Even if your product fails to meet their expectations, you can always promise to live up to the next time.

When customers finish experiencing your product from the inside-out, they will mark the occasion by sharing their experience with friends, family, and online communities.

6. Ultimate Moment of Truth (UMOT): “Hey, I bought this product, and it’s…�

The instant customers get familiar with your product; they will run to their friends and online networks to share their experience with others. The intention behind this is their need for self-expression and their desire to notify others.

Procter & Gamble termed this as the“Ultimate Moment of Truth� (or “UMOT�). This is why customers provide feedback on products in multiple formats, like sharing with friends or colleagues, posting Google reviews and Facebook reviews, uploading YouTube videos, etc.

Shared experiences are like a snowball. Once it starts rolling down a long, snowy hill, it collects more snow on the way and turns into a big ball that can make or break your brand. The more people share experiences with others, the more people become aware of your brand. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on the feedback that is shared.

These reviews will become discoverable and influential enough on search networks to beat all your SEO and branding strategies.

Sure, you don’t have control over how customers will experience your product and share their opinions about it online. But you can respond to them better and align their experience with their expectations.

The question is: How?

Let’s take a look at these foolproof steps to optimize the Ultimate Moment of Truth.

Step 1: Collects insights on customer experience.

Collect customer feedback from all places possible. You can use tools that offer brand mention services to inquire about places where people share their brand experiences. Keep track of customer call feedback and complaints to obtain a deeper understanding of the customer experience.

Step 2: Get a team involved

Decentralize your feedback efforts by allocating team members to take care of positive or negative feedback. This can include apologizing for defects and promising to exchange or refund the product, or thank you for an impressive review.

Step 3: Keep tabs on opportunities

Finally, instruct your team to stay focused on opportunities to take advantage of the ultimate Moments of Truth. No matter whether customers are too angry or unimpressed with your products to keep the relationship going, you can grab these opportunities to send offers that will make up for their disappointment or help them develop a good impression of your brand.

These optimized Ultimate Moments of Truth will complement the entire customer journey. Each shared experience, along with the brand’s response to them, will turn into a Zero Moment of Truth for each potential customer. In other words, the Ultimate Moment of Truth can be the Zero Moment of Truth for other customers who come online with lots of questions in mind.

And the cycle keeps going.

What you will realize is that moments of truth aren’t just moments. They are an experienced, fueled continuum.

Keep the flow going and come back to share your experience.

The post How to Use 6 Moments of Truth to Create a Strong Bond Between Customers and Your Brand appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Digital Marketing Marketing marketing automation Small Business

Top 18 Digital Marketing Automation Tools by Experts in 2020

digital marketing automation tools

The digital marketing concept has become a popular topic to discuss. Online business owners show their high interest in the digital marketing concept to position their website high on the searches. Not only this, but it is also followed by them to catch the eye of consumers. Here are the top 18 digital marketing automation tools by experts in 2020.

The big topic of automation tools on everyone’s mind.

Simultaneously, digital marketing is a vast topic that includes email campaigns, promotion on social media, content development & creation, and several concepts are still adding to reach the target audience.

Reaching your audience.

When you succeed in reaching the majority of the audience, then the next step is to analyze the efforts you have made to accomplish your desired set goals. After all, analyzing the overall performance of your webshop in terms of sales, rankings, reach and conversions, etc. are necessary.

This is the situation when several digital marketing automation tools come into play and give detailed information about sales and marketing activities.

What is digital marketing automation?

Digital marketing automation is those software platforms, specially designed for digital marketers and other marketing departments to promote on multiple channels online and track its performance as well.

Here is a complete list of digital marketing automation tools that can assist you in keeping an eye on your digital marketing efforts.

Marketo

Marketo

 

The first tool on our list is Marketo. It is considered the best tool, flooded with few tools, including web personalization, email, and social marketing tools, email marketing tools, etc.

All these tools shape Marketo to give digital marketers a great experience measuring marketing engagement and other related activities. This renowned DMA tool is led by the software giant, Adobe to reshape the experience of a digital marketer.

Marketo also has the incredible potential to cover any digital channel.

Pros

  • Easy to Use: This automation tool is easy to use, making it an ideal software platform to pick for DMA. Because every single thing is labeled properly, so you can easily find what you are searching for.
  • Other Marketing Features: Yes, Marketo holds several tools that are known for their extensive marketing capabilities. You can rely on those tools to meet every business type’s needs. It declines the requirement for third-party tools to carry out a particular task.
  • Salesforce Integration: Marketo very well incorporates the features of sales, making it easier for several organizations to taste success by getting accurate reports.

Cons

  • Pricing: When it comes to Marketo’s pricing, then this is a significant point to consider as there are several other automation tools too that can perform similar tasks, even at a low cost. When it was first introduced in 2006, the price of Marketo has increased at a rapid rate.
  • Missing CRM Feature: The list of Marketo features does not include the CRM feature (Customer Relationship Management) essential for the DMA. It’s a serious drawback that every marketer should consider.
  • Weak Landing Page and Form Builder: Compared to other DMA tools, the landing page and form builder of the Marketo is relatively weak. It doesn’t deliver the desired results.

HubSpot

HubSpot

Our list of DMA tools couldn’t be completed without HubSpot. It’s advanced software that offers you tools for several marketing pursuits. Namely, it assists in landing pages, SMM, shoppers support, SEO, and many more to surprise you.

Although HubSpot reviewed as the “inbound marketing software,� it is also a pre-eminent tool that also comprises the features of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Salesforce.com, SugarCRM, adding more bonus points and giving reasons to choose this tool.

Pros

  • Super-Easy to Use: It is designed in such a way that it gives the user a better experience. In short, it is user-friendly. All the technical terms in the tool are well defined in this software tool. You can even learn to use it efficiently with Hubspot Academy.
  • Knowledge Hub: Hubspot is a knowledge hub that features a resource library along with several courses, video sessions, training, & more on a single platform. All the information in Hubspot is up to date as well.
  • Three-In-One Tool: Hubspot provides you with CRM, marketing, & sales, all under a single roof, which makes this tool exceptional from others. Now you don’t need other tools to carry out the tasks related to all these three segments.
  • Excellent Customer Support: When you say yes to the Hubspot, then be ready to serve with the best support and a team of marketing & sales experts to help you out in your matter. With a live chat or sending a text on Twitter or any other social platforms, you could easily connect with the team.

Cons

  • On-boarding Fee: Besides the monthly fee of the Hubspot tool, one has to bear the on-boarding fee depending on the packages.
  • Configuration Required: Hubspot requires you to configure it to help the business work properly.
  • Sometimes, it’s tricky: In some cases, Hubspot is not just easy to use. There is always a need to use it correctly.

Customer.io

Customer.io

 

When it comes to strengthening the relationship between consumers & businesses, then Customer.io is the right tool for you. This tool has an impressive feature of flexibility, letting you customize the specific mails or text messages to forward it to the shoppers or consumers when it recognizes any customer behaviors. Such ease of customization makes this DMA tool good enough to use for companies who are wandering for a light-weight user interface.

Pros

  • Customization in mails: Customer.io provides the ease of customizing the emails that have been sent to consumers. It gives you a massive benefit to the marketer.
  • Newsletter builder & their Campaign builder: Yes, Customer.io offers the special tools of newsletter builder and their campaign builder on a single platform. It’s also easy to use.
  • Automated Marketing Campaigns: Additionally, it also embraces the features of automated marketing campaigns, helpful at distinct marketing stages.

Cons

  • Limited Mails: Customer.io only allows the marketer to send only 50 emails at one time. So, in case of a large customer base, this tool will take time to send mails.
  • Missing WYSIWYG Editor: It’s a beneficial editor, especially for your marketing counterparts and event-based filters in your workflows. Its absence can disappoint you a little.

Sendpulse

Sendpulse

 

Next on our list is Sendpulse, which lets you boost your marketing endeavors in both small and mid-size webshops & assist you in achieving the set desired conversions and leads. This tool also grants you to interact with customers via various communication channel tools that include email, chatbots for Facebook and an Instagram, push notifications, and text or SMS.

Pros

  • Simple and Easy: Sendpulse tool is simple and easy to use as you are provided with detailed information about its features on the platform.
  • Cheap: When it comes to the pricing factor of Sendpulse, it is one of the cheapest autoresponders in the market. Choosing this tool will help you to save more.
  • Impressive Features: The tool is loaded with ultimate features, including the AI too.
  • Awesome Support: Sendpulse offers the best support, allowing you to interact with other customers via emails, text, SMS, social media platforms, etc.

Cons

  • Need more templates: Sendpulse offers a less number of pre-loaded template ideas for designing campaigns. Such minimum numbers of designing templates allow the marketer to think one more time.

SharpSpring

SharpSpring - Digital Marketing Automation Tool

 

Like Sendpulse, SharpSpring is very popular because of its impressive features, making it the right tool to choose. Because it offers assistive marketing instructions and case studies, and on-the-spot training for digital marketers, so it is also the most chosen tool by the experts. This tool is considered the ideal pick for those companies who want built-in CRM as it incorporates the capability of social CRM too. So, it is undoubtedly the best DMA tool to choose from.

Pros

  • Low-Cost: Yes, SharpSpring is a budget-friendly tool. If we say clearly, then its cost is 3-10X less costly than other similar DMA tools.
  • Monthly Contracts: SharpSpring offers no long-term contracts or any boarding fees. All you need is a 30 days notice to switch users.
  • Perfect for Agencies: SharpSpring is a popularly used by digital agencies. This tool holds the features, including user management, that meet the needs of agencies very well.

Cons

  • SharpSpring is not ideal for non-marketers because of its complexity.
  • The tool also shows the occasional bugs & slowdowns that ruin the user experience.
  • SharpSpring doesn’t hold the advanced features. Hence, marketers have to depend on third-party tools to meet advanced needs.

Pardot

Pardot - Digital Marketing Automation Tool

 

Pardot is a Salesforce product that offers the ease of tracking and measuring the efficacy of the communication with the users and customizes the content across several campaigns.

Such ease makes this B2B tool good enough to choose for DMA. It’s a modern gen technology that makes sure that you’re communicating with the equitable person in the ideal language at the right time.

It’s expensive.

Pros

  • Lead Deck: Pardot tool has the lead deck that gives updates on the activity of the prospects. Whenever the candidate visits the page of your website, you will receive an updated push notification on your screen, and then, you can easily send them an email in a few clicks.
  • Easy to Customize: Pardot allows you to personalize and customize the tools as per your needs,
  • Good Customer Support: Users appreciate Pardot as it provides the best consumer support and practical training.

Cons

  • Fewer Integrations: Although Pardot has several tools like CRM and several other third-party apps, it is less than other tools such as Marketo.
  • No access to A/B testing and API for General Users: Another major drawback of the Pardot is that it allows only pro users (customers paying $2000 per month for the tool) to access the API. Not only this, but features such as A/B testing is not available for general users. Only pro users can take advantage of it.

Sendinblue

Sendinblue - Digital Marketing Automation Tool

 

Sendinblue is a digital agency and became a prominent tool that can enhance your marketing relationships.

Sendinblue tool is a communication tech that gives the ease of doing several activities. From email marketing to SMS marketing, CRM to transactional email, Facebook ads to retargeting ads, a lot more on a single platform.

At present, the tool has become an efficient, effective and on-budget tech to use for DMA.

Pros

  • Sendinblue offers a numero of SMS campaigns
  • There are several free plans that you can use to lead digital marketing automation.
  • Responsive design templates are also available.
  • The tools also include features like transactional and autoresponder email options.

Cons

  • Sendinblue has fewer templates.
  • The setting up of accounts on this tool is confusing—the user experience into a little annoying.

Oracle Eloqua

Oracle Eloqua - Digital Marketing Automation Tool

 

If you are interested in monitoring clients across different levels of the purchasing process, then you should say yes to the Oracle Eloqua, which serves both B2C and B2B marketer needs.

The good thing about this modern tech is that it lets you plan and personalize the automated campaigns. It holds the features of Marketo, too, allowing you customize every walk of the marketing process.

With the assistance of this Oracle Eloqua tool, it’s easy to integrate several emails, landing pages, etc. into a particular campaign with complete ease and accuracy.

Pros

  • Visual Campaign Builder: Yes, this tool features a user-friendly visual campaign builder that is ideal to use.
  • Integrations: Over 100 third-party platforms are united with this tool of Oracle Eloqua.
  • Hyper-Site Builder: Oracle Eloqua gives access to create personalized microsites with the assistance of productive user content. It’s the best feature of Oracle Eloqua.
  • Reputation: When it comes to the reputation, then Oracle Eloqua is a popular and powerful DMA tool, highly used by business enterprises.

Cons

  • High-Price: Expensive – Yes, it is highly expensive. The starting price of this tool is around $2000/ month, which is not just easy to afford by small online traders or businesses. Not only this, but a marketer also has to sign a long term contract as well.
  • Takes Implementation Time: Oracle Eloqua takes a long time in the implementation process. Hence, it makes it a little time consuming, as well.
  • Oracle Doesn’t Incorporate Google Adwords: The major drawback of this tool is that it has no incorporation with Google Adwords. It has no feature to track PPC ROI.

ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign - Digital Marketing Automation Tool

 

Next on our list is the ActiveCampaign tool, which is also known as a “three-in-one� tool, incorporating the features of email marketing, DMA, and small business CRM.

ActiveCampaign also calls your attention to distinct aspects of marketing. Now, tracking out the happenings in your automation has become more comfortable with the assistance of a VMA (visual automation editor.)

Simultaneously, ActiveCampaign has a strict approach or policy to follow on advertising many emails related to the affiliated products. ActiveCampaign is not just limited to tracking the email workflows but also a lot more things to allow your webshop to earn good points in the world of digital marketing.

Pros

  • Easy to Afford: ActiveCampaign is an ideal tool for those small businesses that have a tight budget and don’t want to spend much on marketing automation. It only costs $9 / month, that any small or medium-sized business can easily afford with no boarding charges.
  • Zapier Integration: ActiveCampaigns is loaded with over 2000+ tools with their Zapier integration. So, with ActiveCampaign, you can take advantage of all those tools with the paid subscription of Zapier.
  • Automation split testing: The tool also offers the ease of A/B testing the entire sequences against each other instead of testing the mail individually.

Cons

  • CRM: Although the ActiveCampaign tool is considered as a powerful tool to use as it has the in-built CRM system. But at the same time, a CRM system is not as reliable as the standalone platforms. The tool is not used for advanced purposes.
  • Reporting: ActiveCampaign is very well-known for providing fair insights on sales and conversion rates. The reporting of this tool is crowded, making it difficult for users to understand and navigate.

Autopilot

Autopilot - Digital Marketing Automation Tool

 

Another point on our list is Autopilot, another perfect example of modern advancement, which boosts DMA with its impressive features.

One can easily conclude with the word “autopilot� that the tool is made to automate the consumer experience. Bring this tool in use to different marketing channels, including the most popular one, i.e., email, text, or SMS, in-app communications.

Autopilot tool is loaded with extremely functional features like Activity Streams, Performance Tracking, etc. making it an ideal tool to choose. Talking about its price, then its pricing relies on its plans. Silver plans may cost around $49, and Platinum $249, etc.

Pros

  • Autopilot tools allow you to use social media in our digital marketing automation. Several tools usually fail to do this.
  • The tool also features the visual customer journey builder that is super easy to use.
  • Because Autopilot doesn’t hold unnecessary functions & features, so it’s not heavy software and performs faster than other apps.

Cons

  • Undoubtedly, Autopilot is working on several integrations, but still, it misses those advanced features that are important to help you to reach your goal.
  • Pricing factors can put you in deep thought to go for this tool or not. Yes, it’s a little high.
  • Although it has the impressive feature of email builder, it has its limits in customization.

GreenRope

GreenRope - Digital Marketing Automation Tool

 

GreenRope is another DMA tool, a complete CRM tool that holds all the features that businesses always strive to evolve at any cost.

The reason behind such an interest shown by the companies is that it provides you with an array of features that no other tool offers. The dashboard of this tool allows the user to customize the items to add points to the productivity. One can easily customize the color, size, and even icons too.

GreenRope tool grants you to cope with all the automation stuff, like the sales, operations, and marketing, from one dashboard. It is not just limited to this extent. It also displays your performance and provides assistance to come up with the best business decisions.

Pros

  • GreenRope is an all-in-one solution that incorporates the features of sales, marketing, and operations.
  • It provides the best customer support and several other training, making it an ideal tool to choose from.

Cons

  • GreenRope is a complete solution, but simultaneously, it also holds a steep learning curve.

Jumplead

Jumplead - Digital Marketing Automation Tool

 

Jumplead is an impressive tool on our list that is perfect in serving you with the top automation results. It meets the requirement of small, intermediate businesses and B2Bs as well.

The key feature of LiveChat makes this tool pretty popular among digital marketers, which lets you interact with webshop visitors and resolve their queries or answer their questions. Besides this LiveChat feature, it also has contact management functionality.

This is a superb feature that helps you to manage the contact profiles. All these tasks can be easily accomplished by collecting the updated data from analytical tools, etc. Its pricing differs as per their plans. If we say clearly, it is $49 for Solo, $99 for Starter, and $299 for Enterprise.

Pros

  • Jumplead is an affordable DMA tool with no long term contracts or commitments. You simply have to pay every month.
  • The tool doesn’t hold the crowded reports and unnecessary functions to confuse you. So you can conclude that it is easy to use.
  • Jumplead is considered an all-in-one solution that includes marketing automation, CRM, and live chat.

Cons

  • One of the drawbacks of the Jumplead is that it offers limited flexibility in the contact management dashboard. It’s challenging to modify contacts.
  • It doesn’t hold the daisy chain automation sequences.

Drip

Drip - Digital Marketing Automation Tool

 

For B2C companies, Drip is the ideal tool as it gives the ease to send data to customers at particular intervals. Drip is loaded with the latest features that allow the user to build set off onboard campaigns that rely on the actions taken in the dashboard of the consumers.

Drip encompasses email marketing and other automation features, making it an ideal choice for B2C organizations or businesses.

From automation workflows to email builders, the tools hold everything a business requires to meet the DMA needs.

Pros

  • It offers the best customer support.
  • The tool features a powerful visual automation builder.
  • Integration with Zapier.
  • Drip tools can also work together with several third-party software when the need arises.
  • It’s a simple, easy-to-use, and affordable solution that provides the marketer with several automation services.

Cons

  • Improper functioning of the form builder.
  • Limited template library.
  • Occasional bugs and slowdown affect the performance of this tool, and automation started failing.
  • Restricted split-testing ability
  • Limited template library

Ontraport

OntraPort - Digital Marketing Automation Tool

 

Looking for a tool that holds the features of DMA and business solutions for all small-sized businesses, solopreneurs, and entrepreneurs? Then you should choose the Ontraport tool, comprises email marketing solutions, lead scoring, and a lot more to abet you in your business marketing.

The additional benefit of choosing the Ontraport tool is that it propounds the e-commerce facets, including cart abandonment, automatic credit card payment collection.

Pros

  • Pricing: One of the best pros of Ontraport is its pricing, which does not put a load on your budget. The affordability of their service makes this tool the best one to choose for automation.
  • Unified System: Ontraport acts as the engine behind the overall working of your marketing campaigns and integrating the emails and a lot more with the CRM system so that you can achieve the targeted goals (or leads) and increase the conversion rate.
  • Custom Objects: The term custom objects allow you to create a relationship between different databases. Ontraport tools can build custom objects that are only available in Salesforce, Marketo, and other enterprise systems.
  • E-Commerce Features: From automatic credit card payment collections to card abandonment, credit card expiration to adding upsells ability, Ontraport is known for several e-commerce features.

Cons

  • Dashboard User Interface: With the Ontraport tool, you can easily create any metric virtually. But at the same time, it’s dashboard doesn’t include any graphs or charts, making it less appealing and ruins the user experience.

Exponea

Exponea - Digital Marketing Automation Tool

 

Here’s another tool on our DMA tool list, namely Exponea, which is undoubtedly the best tool that amalgamates the consumer data from different sources, including online and offline sources. The whole data is consolidated in a customer data platform, which further assists the other tools in marketing campaigns, customer analytics, etc.

Pros

  • Exponea is easy to understand, as well as provides accurate reporting in real-time.
  • The tool is loaded with many features allowing you to compare distributions, how they convert, and result in conversion and to know which one will receive the most activity.
  • Exponea is a modern approach that is always ready to assist you at any time.
  • It also helps in improving the analytics approach and order numbers of online stores.

Cons

  • Exponea is a little complicated for a beginner who doesn’t know its working.
  • The tool lacks the essential feature of API, which helps to access the data inside the Exponea from other systems.

LeadSquared

LeadSquared

 

Another cloud-based CRM tool, also designed for DMA, is LeadSquared. With the word “LeadSquared,� one could develop its features for which it is known for. It moves the leads via the funnel faster.

Capturing the leads via different communication tools like inbound mails, chat, website, etc. has become easier by using this LeadSquared tool. Along with this, LeadSquared is also very well-known for offering analytics tools and many more, like LiveChat, GoToWebinar, Zopim, etc. on a single platform.

Pros

  • Simple & easy to use tool for many solutions.
  • It offers multiple data points to trigger autoresponders.
  • Fantastic customer support is always ready to make the user experience a great one.

Cons

  • There are no limits mentioned for email and landing pages on their pricing page.
  • LeadSquared offers limited services of customization and flexibility for advanced users.

SalesFusion

SalesFusion

When it comes to finding a tool that comprises the flexible set of features that would assist in campaigning and more, choose SalesFusion.

The tool is readily available on a standalone basis. Not only this, but several other aspects of marketing also correlate to it, offering more ease to the marketers for better business performance. Some of them are media planning tools, marketing analytics, etc. SalesFusion has everything to meet the digital marketer needs.

Pros

  • The email builder in SalesFusion is relatively easy to use.
  • The pricing structure in this tool is based on contacts.

Cons

  • The tool doesn’t allow you to use dynamic fields in text. Only email builders are permitted.
  • The major drawback of SalesFusion is its limited reporting, which makes it difficult for the user to track link clicks or downloads unless.

Omnisend

Omnisend

 

Last on our list is the Omnisend tool, which offers several benefits like pre-created workflows of DMA and tools to capture the consumer data.

E-commerce businesses can boost up their marketing with tailored messaging. In simple words, it allows you to send a personalized message to the ideal person at the right time.

For consumers, it helps to provide them with a better shopping experience as well. On the other hand, for marketers, the main motto of this tech tool is to create a promotional noise.

Pros

  • With the assistance of the Omnisend tool, template/Email creation becomes easy.
  • Follow-up campaigns are easy and effective.
  • The overall set up of triggered email/automation also turns out easy and effective with the Omnisend tool.
  • It carries out effective reporting.

Cons

  • Initial set-up is not just easy.
  • There are a fewer number of sample templates and campaigns.

Final Words

Now you possess a complete bucket list of tools for DMA. Good marketing drives you to better outcomes, like good ranking, better reach, and more consumer-engagement. But sometimes, the tricks or tips of digital marketing don’t work effectively.

Hence, you require proper tools to direct your efforts in the best direction to increase the company’s success. Bring the tools into your digital marketing. It will push your business to the path of success.

The post Top 18 Digital Marketing Automation Tools by Experts in 2020 appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Automation vs AI – Who Runs the World of Digital Ads?

digital ads

We live in a world where each day new technologies with a mission to make our lives easier comes out. Today people can freely enjoy driverless cars, cleaning robots, while ad managers still have to test advanced AI-based solutions offered by the market. They try to find a tool that will help them with customer segmentation and engagement, targeting, and media-buying decisions. Why everything isn’t working in the way it should in the environment of the digital ad? But, who runs the world of digital ads?

In reality, there are hundreds of interesting studies hidden behind loud and bold headlines asserting us that the industry has never been so close to the goal of adopting human-level AI. According to a survey by Advertiser Perceptions, 50% of advertisers have no plans to use AI in their marketing. 56% do believe AI could negatively affect their brands, diminishing creativity, and products’ differentiation.

It’s interesting how all these opinions can get along with the fact that more than 3/4 of global spending on digital display advertising is automated. Does it mean that all this hype around AI for digital ads is just a bubble or we simply expect too much from this technology today?

Do we expect too much from AI for digital ads?

Let’s be honest here. There are two basic things that are expected from AI: cost-cutting and revenue increase. Otherwise, there’s no reason to invest in its development. In the current economic situation hardly any company will want to invest in AI-platform building just to write another press-release. But what are the AI-based solutions for media-buyers that are available now on the market? Generally, they can be divided into 4 main groups:

  • Ad creation

AI creates ads based on products and a promo strategy. With the help of Natural Language Processing and Natural Generation Technologies AI can write copies and suggest the best visuals.

  • Ad exchange

The best example is an up-to-date Real-Time -Bidding platform. The role of Artificial Intelligence is to regulate the sales processes of advertising in real-time. The bad thing about this is that they most often won’t agree to reveal how their AI actually works. So, it’s hard to adjust and be sure of the process’s transparency.

  • Performance and spend optimization

In this case, AI, most specifically, Machine Learning algorithms track ads performance across platforms and offer recommendations for ad campaign improvements based on the data they have.

  • Advanced targeting

Based on the characteristics of past audiences and campaign performance, AI-based solutions identify trends and advise audiences similar to the best performers.

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Now we need to understand, what are the reasons why it doesn’t work.

 

Why AI doesn’t show the expected results

 

artificial intelligence in digital marketing

 

  • Data inaccuracy and insufficiency

The first big thing is the accuracy and the relevancy of the data marketers and ad managers feed to AI. To make the right decision, AI needs loads of data, which SMBs simply might not have. Moreover, not all companies use reliable and secure methods of tracking their ads and users. So, some data can be missed or unreliable. It happens quite often if a business relies on 3-rd party cookies as they can be easily deleted by users or browsers. In this case, Even minor inaccuracies can lead to completely misleading conclusions.

  • Inability to act in a changeable environment

Another thing is that AI performs poorly in situations it hasn’t met before. If you have a narrowly defined task in a predictable and stable environment and a clear set of data, then, go ahead. But if we are talking about a complex and ever-changing digital landscape, chances are high that AI won’t cope with it.

  • The Lack of creativity

The third thing is that AI lacks creativity and ingenuity. So, even in case of a super-advanced AI, it still needs human supervision and oversight. There is still no technology that is able to think outside the box better than a human being.

  • The high cost

The last thing is the current cost of AI-based solutions. This point is more about SMBs, as high prices don’t usually scare big and profitable companies. Even so, they have to deal with another problem: talent hiring. 58% of marketers say that attracting and retaining talent is one of the serious challenges of building AI-based ad platforms in-house.

Automation vs Artificial Intelligence for running digital ads

It seems like AI hasn’t been able to achieve its goal so far. Today’s solutions are still unable to replace or supersede human behavior and intelligence. And it shouldn’t be so surprising. In fact, still, not all companies were able to take advantage of an earlier trend – ad automation. Some may even think that Automation and AI are synonyms, but is it really so?

The main difference between these two is that automation algorithms don’t try to beat human brains and make something extra. They are related to sophisticated, but simple rules and explicit programming which can take a big part of the nitty-gritty on themselves by working with unified sets of real-time data.

According to Business.com, software automation can save up to date 30% of their time. Not only that, but it optimizes your campaigns for higher CTR and lowers CPC. You set rules for the traffic, algorithms perform the needed actions until the goal is reached.

Good news – automation brings much more transparency to your advertising activities and gives a full understanding of what’s going on with your ad campaigns. Bad news – there’s still no such tool that is able to automate all the process through campaign creation to reporting. Human touch is needed, but only for strategic work.

How digital marketers can benefit from Automation?

The world of existing automated features is huge. To decide whether you really need them or not, simply prioritize your daily tasks and determine the most time-consuming ones and decide if their automation can really help you focus on what’s truly important. The longer the task takes to perform, the bigger the benefits from their automation.

Here we’ll try to explain automation processes and features based on today’s advanced ad trackers. RedTrack asked their clients to name 4 most time-consuming processes they would be happy to delegate or automate:

  1. Ad campaign set-up
  2. Creatives testing
  3. Performance monitoring
  4. Budget updates.

There can be a large number of offers from different brands on the market. Let’s take a look at 4 most popular solutions today’s tools that may solve the aforementioned problems effectively: automatically generated scripts, automate Rules, Reports, creatives rotation.

The best digital ads automation practices currently exist on the market:

digital marketing automation

  • Automatically generated scripts

It’s great if you’re a digital marketer with a coding background or at least some basic skills. But, as practice shows, most digital marketers don’t. So, automatically generated scripts can not only save your time but can result in smaller issues or opportunities you may have missed. In fact, if anything goes wrong, you can always contact the support team and ask for professional help ( Hope there will be no need, though). Another modification of automatically generated scripts is ready-made templates.

  • Automated rules

Running digital ads isn’t a quiet and peaceful process. You have to go back and force every five minutes to check if everything is okay in your account. Did you stop the campaign at the right moment? Didn’t you exceed the budget? Does everything you do actually work? Automated Rules take this stressful part of your daily job on themselves. Google Ads were the first to implement them back in 2018, but if you prefer to work with multiple ad networks, then it’s time to look for an ad tracker with automated rules.

  • Reports

Reports are probably the most important element of any ad campaign. With the help of automated algorithms, the main metrics are calculated, the data is distributed in the right columns and you have it organized in the way you really need it to be. If the tool has an open-API, you can build your custom reports in seconds.

  • Creatives management

A/B testing is the key to understanding conversions problems. If some of your creatives are not as efficient as others, advanced ad trackers can change the weights and redistribute traffic to the best performer. So, once the tool has enough data, the leading creative will stay in the rotation, giving others less weight or stopping them at all.

Summing up

While most advertisers still are not satisfied with what AI-based ad tech companies offer to them, they still hope the market offer will go far beyond replacing manual tasks by algorithms.

They want machine learning or AI to handle more complex media-buying decisions. But while the industry is in the trial-and-error period, we can rightfully take advantage of the benefits from automation solutions and hope for the best.

The post Automation vs AI – Who Runs the World of Digital Ads? appeared first on ReadWrite.

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What is the Future of SMS Marketing?

future of sms marketing

Over the past two decades, SMS marketing has become so ingrained in our lives that we don’t even pause to consider what life was like without it. Despite that, marketers still don’t regard the platform as highly as email or social media marketing. What a mistake. Here is what the future of SMS marketing is all about.

Fundamental channels for digital marketing.

While email has long been a fundamental channel for digital marketing campaigns. The hype around social media marketing is well deserved, if only for its powerful targeting and personalization capabilities.

SMS marketing, on the other hand, offers equally valuable yet unsung benefits for marketing communications. If you’ve hesitated to adopt text messaging as a marketing channel, perhaps it’s the best time to reconsider.

Why It’s the Best Time to Adopt SMS Marketing

Although SMS is now considered as a powerful addition to an omnichannel strategy, it wasn’t always an attractive digital marketing platform. It was too expensive for marketers to take it seriously. Plus, it lacked any semblance of a playbook, which email already had.

Today’s digital landscape, however, has paved the way for text messaging to be a marketing platform that’s not just viable but actually worthwhile. In particular, these changes have driven its success as a medium for marketing:

Peak Mobile Penetration

The first SMS-ready mobile phone was introduced to the market in 1993. But, the rapid adoption of mobile phones came towards the late 90s as cellular networks became more stable and even allowed cross-network messaging.

By 2000, 12% of the world’s population had mobile phones, and that number has consistently increased since then.

Today, there are over five billion unique mobile subscribers worldwide. The stat means over 65% of people all over the world have a mobile device of some kind.

Although the number of smartphone users is increasing steadily, approximately 30% of mobile subscribers don’t have a smartphone with internet access. But, each one is capable of receiving text messages.

SMS examples
SMS examples with different country codes.

Development of Regulations

In the early days of SMS marketing, there were barely any regulations to guide marketers in using it appropriately. It was essentially a free-for-all platform for any business that could afford to use it. Spam was prevalent and branded text messages were considered a nuisance.

Data Privacy Regulations

Several regulations have already been developed and widely accepted across the world to encourage not only respectful practices but also data privacy protection.

These regulations have made people more open to receiving promotional text messages. In fact, nowadays, 75% of consumers say they don’t mind getting texts from brands for as long as they opt in.

Lower Costs

In the early 2000s, a single SMS could cost anywhere from ten to twenty cents, depending on the operator. For businesses engaged in mass texting, the costs quickly piled up. But, over time, costs were driven down by several factors. Not the least of which was the popularity of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and instant messaging software like Viber and Messenger.

Nowadays, there are innumerable marketing packages that make SMS a cost-effective platform. Some of them could even bring costs down to one cent per text. Keywords and shortcodes involve additional costs.

Keywords are unique phrases that your customers can use to interact with your company while shortcodes are the numbers to which those keywords are sent. In the text “Send HELP to 66586,� HELP is the keyword and 66586 is the shortcode.

In the past, a business looking to seriously engage in SMS marketing would need to make use of dedicated shortcodes, which allow for unlimited use of keywords. Those could cost anywhere from fifteen to thirty thousand dollars per year. Nowadays, there are mobile marketing firms that share shortcodes across multiple businesses through a keyword rental model. Each keyword rental could cost anywhere from five to twenty-five dollars per month.

Software Advancements

Earlier, the SMS gateways that enabled computers to send, receive, and manage text messages were physical appliances that merely allowed marketers to ramp up their text messaging efficiency. Nowadays, SMS gateway applications allow you to do all that without the cost of procuring specialized hardware.

Advancements in marketing applications have also led to the wide acceptance of SMS as a marketing medium. While there are SMS-specific apps for businesses with limited needs, there is also powerful software that allows you to manage entire marketing campaigns across multiple channels, all using a single platform. Using such applications, you can use SMS as part of an omnichannel strategy alongside email, social media, and search advertising.

Omnichannel Adoption

In recent years, consumers have shown a clear preference for omnichannel brand communications. Not only are purchase rates higher for companies that use three or more channels, but retention rates are also much higher. While businesses available on only a single channel keep approximately 33% of their customers, retention rates are as high as 89% for companies with omnichannel engagement.

There’s no denying that a large part of the success of omnichannel campaigns is the proper use of SMS marketing. Not only are consumers more willing to receive text messages from businesses, but those who opt into SMS along with other channels are much more likely to convert. This rapid adoption and undeniably positive acceptance of omnichannel marketing make the future of SMS even more exciting.

The Benefits of SMS Marketing

Advancements in the digital marketing landscape have definitely paved the way for SMS to be a valuable marketing platform. To brands and marketers, these are the most significant benefits that are unique to the medium:

It Doesn’t Require an Internet Connection

Unlike email, it doesn’t take an internet connection or even a smartphone to receive text messages. That means your customers will receive your message no matter where they are and what kind of phone they’re using. In the US, that gives you access to 96% of the total adult population.

It is a Widely Accepted Medium

A vast majority of digital consumers are eighteen to forty-nine years old. Of them, 99% have access to SMS-enabled mobile devices. But, the success of SMS marketing is not only because of cellphone penetration but also the acceptance of texting as a natural means of communication. In fact, among Americans younger than fifty, text messaging is the most popular form of communication.

It is Always Within Reach

According to research by Morgan Stanley, 91% of adults keep their mobile devices within reach at all times. In fact, Americans check their phones every 12 minutes while they’re awake. That means the average American engages with their cellphone about 80 times a day.

It is Easy to Consume

Since phones are always within reach and text messages are typically around 160 characters long, marketing messages on SMS are easily consumed. That is probably the reason why it enjoys open rates of over 98%. In contrast, email open rates average 14% across all industries. Additionally, about 90% of text messages are read within the first three minutes of receipt.

SMS statistics

SMS Messaging Encourages Quick Responses

Because text messages are easy to consume, recipients are also more likely to respond. In fact, the average response rate for SMS is 45% while email response is only 6%.

SMS is also the preferred means of receiving coupons intended for both online and in-store redemption because of its convenience. In fact, redemption rates for SMS-based coupons are ten times higher than printed versions.

The Benefits of Combining SMS With Other Channels

Email has been the long-established medium for digital marketing. It isn’t going anywhere, no matter how prevalent SMS marketing becomes. But, text messages differ vastly from emails not only in format but also in how they are consumed. For that reason, SMS undoubtedly has its own role to play in a truly omnichannel marketing campaign.

While email excels because of its ability to communicate extensive and dynamic content, it can’t beat the timeliness of SMS. That makes text messaging the perfect complement to email. Time-sensitive offers, for example, perform best on SMS. Text messaging is also an effective way to drive your audiences to your email content.

SMS and email make up the critical platforms of an omnichannel campaign. But, it doesn’t really end there. Depending on the nature of your business and the needs of your audience, using these two platforms alongside others like push notifications, social media, search advertising allows you to be truly omnipresent without being invasive.

By combining available platforms and allowing each one to play their own roles, you’re able to provide seamless customer experiences that enhance both sales and brand affinity.

SMS Marketing is Bound to Become More Valuable

Though SMS has undoubtedly proven its worth as a marketing channel, changes and improvements that will inevitably come will make it an even more effective channel. Some of them might include:

Improvements in Personalization

As it integrates more seamlessly with other channels and becomes ingrained in more business processes, SMS marketing will enjoy a broader scope of data. Add to that the inevitable advancements in artificial intelligence and marketers will clamor over SMS for the extent to which they can personalize messages.

More data and targeting options also mean better automation capabilities. Marketers will be able to set more specific triggers, and machine learning capabilities can lead to even more personalized campaigns. With SMS’ current performance as a marketing medium, these advancements in personalization and automation will undoubtedly lead to even more improved engagement rates and, ultimately, better sales.

Developments as a Primary Support Channel

Through AI-driven enhancements, SMS could become the primary means by which customers can access support. Today, chatbots can already accurately answer frequently asked questions. As they become more informed and more intuitive, they could be integrated into more business processes that will inevitably enhance customer experiences.

Imagine entering a busy boutique and finding a top you like but not in the size you wear. Instead of waiting for your turn to ask the sales associate to check for your size, you could simply send a text message and receive a response in an instant. As SMS bots become even more integrated into business processes, they could even instruct sales associates to pull out the item you asked for, track you down within the store, and assist you through the rest of the buying process.

Usefulness in Various Industries

SMS marketing is currently most beneficial to ecommerce businesses. But, innovative marketers are quickly finding new applications for it and open up possibilities to harness its power in non-traditional ways.

Pretty soon, its benefits as a medium will encourage more and more industries to adopt it. That, in turn, will further contribute to its wide acceptance and performance as a marketing platform.

Integration With More Channels

The most common way to use SMS is to complement email campaigns. With thoughtful planning and preparation, some of the more advanced marketers also successfully use it alongside other channels like push notifications, instant messaging, social media, and search.

However, through data-driven insights and advancements in software, SMS should soon integrate more seamlessly with a wider variety of channels in order to provide a truly personal and cohesive experience that’s consistent across all platforms.

Today, some of the most powerful marketing software are already making some of these scenarios possible. Nevertheless, apps will continue improving and further increase SMS’ value.

Best Use of SMS Marketing

Businesses have adopted SMS for a wide variety of applications. Here are some of the best ways to use text messaging effectively:

  • Post-Purchase Notifications: The period after a shopper completes a purchase is crucial to customer retention. Apart from a comprehensive confirmation email, send them SMS alerts as you process their order, ship their item, and confirm that they have received their package. Doing so will make a second purchase much more likely.
  • Time-Sensitive Alerts: The short format of text messages and the proximity of mobile phones to its users make it the perfect medium for time-sensitive information that you want your audiences to act on right away. These include product launches, sales promotions, and other limited-time offers or events.
  • Gift Distribution: Impressive redemption rates make SMS an ideal platform for distributing digital coupons and virtual gifts. With marketing automation platforms, you can even send gifts automatically through relevant triggers like birthday and purchase milestones.
  • Customer Support: The quick and direct nature of SMS makes it an excellent option for providing fantastic customer service. SMS bots can receive and answer basic questions and then escalate more complex or sensitive concerns to a highly trained support team. That allows support teams to focus only on critical issues while giving all customers access to timely assistance.
  • Accessing Information: Apart from providing assistance, you can use SMS to offer quick and easy access to information. Practical applications include confirming availability, providing store locations, and offering product recommendations.
  • Drive to Site: Through SMS, you can drive your customers to your site to boost traffic, promote new content, or get them to re-engage. This is especially useful for users that haven’t visited in a long time and have stopped opening emails.
  • Order Placements: If you have limited SKUs, SMS could be a good way to accept orders. When fully automated, this could provide an effortless ordering experience to your customers, which could lead to better retention and more sales.
  • Appointment Setting & Reminders: Businesses can allow their customers to book appointments via SMS. You can use the same platform to automatically send appointment reminders.
  • Identity Verification Processes: Two-factor authorization via SMS is not a new concept. But, as data privacy and security becomes more imperative to the success of businesses, more industries will surely adopt text messaging for identity verification.
  • Feedback Gathering: Remarkable SMS response rates also make it an excellent platform for feedback gathering. Through text messages, you can ask your customers to answer simple surveys. You can even use SMS bots to ask questions as a human market researcher would.

Conclusion

The current success of SMS marketing shows that it is here to stay. As brands’ innovative use of the channel drives its growth and wide acceptance, it should become even more valuable. Ultimately, it will take its rightful place alongside email as an indispensable medium for marketing communications.

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