Client reviews, commonly referred to as testimonials, are a fundamental part of almost every professional service website. All you have to do is search for your local solicitor or dentist and client reviews will often be plastered all over their site. In the legal market, this has led to the rise of websites such as Solicitor Info (http://www.solicitor.info/). Solicitor Info (2016) states their aim is to balance the freedom of speech of reviewers with the fact that a false review may unfairly damage a solicitor’s reputation, by collecting and displaying reviews and opinions directly from consumers. This presents potential clients with the opportunity to view client reviews on an independent website, where a professional firm does not have monopolistic control of what is published. In this blog I intend to explore the benefit of professional firms obtaining reviews, which have been posted by past clientele, on websites such as Facebook and Google and the benefits it could provide as opposed to business published testimonials.
Customer relationship management (CRM) has long been used through digital platforms, mainly to enhance the customer experience, offering collaboration through shared characteristics, adding value and advocacy (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2012).
In a recent publication via (Gartner, 2015), a hype cycle was constructed of underlying trends, emerging trends and prevailing trends, one prevailing trend indicating that “CRM is dead”, describing the need for brands to focus on curating customers into advocates by offering them the platforms and the ability to become their salespeople’s. Is CRM really dead, and how can brand advocates be formed?
Through social media it is suggested that “marketers should focus on new uses for idea management, market research, social media engagement, social analytics, and social campaigns”. Moreover, B2B marketers are now investing in B2C technologies to maximise data mining, customer segmentation, behavioural analytics, multichannel campaigns, and real time marketing” (Levy, 2015).
Starting out, before we can get into what an SME should be focusing on when redesigning their site, we first need to establish why an SME should be redesigning their site and how to tell if your site is in need of a refresh.Redesigning a website to be more user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing can increase the success of a website a hundred times over (See Niebler, 2015: 4 Great Reasons to Redesign Your Website).So, what should you be looking for when deciding if your website needs a makeover?
‘Personalised marketing’ is fast becoming the new digital marketing trend – it’s purpose is to adapt products and services (in this case emails!) by using information that has been inferred from the consumers behaviour or transactions. Personalisation and customisation are different; the marketer is in charge of personalisation not the consumer (Montgomery & Smith, 2009).
It gives marketers the ability to tailor email content based on demographics, interests, location or even purchase history, reaching the mass audience by each email with something that seems personally relevant (Daykin, 2015). Personalisation will eliminate tasks for consumers and allow marketers to better identify the user’s needs and goals from past behaviour (Montgomery & Smith, 2009). The likelihood is that you will pay more attention to emails relevant to you and get annoyed by others that are irrelevant or spam. With the increase of people using mobile to read their email, personalised marketing is also effective on your mobile – mobiles are a very personal item and you expect to only receive communications via mobile that are personal to you (Daykin, 2015).
Continuing our investigation into social media campaigns as a successful digital marketing strategy its worth to look at how other book retailers/competitors have used digital channels. New emerging technology, innovation and creativity have pushed book retailers into a digital frenzy. Borders & Books is a prime example of how volatile the book retailing industry can be if one does not keep up with digital channels and technologies.
One of the most effective ways of marketing for these brick and mortar companies is creating an Omni channel experience. Cross-promotional selling to enhance, support and amplify the consumer experience (Goldberg, E. (2014). In order to find a successful digital strategy for Waterstones, looking at similar retailers success stories is very insightful.
According to this source, in July 2015 there were over 1.6 million Android apps and 1.5 million Apple apps available to download, with the largest percentage (22%) being games and those for food and drink, such as restaurants, coming in at 2.72%. It seems that these days every business has its own app, but do the benefits outweigh the costs when it comes to developing one for an independent restaurant? What are the benefits to having an app? Having your own mobile app would give a huge presence on a person’s phone, always sitting there rather than the customer needing to open a browser to access a website. This means that the business will always be in the mind of the phone user
Source: Digital Marketing
The reason why brand blogging or vlogging is so influential is because it gives a sense of transparency in communication for the consumers. They share information of value that people engage upon (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2012 p537). For instance, make-up vloggers will give positive or negative reviews on the products they’ve been using and this has significant impact on whether products are bought, this is most effective as you can see the end results with the products used – this becomes eWOM where anyone on the internet has access to what’s been said (Hung & Li, 2007).
How the consumer perceives the vlogger is critical in influencing online buyer behaviour, as trust and usefulness of product have become factors which consumers look for, with many vloggers gaining this trust from people watching (Hsiao et al, 2010).
A study conducted by Verisign in 2013; namely “Benefits And Barriers Of Bringing A Small Business Online: Perspectives From Global Small Businesses“, demonstrated how smaller businesses can leverage their position with relatively minimal effort. If the effort is relatively minimal, the question is; why are some small businesses still falling behind and not maximizing the benefit of having an online presence? Let’s look into the facts. In the UK, for example, Verisign discovered that 28% of SME respondents stated that they were not looking to eventually invest in a website for their company. This is despite the fact that Weebly (the online comprehensive website builder), stated that from research in 2013, 56% of consumers opted not to trust a business which does not have a website.
According to a 2009 study by Technorati, blogs have exceeded all other Internet applications in the number of users. By 2011, the total number of blogs reached 152 million. The popularity of blogs has shifted the nature in which fashion brands communicate with their audience, as blogs today are considered the new electronic form of word-of-mouth or e-Wom (Sedeke, 2013). A few features and functions of online communications through blogging platforms include (Okonkwo, 2010): Transparency – people must know ‘face’ of blog, blogger must be open to all dicussions, even negative ones Informality – the more informal: the better – if writing is ‘too smooth’ readers may not trust voice and see blog as ‘corporate ghost’ Objectivity – bloggers must be unbiased and fair, readers are quick to point out when blogger is being influenced by certain brand/company Trust – consumers trust eachother more than press and companies, without trust, community is gone Most fashion brands have only just caught up with bloggers. Much scepticism has been placed around the credibility of bloggers, with established brands and designers resisting to incorporate them into their corporate communication (Okonkwo, 2010).
With the cost of video production reducing, video is taking content marketing by storm with the demand for online videos outpacing the budgets required. According to Cisco, they predict globally in 2019, consumer internet video traffic will be 80% of all consumer internet traffic, up from 64% in 2014 (Cisco, 2015). This shows the huge potential this can provide organisations, but will this trend result in online video being the main focus for agencies in content marketing strategies? And should the marketing agencies be adopting these strategies for themselves? And how should videos be approached?