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KEEPING GENERATION Y CONTENT!

April 15, 2015 | Author:

One of the key target markets today is Generation Y – or the Millennials.   This is the demographic cohort following Generation X and broadly speaking encompasses people born between the early 1980s and early 2000s.  This young target market has increasing purchasing power and it’s therefore vital to make the effort to incorporate into any digital marketing strategy the kind of content that is proven to appeal to this market.  

First of all let’s take a look at the platforms that Millennials use most in their everyday lives.  As can be seen from the diagram below, millennials consume content across a number of different platforms, and part of a successful marketing strategy is putting content on the right channel.

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However, as part of an effective digital marketing strategy, not only the platform but the content needs to be right!   In 2014, a study called “Content Marketing Best Practices Among Millennials” was conducted by Yahoo and Tumblr, in partnership with Razorfish and Digitas.  It found that 45% of Generation Y are not impressed with the content of most marketing communications.   To follow this up further, another study was then commissioned by NewsCred to survey 501 millennials.  The results of this second study revealed that whilst 62% do feel that digital marketing makes them feel more connected and loyal to a brand, only 32% actually find the content of that marketing helpful.

The two surveys made various suggestions as to how to create content that does appeal to this critical demographic, and we have summarised them into the following five Top Tips:

1. Tailor content to millennial culture

It is essential to bear in mind the age, location, and cultural interests of this target market at all times.  54% of millennials prefer content tailored to their age, 55% prefer content tailored to their location, and 63% prefer content tailored to their cultural interests.  Millennials expect you to understand their needs, their preferences, and their passions.  It’s all about them!  You need to use all the analytical tools at your disposal to develop a detailed understanding of Generation Y : who they are, where they are, and what motivates them.

2. Keep it short

The average attention span of the millennial generation is very short:  41% of millennials said the main reason they abandon content is that it’s too long.   It’s therefore essential to keep things short and simple:  if they can’t find the answers from your marketing content, they are likely to quickly go elsewhere. Also bear in mind the context of how people read your content – they may be on a mobile device looking for a quick information rather than wanting to research in-depth.

3. Be funny

Just as you like to laugh, so do millennials!  “Comedy is the number one most watched genre online and speaks to their values of fun and positivity,” explained the Yahoo! study.  In your digital marketing strategy don’t take yourself too seriously but find ways to be humorous and a little self-deprecating as this will endear people to your brand.   Even if your products are not fun in themselves, your branding can still make people smile.

4. Be authentic

As well as being funny, ensure that your content is a genuine and positive reflection of your brand’s perspective, and that it draws people in.  Give Generation Y a good reason to connect with your content and, in turn, your brand.   Building an emotional connection with them is the first step on the pathway to building trust.  There is also evidence to suggest that millennials are very receptive to cause marketing and more likely to purchase items from brands associated with issues they care about such as alleviating poverty, sustainability, equality, and animal welfare.

5. Make it a two way street

Millennials are used to interacting online so avoid falling into the trap of making your digital marketing strategy static.  Giving them the opportunity to contribute user-generated content ideas can make millennials feel like they are part of your community and that you are listening to what they have to say. They are also then more likely to share your content – NewsCred’s survey found that millennials only share content when it is “thought provoking and intelligent” and/or “it’s relevant to my circle of friends.”

We hope that these Top Tips are useful pointers for gearing your digital marketing strategy to engage Generation Y.  Whilst you may need to put some initial effort into adjusting your platform and content, this will reap dividends in the longer term and keep your brand firmly in the focus of the millennials.


 

THE ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE

April 10, 2015 | Author:

Every so often another challenge or trend appears on social media.   A little like the old concept of “chain letters”, the idea is to participate yourself then nominate others to do likewise.  These trends include posting cryptic words or taking specific photos or sharing memories from a particular era.  However, 2014 saw things move up a gear with the advent of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

The Ice Bucket Challenge demanded that the participant be filmed whilst having a bucket of ice cold water poured over them, then nominating others to do likewise.  The whole  idea behind this was to raise awareness of – and money for – the disease ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).   Symptoms of this disease include muscle weakness, twitching, difficulty swallowing or breathing,  impaired use of the arms and legs, difficulty in projecting the voice.   One of the most well-known sufferers of the disease is Professor Stephen Hawking.

The Ice Bucket Challenge proved to be an ingenious use of  social media marketing  that truly went viral.  It raised over $100 million within the first month of being posted on social media.   It crossed the boundaries of all the major social media sites:  according to The New York Times, people shared more than 1.2 million videos on Facebook between June 1 and August 13 and mentioned the phenomenon more than 2.2 million times on Twitter between July 29 and August 17.  Even today a Youtube search of “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” shows almost 5 million results!  Over 1,000 celebrities also participated by either accepting the challenge or donating money to ALS.

Why was this social marketing campaign so successful?  Coming back to the chain letter concept, the challenge worked predominantly because every person completing the Ice Bucket Challenge then tagged at least 3 to 4 others in the process.  This meant that their video would then be seen not just by their friends, but by friends of the tagged friends, and friends of those friends . . . . and so it goes on!

Overall, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has shown that by skilful use of social media marketing, a well-timed simple yet effective marketing campaign can go viral and achieve way above its original expectations.   Think about the implications of this for your business or organisation!  Could it be your creative marketing campaign that becomes the most talked-about social media phenomenon of 2015?!

HARNESSING THE POWER OF EMAIL

April 1, 2015 | Author:

As marketers we think of email as an incredibly powerful digital marketing tool.  We use it to keep in touch with existing customers and reach out to potential new ones.  We get all kinds of creative marketing ideas to use it in clever ways to communicate news, events, special offers and all manner of other things to increasingly tailored mailing lists.  Even the lengths we go to capture those email addresses in the first place is a key part of our digital marketing strategy.  

But let’s face it, as consumers do we always respond as positively to emails as we would hope when we send them out?  When we are on the receiving end do we not feel somewhat bombarded by marketing emails and perhaps delete most without even opening them? How can we prevent this happening to emails that we send out? Is there a lesson to be learned?

Some recent research by Touchstone indicates that yes indeed there is. Touchstone is a subject line tool from Alchemy Worx that helps to predict the result of your email campaign before you even hit Send! They conducted an analysis of their database of over 21 billion emails across a variety of sectors which is currently being used by 2,500 email marketers to optimise their subject lines. They came up with the following table of words that have been shown to actively encourage people to open emails and words that for some reason have the opposite effect.


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According to Dela Quist, Founder and CEO of Alchemy Worx: “The subject line is the most important part of an email and the data from Touchstone analysed the subject line in its entirety to show that a single word or symbol can make a dramatic difference.”

It’s interesting to read this Touchstone research in parallel with other research on email effectiveness.  MailChimp and Adestra, a digital marketing firm, have both done previous research indicating that the best words in subject lines include “urgent,” “announcement,”  “freebie”,  “alert,” “daily,” and “free delivery”.  MailChimp have also been involved in research in the last couple of years that indicate that personalised subject lines get up to 22.3% more opens than emails without personalisation.

The above research recommends avoiding “Help,” “Percent off,” and “Reminder.”  Adestra even found a 18.7%  fall off in clicks when the word “newsletter” was in the subject line. Also be careful to avoid words that trigger spam labelling.  These do change over time, though HubSpot recently named “Cash,” “Quote,” and “Save” as prime spam offenders.

Finally, pay attention to the length of your subject line! In 2014, Retention Science, a personalisation platform,  analysed results from over 260 million emails sent via 540 different campaigns and found that email subject lines with 6 to 10 words produce the best open rate.

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At Xcite Digital we run effective email campaigns as part of our Accelerate digital marketing programme and understand the need to keep up to date with effective wording which does of course constantly change along with the market.  By all means continue to make email a part of your digital marketing strategy but keep up to date with research as to what does and does not work to ensure that you are engaging and not alienating your target market.

EPIC OSCAR SELFIE

March 25, 2015 | Author:

We are at the end of the awards season, with various ceremonies having taken place and the resultant fallout hitting the press the following day! But it reminded us of last year’s Oscars, where Ellen de Generes took what has subsequently been described as “the most epic selfie in the history of the word epic — and in the history of selfies”!

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Ellen, who was hosting the  86th Academy Awards on March 2nd 2014, managed to gather twelve celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, Angelina Jolie, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Spacey, Jared Leto, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Lupita Nyong’o and Brad Pitt for a selfie picture.

Within forty minutes it had broken the previous retweet record – Barack Obama’s victory in the 2012 presidential election – and was in fact retweeted over 1.8 million times in the first hour! By the end of the ceremony it had been retweeted over 2 million times and by the end of 2014 it was the most-retweeted post this year with more than 3.3 million retweets.

What is perhaps less well known is the impact that the epic selfie had on the phone brand that Ellen used to take it!  The selfie was taken on Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and tweeted from the stage, providing a wonderful social marketing opportunity for Samsung! Debate raged on Twitter as to whether this was a pre-planned marketing stunt. Certainly as part of its sponsorship for the Oscars, Samsung did negotiate to have its Galaxy smartphone integrated into the show, and was promised its devices would get airtime. There are even suggestions that during rehearsals Samsung executives trained Ellen on how to use the Samsung Galaxy.

Product placement is a great technique to use in digital marketing! Whatever the truth behind Ellen’s selfie, it was a great plug for the Samsung brand. According to Allen Adamson, managing director of branding firm Landor Associates:  ”Ellen’s selfie is going to be more impactful than their commercials. You can’t buy that magic of going viral.”


FUNDAMENTALS OF GOOD WEBSITE DESIGN

March 18, 2015 | Author:

TRENDS IN WEBSITES

In the past few years there have been lots of advances in web design and development. The previously ‘traditional’ layouts have now been replaced with more adventurous creative and alternative navigation.

With the huge increase in mobile and responsive devices, the way users use/navigate through sites has changed. Gone are the days where users don’t like to scroll, and instead it’s the opposite in that long pages with minimal clicks are becoming the norm. This allows for easy viewing no matter the device. Research also shows that sites with scrollable pages retain users on their site for longer periods of time as they get absorbed by the continual content.

So if you are about to design a new or revamped website as part of your digital marketing strategy, what kind of things should you consider incorporating to ensure that it is both on trend and the best showcase for your brand as possible?

THREE CRITICAL PAGES

THE HOME PAGE

The home page is the shop window to the website! It is essential to have all the relevant information on there, and perhaps also excerpts from other areas of the site. For example you could show the top three FAQs and/or latest news, and users can then either go directly to that question/article or the landing page for that section.

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THE CONTACT PAGE

Whether the contact page is embedded into the home page or a completely separate page, it is essential to make it very clear and easy how to get in touch with the website.  Contact details and CTAs (call to actions / buttons) should feature around the site encouraging users to get in touch.  

THE FAQ PAGE

This is going to be a popular page on the site so needs to be aesthetically pleasing and also provide good user experience.  These are also good ‘search terms’ as far as SEO is concerned – therefore the best thing to do is have a landing page, in broken down into sections, with the answers on individual pages.

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It is also essential that FAQ can easily be understood – therefore they need to be written in the language of your potential clients, not necessarily yours. You may want to consider personalising the questions as if they have come from customers, which is very engaging and reinforces the fact they are genuine frequently asked questions.

It’s also important to include a ‘search feature’ in the FAQs so that users can easily find what they are looking for.   Perhaps include a pop out form for users to pose their own questions to you in case they want to know something that isn’t initially covered.

GOOD LAYOUT FEATURES

NAVIGATION SHOULD ALWAYS BE VISIBLE

Some websites make full use of the user’s entire screen with no visible navigation when you first land on the page, but as you start to scroll down, the navigation scrolls in from the top and fixes itself so it’s always visible. There is certainly no ‘right or wrong’ when it comes to navigation position – it is personal preference but does need to be thought through.

GOOD BALANCE AND DISPLAY OF IMAGE AND CONTENT

A good website needs a balance between image and text. It is also effective to vary the layout between some pages where imagery and content are split on the left and right of the screen, and some where the content overlays the imagery. This is a good way to keep the user engaged.  

BANNERS BETWEEN EACH SECTION

Another aspect of effective design is break up different sections with strong banners. This is very appealing to the eye and therefore engaging to any visitor. They have the effect of making you want to scroll down to find out more.

 STUNNING IMAGERY

The imagery you use on your website is hugely important – the right imagery even releases dopamine / serotonin. By using strong and appropriate imagery your website can make the visitors feel instantly happier, and they will in turn relate this happiness to your brand.

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VISUALLY EYE-CATCHING

It is crucial to make sure that your website looks as good as it can visually, and reflects your brand. As well as the imagery itself, think about the use of white space so that the sections between the imagery are clean and clear and feel refreshing. Also consider the size and weight of the font, and the spacing of all elements. Go for a look that “just works”!

We hope that this article has given you some food for thought about website design. Do browse through some of the links to client examples on this website too – we hope you find them inspiring!