The Resurrection of the Website

The website is the linchpin of any brand’s online presence.  Or, at least, it should be.  However, with the growing influence of social media, many companies have virtually abandoned their websites.  This is a bad idea.  While, it’s true, people spend a lot of time on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more, the only place on the internet your company owns the content it’s producing  is on it’s own website.

So, while having a strategy that pulls folks back to your website is key, it’s just as important to having an outstanding website for them to go to.

Here is one way of looking at it from an integrated marketing standpoint:

Think about it.  Most of us have visited websites where the information was old and outdated, links were broken, or the webpage was somehow “under construction,” which is a fancy way of saying it it’s incomplete.  That’s not even touching on websites that are poorly designed.  So let’s take a look back at Orlando City Soccer Club’s website, and see how they measure up.

Orlando City Soccer webpage home page

OCSC has a beautifully designed website that integrates both push and pull marketing.  Prominently displayed social media account links are present.  There is fresh content scrolling in the main news area.  Here they’re talking about player, Kevin Molina, being named to the USL team of the week and advertising the team’s next matches.

Fresh Conent -- molino

Immediately I see the opportunity to “Live Chat” in the bottom right.

Orlando City Soccer Live chat

There are offers to buy tickets, a Soccercast to listen to, an email list to subscribe to, and even an opportunity to volunteer.

volunteer sign up page

They also integrate print and email marketing along with a very active social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest, even using Twitter to pull folks into their coach’s blog.

2014-06-08 21.35.50

In the story sections, visitors can share the content directly to their social networks and even comment right from the OCSC webpage.

Social media share buttons

Although the website has a lot of tabs, they are well organized and full of good, useful, and informative content.

coporate tab

gameday tab

news tab

Schedule tab

MLS tab  Tickets tab

store tab

club tab

I especially like their nod to their supporters clubs, the tab for Spanish-speaking fans, and the one highlighting the many youth programs, OCSC offers.

espanol tab

 

OCSC Youth Soccer webpage

I had to look hard to find any recommendations I’d make to the designers of the site.  When looking at the mobile version, no accommodations have been made for a mobile viewer.  This is a missed opportunity.

Orlando City Soccer Mobile version

Statistics show that mobile use of the internet is growing.

Orlando City SC should be taking advantage of this rising trend.

 

There are a lot of other important things to look at when designing and structuring your website.  Using Google Analytics is always a great step.  I’d also recommend using a site like crazyegg, which shows things like heat mapping, where folks are clicking most, how long they scroll down, where they leave your page, and so much more.

 

Push & Pull Marketing — getting folks to your website

Push and pull marketing each serve their purposes, but, like most things we’re discovering with integrated marketing, they often work best when they’re working together.

Some of the benefits to push marketing are:

  • A small brand is able to reach a broader audience when using a television or radio ad.
  • Brands are also able to use push marketing when a particular time-table is important, like sending an email blast about an upcoming sale.
  • Push marketing is also essential when you’re a new business or a business rebranding yourself, making use of services like direct-mail.

Pull marketing allows a business to:

  • Develop brand loyalty through social media platforms such as Yelp and FourSquare, having customers find you and check-in.  You can even offer a coupon or discount.
  • Market without a big budget.  Many pull marketing techniques can be done through free social media posts, blogs, YouTube videos, etc.
  • Showcase you as being an expert through publishing blogs or offering white papers about specific topics that will help you gain an audience.

Push and pull marketing can work together in really compelling ways.  When someone searches for a YouTube video on a particular subject and ends up subscribing to a channel, or when the use of good SEO and Google AdWords leads to a Google search with your company’s website at the top of it are both examples of having a good balanced marketing approach.

Push marketing is also more expensive than pull marketing.  However, pull marketing often takes more effort to develop and maintain.  Push marketing can better for creating brand awareness, and pull marketing is great for maintaining brand loyalty.  The best scenario is having both together in a hybrid method.

When thinking about push and pull marketing, it’s important to remember that social media, a favorite marketing tool, is not the place you want your customers to stay.  Using a combination of both push and pull marketing, the goal is to get people to your website where you can, again, offer a combination of push and pull methods to gain them as a customer.  The trouble is many people have seemingly abandoned their websites in favor of social media when they should be using them as a hubs instead.  After all, companies do not own what they do on a social media site, whereas on their website, they do.

I really enjoy acknowledging and reviewing local brands who effectively use a hybrid of push and pull marketing right here in Central Florida.  One such brand in the Central Florida YMCA.

The Central FL YMCA shows great brand consistency through the use of their logo and design.  They use their website, mobile, and social media to inform and educate.  They have social media buttons on their homepage.

As summer begins, they are also using consistent messaging and visuals, all highlighting their swimming programs.

On their website, they also direct visitors to donate online or become a member.  You can even download an application right from their website.

I recently saw a segment on Good Life 45‘s “Welcome Home” where they were promoting “Safe Start.” (start at 33:10 to see the segment)

 Another local brand that is leveraging savvy marketing is Real Life Church.

While some people may not think of a church as a brand, they are still trying to attract folks to enter their doors.

Real Life Church shows great branding and consistency across various platforms and sites.  Here they are showcasing their current series, “Transformed: A Study In Romans.”

They are definitely trying to get folks to their website where they can find out more information, find a location, watch videos of messages, or even give to their ministry.

I know some folks who don’t appreciate this sort of integrated marketing from an organization like a church, but really they’re just using smart methods to interest people enough to visit and then continue their engagement.

The pastors from Real Life also have a television show on a local Christian station called “Real Talk.”  This is just another extension of them marketing their message while showing a brand personality that is approachable.

The Big Dogs: Google v Facebook

Google v Facebook.  Do I have to choose?  To put it most simply, I think Google is bigger when it comes to advertising, and Facebook is still the leader from a social perspective.

As Antony Young noted in his book, Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era, Google’s road to advertising domination began by solving the marketers’ basic issues of waste and accountability (2010, p. 8).   Google’s AdWords’ effectiveness and their ability to be a “database of intentions” has enabled Google to dwarf traditional media when it comes to advertising revenue (2010, p. 9).

Google has also helped small, local businesses make a name for themselves in their local markets by making them accessible via search to those looking in their backyard for goods and services.  As Young states, Google’s “increased transparency of online advertising’s direct impact on sales and leads is pushing other media to do better” (2010, p. 11).  In other words, Google is the alpha dog in the advertising world.

Some people think Facebook Ads will overtake Google AdWords due to, in part, the amount of time the average Facebook user is on their site.  My place of business has purchased both Google and Facebook ads.  We’ve definitely shown more engagement through our Facebook promotions, whereas our Google ad fell flat and was also much more expensive.  Facebook allowed our ad to be more highly targeted (Rhoads, 2014).  Being able to target friends of those who like our Facebook page, who are of a certain gender and in a certain age-range, who live in certain areas in Central Florida was very helpful when trying to reach our target market.  Word of mouth is still the best way to engage people in a local brand, and I think Facebook’s user-generated content is still more valuable to our brand than anything we’ve gotten from Google.

Facebook is the biggest website in the world (Young, 2010, p 11).  While I disagree with the assertion that being more visible makes us better people (2010, p. 13), I am certainly more visible on Facebook than I am on any other social media site.  I don’t even have a Google+ account and wouldn’t even know their business influence if I weren’t in this program.  I’d thought of it as a “ghost town.”    I’ve learned that this is because Google+ is more designed for businesses, but they’re taking steps to appeal to more individuals.

These two internet giants are both so huge now, that talking about them in terms of just their social scale and advertising reach isn’t even enough anymore.  Both companies have chosen to expand so much over the past few years, that they’re way more than just advertisers and social media platforms.

When Google purchased YouTube in 2006, it was a huge step in cementing their brand as the internet’s biggest and most influential brand.  Facebook later purchased the wildly popular photo-sharing site, Instagram.  Both companies have since gone on to acquire various tech companies that range from those that build robots, phones, and unmanned cars, to digital thermostats, to more infrastructure- based ones.  While they both currently rule their respective areas of strength, the possibilities seem endless for both companies.

FitzGerald, D. & Ante, S.  (2013, December 16). Tech Firms Push to Control Web’s Pipes: Google, Facebook Raise Tensions With Telecoms in Power Struggle for Internet’s Backbone.  Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304173704579262361885883936

Google buys YouTube for $1.65 billion. (2006, October 10). Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/15196982/ns/business-us_business/t/google-buys-youtube-billion/#.U35QaGco-P8

Hill, K. (2014, April 2). Google+ Goes Where Facebook Never Has With Narcissism Stats. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/04/02/google-goes-where-facebook-never-has-with-narcissism-stats/

Olmstead, K. (2014, April 25). As digital ad sales grow, news outlets get a smaller share. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/04/25/as-digital-ad-sales-grow-news-outlets-get-a-smaller-share/

Online Advertising: Facebook Ads or Google AdWords?. (2014, March 21). Retrieved from http://www.eureka-startups.com/contents/view/el-dilema-entre-facebook-ads-y-google-adwords/

Price, E. (2012, April 9). Facebook Buys Instagram for $1 Billion. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2012/04/09/facebook-instagram-buy/

Ray, A. (2013, July 23). The Real Data on Facebook vs. Google+ (And Other Social Networks) [INFOGRAPHIC]. Retrieved from http://socialmediatoday.com/augieray1/1613711/real-data-facebook-vs-google-and-other-social-networks-interactive-infographic

Rhoads, J. (2014). Week 2: “What is Multimedia Communication?” [Video]. Retrieved from http://mediasite.video.ufl.edu/Mediasite/Play/fde927e50db4450a995d9b19acf809651d

Stone, B. (2014, April 24). Google and Facebook’s Fight for the Future of Tech. Retrieved from http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-04-24/google-facebook-fight-for-techs-future-via-acquisitions

Wang, L. (2013, August 14). Facebook Ads Could Overtake Google Adwords. Retrieved from http://www.ampush.com/facebook-ads-could-overtake-google-adwords/

Young, A. (2010). Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era. New York. NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Classic & Social Media — Working Together

Classic marketing — wasn’t it great?  Picture Don Draper presenting the next great ad campaign idea to Chevrolet in a smoke-filled room.

 

The advertising business used to be planned for and over a long period of time, and the communication with customers was always well considered and reviewed.  In today’s fast-paced world, that almost sounds antiquated, doesn’t it?

ClassicMarketing_SocialMediaMarketing

The thing is, classic marketing as we know it — print, radio, and television — still plays a part in a good multimedia marketing plan, and it’s still about branding.  The difference is that now customers want to have experiences rather than products, and today’s marketing professionals know just how to seamlessly have a brand engage with their customers.

Let’s take a look at McDonald’s.

In the past few days, McDonald’s introduced a brand new mascot, Happy. The reviews were far from mixed.

 

 

If these were still the days of Don Draper and his Mad Men team, after the panic had subsided, there would be a response in the form of a full-paged ad in the New York Times, or perhaps a new television spot.  Nowadays, we have the luxury of social media.  Rather than use a classic form of media, McDonald’s chose to respond right where they chose to announce the mascot to begin with.

Rather than panic at the immediate public dislike of their new mascot, McDonald’s chose to capitalize on their media exposure and make light of the complaints.  This was advertising genius.  In a crisis situation, social media marketing far outshines the classic approach.  The immediacy of both the customer feedback and the company’s response shows how powerful social media marketing is.  Its spontaneous nature led to the negative feedback, but also opened the door for McDonald’s clever response.  The point is we are still talking about it.

As one article on Time.com states:

According to the research firm Kontera, the introduction of Happy hiked McDonald’s overall online/social media impressions by 67% from May 17-18 to May 19-20, and an impressive 25% of the content over May19-20 was related to Happy. Another 11% had to do with Happy Meals.

While, naturally, McDonald’s would’ve preferred Happy to be warmly embraced by their customers, any time someone hears about their new mascot — no matter the reaction to it — it’s giving McDonald’s free advertising.

McDonald’s uses a multimedia marketing plan, integrating social and classic media.  In this recent print campaign, McDonald’s chooses to not use any descriptions — in fact, they don’t even identify their brand on the posters — showing that their classic menu items need no introduction.

They support their print ads with a commercial.

They’re also using this new YouTube commercial to capitalize on this summer’s World Cup and encourage customers to download an app to play a new trick-shot game.  As it says on their YouTube channel, GET THE APP, GET THE FRIES, PLAY FOR GLORY.

While all of McDonald’s advertising has clearly been well thought out and planned, you never know how the public will react.  They may even take it upon themselves to make a documentary like, “Supersize Me,” or a teacher may challenge his students to debunk it.  In today’s media saturated landscape, the one thing you can count on is your customers having opinions and sharing their reactions and comments with you immediately.  They may tweet or blog or comment or even make a YouTube video.  The one thing you don’t want is for them to be silent.