Just 20 years ago there were few options for marketing. There was no such thing as social media and there were no smartphones. Even then, most businesses did not even have a website. So, all that was really available was traditional advertising, faxes, direct mail and telesales.
Nowadays, of course. there is so much more. You can do everything that was done 20 years ago, but now there is the whole phenomenon of “online content” as well as email marketing, digital newsletters, social media and so on. The problem for consumers is that this means they are continuously surrounded by a plethora of marketing messages. And it is all becoming far too intrusive.
Instead of receiving marketing messages in a handful of ways, we are now constantly surrounded by them and face multiple versions of the same messaging, time after time, all day long. People are naturally trying to bring some order into the chaos.
One way of achieving this is to categorise communications. You can see teenagers doing this a great deal. They use Snapchat for conversations with friends, WhatApp for communicating with family and interest groups. They use Facebook for keeping up to date with brands and they use Twitter for sharing fun items. Instead of seeing each network or communications system as a means for doing everything, many individuals are now allocating a particular kind of communication to a specific service. That way they can restore some order to their life.
Marketing should go through a preferred route
New research shows that people are increasingly also categorising marketing messages. One study for Instagram, for instance, shows that most people want marketing materials to go into “stories” rather than “posts”.
Meanwhile, another study conducted by the Direct Marketing Association shows that almost three-quarters of people want all their marketing information to arrive via email. This study was conducted after the introduction of GDPR and is further evidence that email marketing is the area in which businesses should concentrate on if they wish to engage their customers and potential clients.
How to determine your customers’ preferred systems
If you are to succeed with Internet Marketing you need to be sure you know the preferred routes for messages by your clients and potential customers. Some target markets prefer Instagram Stories, for instance, whereas others want emails. You need to know where you should be sending your marketing messages if you want the greatest impact.
To determine where you should be sending your messages you can:
- Conduct surveys
- Run market research studies
- Interrogate your analytics
- Run split-tests comparing different marketing methods
If all you do is use every marketing medium available in the hope it will catch someone you will be wasting your time and resources on producing content that will almost never be used. Your return on your marketing investment will be much reduced.
Instead, find out the ways in which your targets are categorising the messages they received and then use the medium which they say is what is used for marketing – even if you don’t agree…!
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+