The 10 hottest topics to focus on when planning your eCommerce Expo itinerary

Taking place over two days, this year’s eCommerce Expo is going to be bigger than ever. There’s going to be more talks and more insight than one person can handle. Unfortunately, one person can’t be in two places at once, and with over 100 sessions in 12 theatres, it’s going to be impossible to catch everything.

So, what key topics should you focus on, that is going to make a real difference to your business?

We’ve put together a short round-up of what we think the hottest topics will be this year. Covering every critical challenge and opportunity that lies ahead, we hope this helps you make the most of your time at the Expo. It may even you a little extra time to stop by our stand and say hello!

1. Optimizing email is essential

Email automation ecommerce expo

Any article that you read arguing that email is dead is wrong. Plain and simple.

In fact, email marketing is only getting stronger, now generating an ROI of $50 for every $1 spent. Email is still the majority of customers’ preferred method of communication with a brand. For an ecommerce brand, email is a vital part of your ecosystem. It covers marketing, transactions, and customer service.

But, with the average customer using so many channels and unique devices, keeping up with demand can seem impossible. Overcrowded inboxes are common and cutting through the noise feels futile. That’s why optimizing your email performance is essential.

Whether you’re introducing channels to compliment email or creating consistent messaging: optimization is key. With a whole theatre dedicated to automation, email and multichannel, it’s a must-not-be-missed topic.

Top talks

⭐ Gavin Laugenie 🗓 25 September 🕒 15.40 – 16.05 📍 Marketing Automation, Email & Multichannel Theatre

⭐ Actionable insight to enhance your email marketing 🗓 25 September 🕒 12.35 – 13.05 📍 Marketing Automation, Email & Multichannel Theatre

2. Let data influence your decisions

Data decisions ecommerce expo

We’ve already highlighted the massive returns email achieves. But how does that equate with the idea that GDPR has made email marketing harder?

Research shows that GDPR has made consumers more aware of how their data is being used. Rather than making them reluctant to hand over personal information, it’s proving the opposite. Customers are happier to hand over their data in return for a unique and personalized shopping experience. So, don’t let GDPR put you off collecting it at every opportunity you get.

Data is your secret power. The most successful marketing strategies rely on data to influence decisions, and that’s exactly what you should be doing. Rather than feeling fear and dread when it comes to data, this is your opportunity to let it empower you. Your opportunities to connect with customers will flourish when you learn how to make your data work harder for you.

Top talks

⭐ Building consumer understanding through data-driven insights 🗓 26 September 🕒 13.50 – 14.15 📍 MadTech & Data Driven Insights Theatre

⭐ Don’t let GDPR kill your marketing strategy 🗓 26 September 🕒 10.50 – 11.15 📍 MadTech & Data Driven Insights Theatre

3. Realizing the power of reviews

Reviews ecommerce expo

The ever-increasing ecommerce landscape has made it easier for competitors to pop-up at the drop of a hat. As a result, differentiating your brand is now more difficult.

With 94% of shoppers checking reviews before they buy, it’s time we all realized the power of reviews. Consumers trust the feedback of their peers over the promises of a brand. By incorporating reviews into your marketing, show your brands’ openness and integrity. Giving shoppers the power to make informed decisions drives conversion rates and helps you gain valuable insight into your customers.

It’s time to tap into this and make reviews an integral part of your marketing.

Top talks

⭐ 5 simple steps to building a successful review strategy – by Ted Baker 🗓 25 September 🕒 12.40 – 13.05 📍 Customer & Personalization Theatre

⭐ Turning insight into action – how to get more from your customer feedback 🗓 25 September 🕒 11.25 – 11.50 📍 Content & Social Strategies Theatre

4. Personalization

Personalization ecommerce expo

1:1 experiences are essential for the modern consumer. It’s what they demand in exchange for shopping with you, and it’s what keeps them coming back to you.

From basic first name personalization and behavior targeting to advanced external dynamic content and liquid script – a little can go a long way. Key to delivering these unique experiences is knowing how to use the data at your fingertips.

Ecommerce brands have been leading the way on this front for quite some time but, it’s important not to rest on your laurels. You must keep learning, trying, and testing to discover what works with your audience and what drive results.

Top talks

⭐ Innovating through content personalization: data-centric strategies to transform customer experience 🗓 25 September 🕒 11.25 – 11.50 📍 Customer & Personalization Theatre

⭐ How to improve online customer experience…even on a small budget 🗓 26 September 🕒 15.05 – 15.35 📍 Customer & Personalization Theatre

5. Cracking the content code

Content marketing ecommerce expo

Let’s face it, few of us are actually trained copywriters, yet copywriting is what we do. Whether it’s email, web, blogging, or social, you’re expected to produce it all.

But you don’t have to be a wordsmith to be a content creating genius. From videos to podcasts, graphics, and physical collateral, you’re trying to achieve two key things with every bit of content you produce:

  1. To grab the attention of your customer
  2. To create a connection with your audience that keeps them coming back

Storytelling has been at the core of content marketing since its advent. With people spending more of time on channels like Instagram and Snapchat, telling an engaging brand story is essential.

Top talks

⭐ Five-second rule: grabbing your customer’s attention quickly 🗓 25 September 🕒 14.20 – 14.45 📍 MadTech & Data Driven Insights Theatre
⭐ It starts with a song: connecting with Kobalt’s community through content 🗓 26 September 🕒 15.05 – 15.35 📍 Content & Social Strategies Theatre

6. Nailing the experience

Happy customer experience

Optimizing customers’ experiences is essential for ecommerce brands. The better their experience, the better they convert.

The smoother the journey, from browsing to payment, the more likely customers are to return. In fact, they’re 86% more likely to repeat a purchase. You know the importance of personalization to the customers’ experience, but to keep them loyal, you need to go way beyond that. Consistency is key.

Optimization can come in many forms. To most tech-savvy shoppers, mobile optimization and customer service is vital. 24/7 access to customer services through online chat or social media is essential. It’s leading to a significant change to both marketing and customer service roles. The two roles are beginning to overlap and merge.

Ecommerce has been leading the way, embracing customer experience roles as intermediaries between marketing and customer service. But, to keep customers coming back, you need to get ahead of the game, and the best way to do so is to check out eCommerce Expo’s UX and CRO Theatre.

Top talks

⭐Customer journey hijacking: the hidden problem that’s causing your millions! 🗓 25 September 🕒 11.50 – 12.15 📍 UX and CRO Theatre

⭐ The evolution of ecommerce: how the psychological foundation of consumer behavior evolved and redefined business requirements 🗓 26 September 🕒 11.10 – 11.35 📍 UX and CRO Theatre

7. Scaling your brand

Business growth

Ecommerce is open for business. Anyone with an idea and a business model has the power to create the next big thing. But, with giants such as Amazon already dominating the field, the idea of growing your brand can feel daunting.

But this doesn’t have to be the case.

The digital landscape has helped even things out. New tech and access to social media has made it easier for anyone to scale quickly. All you need is the proper inspiration – and you’ll get plenty of that at the eCommerce Expo.

Top talks

⭐Gorillas & unicorns: unlocking brand growth through technology collaboration 🗓 25 September 🕒 12.00 – 12.25 📍 MAdTech Innovations Theatre

⭐ How to achieve fast, sustainable growth in ecommerce 🗓 26 September 🕒 13.15 – 14.00 📍 Keynote Theatre

8. Expanding your market

International expansion

Maybe scaling isn’t your only goal? Maybe you’re looking to expand beyond your geographical location.

The best thing about living in the digital age is that our ambition is limitless. Once upon a time, trading in a new country meant finding premises abroad and setting up shop there. That cost a great deal of time, money and manpower. Technology has helped us break down these boundaries. We know it’s possible, which leaves us with the question of where to start, and how do we ensure our ventures are a success?

Top talks

⭐ Localize to thrive: providing a seamless localized offer 🗓 25 September 🕒 15.05 – 15.35 📍 Cross Border Theatre

⭐ Cross border ecommerce success: the key steps for effective international expansion 🗓 26 September 🕒 11.30 – 12.00 📍 Cross Border Theatre

9. Prepare for the future

Future of ecommerce

When it comes to the future, there are a lot of scary phrases and hypotheses bouncing around. Buzzwords like AI, Bitcoin, and blockchain are everywhere lately, but what do they mean and how will they change the way we work?

When will the robots take over?

We’re already starting to see AI trickle into our day-to-day lives at work. It’s powering features such as chatbots and product recommendations. These are already making a positive difference to customer experience. Blockchain is improving brand transparency and cutting down on marketing ‘middlemen’.

Advances in technology aren’t slowing down, so preparing for them is key.

Top talks

⭐ AI, chatbots & their use for eretail and marketing 🗓 25 September 🕒 15.05 – 15.30 📍 MadTech Innovations Theatre

⭐ Blockchain in delivery – future or fad? 🗓 25 September 🕒 15.40 – 16.10 📍 Delivery & Fulfilment Theatre

10. Get ready to go headless

Ecommerce voice recognition

As consumers get used to shopping through apps, smart voice assistants, and in-store interfaces, ecommerce platforms must work harder to keep up.

Whereas most traditional commerce platforms are only designed to deliver content in the form of websites, headless platforms use APIs to deliver content to any screen or device. This is more flexible, adaptable, and offers endless customization and personalization options.

At the moment, Amazon is once again leading the way when it comes to going headless. Traditional commerce solutions can’t achieve the Amazon Prime-like experience 60% of consumers. It’s imperative you start planning to go headless to keep providing customers with the experiences they desire.

Top talks

⭐ Headless ecommerce – the platform revolution 🗓 25 September 🕒 12.40 – 13.05 📍 Omnichannel Theatre

⭐ How to deliver results by going headless 🗓 25 September 🕒 15.05 – 15.30 📍 Omnichannel Theatre


Keep reading

Ecommerce B2B blog
Ecommerce social proof blog

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Reblogged 3 days ago from blog.dotdigital.com

SEO Affiliate Programs That Have Recurring Commissions

Today, I’m going to show you 15 of the top SEO affiliate programs. If you have an audience or are building one in the SEO and digital marketing space, these are proven programs that will help grow your passive income.  Here they are, broken down by types for your convenience.        Services OutreachMama – Yep, shameless … Continue reading “SEO Affiliate Programs That Have Recurring Commissions”
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Reblogged 6 days ago from www.outreachmama.com

Link Builders Have Ruined Everything (Again)

So this just happened… Gary Illyes of Google dropped a link building bomb on Twitter. It looks like he received an unsolicited link building email and went nuclear on the guy – making sure Google’s algorithm considers his list of 700 sites worthless (allegedly). Have you ever received an unsolicited email like the one Gary … Continue reading “Link Builders Have Ruined Everything (Again)”
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Reblogged 1 week ago from www.outreachmama.com

Unicode alert: our solution for the unwelcome SMS guest

If you’ve never heard of Unicode, you’re in good company.
Many of the world’s best marketers live in ignorant bliss, oblivious to what
Unicode is.

But if you use
SMS in your business
or plan to bring it into your toolkit soon, I’m here
to tell you that Unicode should be on your radar. Why? Because it can lead to
gross overspend on your SMS campaigns if it’s not handled with care. But don’t
worry, the spoiler alert is Engagement Cloud can help .

Read on to find out how.

What is Unicode?

Unicode is basically any character that is not a standard number or Latin character like, for example, Greek or Arabic. Sadly, emojis are also Unicode 😭.

If emojis are Unicode, how can Unicode be bad? 🤷‍♀️

Unicode isn’t bad per se. It’s just that in the world of SMS,
where length matters, it can cause issues. The thing about Unicode is that it
takes up more of your character count than normal characters do.

In the SMS world, one message is 160 characters long. It’s short, but if you’re an amazing marketer (and no doubt you are) you can battle through and craft an on-point message within the limit 🙏. But if you drop just one emoji into that message to liven it up, suddenly, you’ve only got 70 characters to play with. The reason for this is that just one Unicode character in a message converts the whole message to Unicode.

So, if I’m not too heavy handed on the emojis, I’ll be fine?

If only the world were that simple. The thing is, Unicode can be like an unwelcome guest who double-dips in the hummus, ending up in your messages whether you invited it to be there or not. If you write your campaigns in programs like Microsoft Word to do a spell check before copying and pasting them into your SMS editor, characters like apostrophes can inadvertently be converted to Unicode. This can be easily missed, and you can send out an SMS campaign to 100,000 people that you thought would be 100,000 messages but was actually 200,000. Imagine breaking that news to your manager?

What can I do about it?

Unicode is just a fact of life, and we can’t prevent it creating a shorter character limit for SMS. But, with our new Unicode alert, we can make sure that it never sneaks into your SMS campaigns without your knowledge. If you have Unicode in your SMS campaign, we’ll not only let you know it’s there, but we’ll also tell you exactly which characters are the culprits, to give you the power to decide whether or not to keep them. Because after all, perhaps some emojis are worth a thousand words?  🦄

Sold. You’ve got me thinking more about how I can use SMS as a brand…

Great! With a 98% open rate within the first five minutes of receipt and close to 8% click-to-delivered rates, SMS is a marketing channel that can cut through the noise. Here are five of our favorite ways our customers are using SMS to get better results for their marketing campaigns:

1. Events marketing is hard enough without having to guess how many people will be attending. In a busy world, even if customers or prospects have time to check their email, they often forget to RSVP.  Luckily, SMS can be used as an effective reminder to RSVP to an event. Our customers have found that SMS reminders have not only increased attendance rates, but have also allowed them to better prepare as they know exactly how many people will be attending on the day.

2. Thanks to its unbeatable open rate, our customers find that SMS works great for snap sales, like one-day-only promos where customers need to read and act fast.

3. Text-to-join campaigns and competitions are one of the best ways to get customers in store to sign up to your email or SMS list.

4. Because there is a guarantee they will be read on a mobile phone, SMS campaigns are one of the most effective ways to encourage customers to download your app. As Engagement Cloud also lets you shorten and track SMS links easily, you’ll be able to measure the engagement rates of SMS campaigns versus others.

5. Rolling subscriptions are a consistent cash generator for many of our customers. Many of them have found that SMS is by far the best channel to encourage customers to re-join when their subscription is about to run out.


Unicode

Want to read on?

Learn why you need SMS here.

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Reblogged 1 week ago from blog.dotdigital.com

4 Ways To Use Social Media With Email

But why is social media so popular? Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow audiences to stay connected and connect with people they never meet in real life.

Social influencers have emerged from this and are now instrumental in many successful marketing strategies. People love to hear what other people are wearing, buying and doing. That’s why, today, 69% of people trust social influencers and peer recommendations more than they do brands.

As a result, including social proof in your email marketing campaign – if not all your marketing campaigns – is essential. Tapping into your audiences’ social feeds sounds simple, right? After all, you have their email address, and there’s no better place to start than that. But encouraging them to actively share your content is a whole other ball game.

But have no fear, we’ve got four top tips to help you:

Follow us on…

Directing subscribers to your social accounts should be high on your to-do list. Especially when they’ve just signed up.

Introducing your various social media channels should be an integral part of your welcome program. New subscribers are engaged with your brand. Make the most of it and direct them to your social channels as quickly as possible.

Whether it’s the core of your message or at the end, make your CTA clear, easy to understand, and accessible on mobile devices.

GQ social media welcome

And, don’t just think of it as part of your welcome program. Social links should be a part of every email you send.

Make sharing easy

When you’ve invested time and effort into creating engaging content, don’t let readers forget about it when they close your email.

Most web content, especially mobile-friendly web content, has an easy-to-identify share button. To increase the lifespan of your work, make it as easy as possible for subscribers to share. If they find it interesting, so may their social circle. Email subscribers are 3x more likely to share content, so use this and make it as easy as possible.

Newsletters like The Skimm do this by including sharing links at the end of every content block.

The Skimm social sharing

But that’s not the only way to encourage your audiences to spread the word about your brand. People who discover a new brand through referral marketing are 4x more likely to buy from it.

Key to getting customers to refer are incentives. Once you’ve decided what you’ll offer them, invite customers to post referrals via social media. This has the dual benefit of promoting your business and giving them more opportunities to receive your referral perks.

Maude social refer a friend

Give customers a voice

We’ve already told you how important social proof is to the modern consumer. It’s important that your social accounts are an open and friendly environment. Your audience must feel comfortable talking to you, and the best way to do this is by encouraging them to express on your social channels.

You can achieve this by frequently sharing posts where your brand has been tagged and mentioned by fans and followers.

Paravel social media email

Alternatively, directly asking for feedback has the added
benefit of empowering your customers and making them feel like a valued member
of your audience.

Bellroy social media reviews

Never forget the importance of peer-to-peer reviews. They’re becoming ever-more influential in the decision-making process, so capitalize on your customers’ social habits. Give them a voice, help them be heard, and get good publicity for your brand at the same time.

Promote your content across social

Give your content a new lease of life by repurposing it for social media. This is a useful tactic if you create editorial newsletters on a regular basis. Why not share the link to the web version of your newsletter on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook?

Sheerluxe instagram post

Or perhaps you have a dedicated landing page for each article. Share these links along with a CTA to sign up in the hopes of increasing your subscriber database.

Think about engaging ways content can be repurposed for social media. Pose a question to the audience, run a poll, turn features into a podcast, or create vox pops after an event. With each post, include a link for new subscribers.

Conclusion

Both social media and email are excellent channels from customer acquisition and retention. It’s only logical to use the one to support the other. Using the tactics outlined above, you’ll see your database grow, social followers increase, and customer engagement soar.


Suggested reading

Social media blog suggestion 1
Social media suggested blog 2
Social media suggested blog 3

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Reblogged 1 week ago from blog.dotdigital.com

5 steps to content strategy greatness

Prioritizing your content is becoming the cornerstone of every digital marketing strategy. According to eMarketer, 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content each day. There’s so much shoddy content out there that fresh, well-written content can give your brand a competitive edge and accelerate your growth.

A well-oiled content engine helps you exceed business KPIs. If you neglect content, on the other hand, your business could fall flat. And yet content is often an afterthought.

Brands sometimes concentrate more on the technical side of things, hoping that SEO works its magic and keeps users interested in their site. Other, more well-established businesses, who have the luxury of brand heritage, may underestimate content’s role in our digital economy. But, content massively impacts the user experience – even in terms of design and functionality. Content can’t be tossed aside and ignored.

If you want to get the most out of your website, it’s important to think content-first. Year-on-year growth in unique site traffic is 7.8 times higher for content marketing leaders than followers. You need to carefully design your content strategy to get you the best results possible.

Three things that shouldn’t hold you back

Time constraints. You might have campaigns flying out the door or be building landing pages left, right, and center. So, take time out to plan and produce content that complements your additional marketing activities. Time is easily manipulated – it’s not about how much time you have, but what you do with it. Make time work to your advantage.

Resource pressures. Teams and departments across the world are struggling with resource. Either there’s not enough headcount or there’s too much work. In both scenarios, your content shouldn’t suffer. Make being under-resourced yesterday’s problem. Dedicate enough resource to copywriting and content creation, or if headcount is an issue, outsource to a copy agency. Your bottom line will thank you.

Creativity shortfall. There’s an element of creativity in all of us. Plus, creativity stems from all areas of business – not just from your creatives. Blend creative flair from your designers and copywriters with insight from your thought-leaders and strategy from your C-suite executives.

The barriers to good quality content aren’t as high as you think. What’s more, with 73% of consumers purchasing a product as a result of content marketing, overcoming these obstacles will pay dividends.

Without further ado, here are five steps to help you reach content greatness:

Plan your content strategy

Strategy always starts with a review of your content’s performance over the last year; this ties into the fifth and final step of content greatness (monitor performance). Conducting an inventory and audit helps you untangle your content arsenal and decide on your strategy’s direction.

What do you want your strategy to achieve?

  • Website traffic growth
  • Increase qualified leads in the sales pipeline
  • Greater authority amid competitive pressures
  • More brand awareness among prospective customers

It’s important to understand how much engagement your content currently generates, and set this against your business goals and audience’s needs. Ensure you’re targeting the right people with a powerful brand message. Moreover, don’t forget to keep a consistent tone of voice.

Don’t forget SEO

Google may have finessed its ability to identify good content over bad, but some things never change. Keep your content strategy focused on keywords, but don’t overdo it. Steer clear of jargon and be concise. 67,000 searches are performed on Google every second – people are looking for you!

Content strategy SEO

Long-form content usually ranks higher than short-form because it contains more comprehensive information. But remember: quality trumps quantity, every time. If you’ve answered questions that your target audience has and is searching for, then your content will end up ranking higher. Plus, nearly 80% of users ignore paid ads in search results. What they’re looking for is a content match.

Evergreen is everything

Content writing is not writing, per se. It’s the composing of different words, sentences, ideas, and quotations in an order that makes sense and flows. Sometimes you’ll grab inspiration from another article or snip a cool idea you found in a blog. This is the art of a good content strategy: drawing on all of your different impressions to compile exactly what you want to say.

Once you start building a bank of great content, you’ll be able to re-purpose it to communicate a fresh idea to your audience in a new way. The secret to pleasing readers and maximizing traffic is consistent, high quality content.

Know your audience personas

One size never fits all. Content is about tailoring the message to a specific reader. Who your readers are depends on many circumstances: interests, lifestyles, demographics, schedules, income, career, etc. Your offering takes a backseat. The stories you tell should resonate with readers in the right way. Remember: you’re there to solve their problem.

According to Quora, 47% of buyers consume between three and five pieces of content before talking to a sales rep. So, for B2Bs, content marketing is the keystone to a healthy sales pipeline. Identify which personas your leads fit into and tailor content that gets them to sign on the dotted line.

Monitor content strategy performance

No matter how creative, memorable, or popular your content piece may become, everything you write and share will ultimately be judged by the impact it makes on your business’ bottom line. Presenting proof of ROI is the most important part of content measurement.

Keep an eye on your analytics regularly to gauge your readers’ behaviors. Whether you report via CRM or Google Analytics, make sure you communicate your metrics to wider business teams on the shop floor. How are people reacting to your content? More importantly, where are they going after they read each piece?

Content strategy performance

Establishing solid measurement practices from the start of every content program means you can track, analyze, and optimize your content’s performance on a continual basis. Don’t forget to set performance benchmarks to make it easier to know what ‘good’ looks like.

Closing remarks

As the consumer’s ability to search for products and services intensifies, the need for great content will only increase.

Marketers need to face up to the content conundrum: an inbalance of content generation and demand. Invest in writing more, better quality content that makes your brand stand out in the crowd. In essence, that’s what your strategy should look like.

Your aim is always to convey to potential customers your authority and knowledge in your field of expertise. They, in turn, will trust and engage in your business.


The post 5 steps to content strategy greatness appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 1 week ago from blog.dotdigital.com

In common: dotdigital’s new diversity series

If you were lucky enough to join us at the Summit earlier this year, you may have decided to pop in to one of our personal development sessions. Because to us, empowering marketers isn’t only about supplying you with the tools to work smarter. We wanted to ensure all visitors, who took time out of their busy work schedule, left our event fully equipped to be the best marketers they could be.

Your feedback
proved they were a massive success. So, we wanted to find a way to keep giving
back to the community. To share learning, support one another, and help us
develop personally, as well as professionally.

Whether it’s
breaking down stereotypes, improving physical and mental wellbeing, or breaking
the glass ceiling, we’ll be tackling the hot topics facing everyone in the
workforce today.

Building a stronger community

dotdigital is frequently
talking about how the modern world is changing the behaviors of consumers – but
it’s also changed the workplace.

We’re under pressure
to deliver results faster which is leading to a rise in stress and burnout. It’s
now acceptable to talk openly about topics such as sexuality and gender. Society
is a glorious mish-mash of cultures and personalities and organizations must
work harder to reflect this.

This change must come from within. From us. Not because businesses aren’t trying – they are – but because, to accurately reflect the workforce, the workforce needs to be the ones to shape it. And the best way to do it is to work together.

Women at work

The goal of our first In common event was exactly that. Over the past 100 years, women have taken great strides towards greater equality, and not just at work. In the UK, women finally won their hard-fought right to vote in 1918. By 2018, there’d been two female Prime Ministers and women made up over 30% of board members in FSTE 100.

These positions would
have been unthinkable for those fighting for suffrage.

And women are only
getting stronger. By 2025, it’s predicted that women will possess over 60% of the
UK’s wealth. But that certainly doesn’t mean they’ve reached the peak. There
are still many steps that need to be taken to achieve greater gender equality.

For men and women to achieve this, we need to work together, support one another, and ensure that every advancement is equal.

Women diversity In common

Sparking discussion

In common events are an exciting and safe space where like-minded people can have conversations that spark change. We want every event to reflect the needs, interests, and desires of our audience – and that’s why your feedback is vital. If you have a subject or theme you’d like us to cover, please get in touch and let us know

If you attended our first event, women at work, please be sure to send us your feedback. And be sure to keep an eye out for upcoming In common events, including our mental health awareness event in October.

Speakers at women diversity event

Thank you to each and every one of the speakers who took the time out of their busy days to make the evening a massive success.

The post In common: dotdigital’s new diversity series appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 2 weeks ago from blog.dotdigital.com

Getting closer to the action: how to keep sports fans engaged

You may think that fans, in their nature, are more engaged with
the team or sport they support than your average customer. And, in some ways,
that’s true. Your fans are already engaged. They actively want to connect with your
brand. They’re emotionally invested in you.

But that’s what makes marketing in the sports sectors so
difficult. Sports conjure up a range of emotions you simply don’t feel when you
buy a pair of trainers or book a haircut.

One day you’re elated.

via GIPHY

The next, it feels like the world has ended.

via GIPHY

Their connection to your brand is entirely emotional. So, when things are going well, especially on the field, engaging is going to be easy. Well, easier. But, when things are going badly, reactions can be erratic, to say the least.

As a sports marketer, you’ve got to stay highly tuned into your
audiences’ mood. This will keep you relevant, and relevance makes engagement a hell
of a lot easier!

This brings us nicely onto our first key takeaway from the
day:

1) Treat fans like part of the team

Fans want to be part of the action. Regardless of whether
they’re regularly attending your events or matches, you should think about every
user in your database as a part of your brand.

Exclusive insights are gold

These can come in a variety of forms, from breaking the latest news to interviews with your players and ambassadors, and competitions to win memorabilia. Depending on the type of fan they are, some content may resonate better. This is where personalization and segmenting your database come into play.

If you’re upfront and open in your welcome program, you can
ask fans what they’d like to receive in their newsletter. If they’re a distant
follower, they might not want to be so concerned with player status updates,
but they do want to know what channel and time the next game is on. Get this
information as quickly as possible to ensure you’re delivering the insight that
will engage the individual the most.

Building your community is essential

Make it as easy as possible for fans to connect – with you,
and with each other. Fan forums can be added to campaigns by including RSS
feeds when building your emails. This not only helps raise the profile of your
forums, but it’s also an invaluable source of user-generated content.

Another way you can foster a strong sense of community amongst your fans is by connecting with your influencers. Whether its social media stars who love playing badminton, or a musician who grew up near your ground, it helps fans feel closer to you, and them.

Never miss a chance to surprise and delight

Take someone from a newsletter subscriber to a member of
your fan club, by offering them the chance to win.

What they win doesn’t have to be big. It could be behind the scenes access to the locker room or a shirt signed by the team. What is important, is that you’re rewarding your fans for their loyalty. Never miss a chance to say thank you – for their support and for staying engaged.

And, don’t forget to get your sponsors involved at this stage. If you’re offering fans the chance to win a tour around your stadium, team-up with your sponsors to help get them there in style. They won’t only be delighted with your brand, but theirs too.

2) Never miss a chance to do something different

Head of Digital at Swansea
AFC
, Rebecca
Edwards-Symmons
, showed us that being brave and taking a risk, can have
amazing results.

Swansea marketing

Swansea AFC’s new American owners empowered them to try
something new –to launch an app unlike any its competitors had. It’s motivation
to do this was simple. It wanted to deliver an experience that had fans at its
core.

With the new app, the Digital team at Swansea wanted fans to
be able to download tickets, access exclusive content and live streams, as well
as offer new opportunities for its sponsors through the creation of bespoke
games.

Its goal was not about revenue, it was about the experience. By implementing single sign-on functionality across all its Swans Club accounts, the team empowered users to engage more, before, during and after games.

3) Champion collaboration

Following on from her amazing talk at the dotdigital Summit,
Fiona Watson from Science in Sport
showed the amazing power of teamwork and collaboration.

To increase its brand awareness, Science in Sport partner with brands that have similar customers but are more obvious competitors. These include the likes of Strava, Muc-off, and Garmin.

To capture new data, Science in Sport set up competitions with the chance to win free merchandise for its partners to promote across their channels. This ranged from a free signed jersey to a year’s supply of SiS sports nutrition.

4) Take inspiration from other industries

Chelsea Warrington, Partner Manager at Movable Ink, outlined three ways sports marketers can learn from other sectors to boost their customer experience.

Retail

Working for a sports brand, you more than likely have merchandise you sell to fans and members. Basically, you’re a retail brand yourself, so you should be using their tactics to boost your customer engagement.

Top retail brands are particularly efficient at using
behavioral data to influence customer actions. Using order confirmation pages
to push similar items in AI-driven product recommendation blocks, are an
amazing way to boost conversions and increase engagement.

Travel

Travel brands such as Best Western, personalize customers’ emails based on the location of their upcoming stay. It pulls in excursions and activities in the local area and suggests these to its visitors.

A sports brand can apply this when fans are traveling to an event or competition. Pull in suggestions for local bars, or car park information, to deliver relevant, engaging and helpful content to your supporters.

Media

Media brand PaddyPower uses APIs to pull in content from other websites to give subscribers the latest information about sporting events.

Sports brands can drive anticipation for upcoming events or matches by pulling in the latest information such as traffic reports, live scores, or team updates. We’re already seeing this tactic being adopted by NHL teams in North America, such as the Montreal Canadiens.

Movable ink marketing

5) Take personalization to new levels

Co-founder of Snaptivity,
Volha Paulovich, spoke about how new technologies are delivering perfectly personalized
experiences.

At Snaptivity, there is a simple formula it believes creates
perfect experiences: content + context + timing = customer engagement.

Today’s experience economy means that people are constantly switching between information sources. While attending a football match, fans can be absorbing information from any number of sources, including the pitch, their phones, and the big screens. Keeping them engaged can be an uphill battle, and that is why context and timing are as important, if not more, than the content your delivering.

Keeping things contextual, such as bearing in mind whether a team has won or lost, is essential. It demonstrates that your there with them, through the highs and the lows.

The Ashes

The post Getting closer to the action: how to keep sports fans engaged appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 2 weeks ago from blog.dotdigital.com