9 April 2015

Using digital marketing tools in communication and event management campaigns

If you think Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), pay-per-click advertising and web analytics only belong to the toolkit of an internet marketer promoting an e-commerce website, think twice.  Digital marketing tools have become increasingly important for public relations and public affairs professionals to implement and measure the success of both B2B and B2C communication campaigns as well as for event management.
Let’s take web analytics as an example.  E-commerce websites rely heavily on analytics to gather intelligence on where their customers come from (is it via a search engine, Facebook ad or another website?) and the actions they perform on their website. Having visibility into the channels that are working and the content or features that are providing the best experience to transform visitors into customers is a must have.
But how can we use the same tools for a corporate digital platform, online event or campaign website? A variety of online actions exist that can be measured that reach beyond purely transactional, such as the time spent on a particular page engaging with content, the number of times a video has been watched or position papers downloaded. While it may not directly translate into sales or revenue, these data points help identify whether the platform’s content is working and that behaviours we are seeking to drive are being taken.
Case in point: advertising your conference or speaker participation via social platforms in order to boost registration rates or simply raise awareness about your organisation’s goals among your target audience may provide the essential boost that earned media alone may not achieve.  
One of the clear advantages of social and search engine advertising is that it allows you to target specific audience demographics like never before. Whether your targeting is based on geographic, professional, gender, age or specific behaviours such as likes or dislikes, the data available from these social and search networks – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Google – are considerable and allow you to easily zero in on very specific audience segments with whom you might share an affinity – they may work in the same sector, have engaged with similar content before or follow the key opinion leaders from your industry/sector.
By taking a more targeted approach, you are able to increase the relevance of your call to action to this specific audience. The result: more people clicking on your content because your ad is seen less as an intrusion or spam and viewed as more relevant and valuable.
Our own experience also continues to reinforce the importance of SEO (search engine optimization) techniques to raise awareness about a particular issue. As more and more people search for health information, for example, or the perils and benefits of consuming a certain food ingredient, the benefits of ensuring that your digital platform (website or social) rank highly among organic search results is more important than ever.
One of the most important advantages of these digital marketing tools is that they allow you to more accurately measure the campaign’s progress, re-calibrate or even terminate it in real time by basing decisions on the hard data and not on a hunch. In times when communication budgets are tight, these tools provide full transparency when it comes to calculating costs and return on investment, which is certainly valued by most clients.

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