While around half of Australia’s small businesses still do not have a website, it appears that those who are keeping pace with the advance of the internet are becoming increasingly savvy in how they use it for marketing purposes.
The Big Australia digital report released this week by Responsys shows that businesses are getting better at singling out and targeting their customer base.
The report’s survey of 125 digital marketers found that 74% are prioritising targeting of campaigns rather than volume.
However, knowledge gaps do remain, with 57% of respondents admitting that their businesses aren’t fully aware of how to properly execute successful online marketing activity.
“The world of marketing has shifted dramatically with the customer engagement now sitting front-and-centre of organisation’s marketing efforts,” says Jodie Sangster, CEO of digital marketing industry body ADMA.
“Australian companies have recognised the need for ‘customer-centric’ marketing — timely, relevant, valuable communications that aim to engage rather than sell.”
“Australian businesses have responded to this shift — with three in four organisations prioritising tailoring their campaigns over increasing the volume — demonstrating that marketers are moving away from ‘batch and blast’ techniques in favour of more relevant, successful forms of communication.”
“However, more needs to be done. As consumer expectation continues to grow and organisations are required to deliver customer-centric experiences, organisations will need to gain a deeper understanding of their customers through data analytics and insights.”
So what are the key online marketing trends that start-ups should be aware of? We’ve picked out five of the report’s choicest cuts:
1. Email remains king but the approach is shifting
“To no one’s surprise, and even with the absolute explosion of mobile, email remains the ‘go-to channel’ in Australia for power marketing,” says Simon O’Day, VP Asia Pacific at Responsys.
Email campaigns soaks up the majority of marketers’ time, with the research indicating that just 3% of web-savvy businesses do not use email to reach out to customers.
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2. The focus on Twitter doesn’t match the user numbers
Barely a day goes by without a conflated Twitter outrage making headlines, either through a hastily-organised populist campaign or a regrettable tweet sent by a business in error.
But while Twitter is undoubtedly a useful way to offer customer service, offers and content to followers of your start-up, it appears that its user numbers do not tally with the amount of attention paid to it.
While 82% of marketers use Twitter, only 1% less than those deploying Facebook, the gap between the two social media giants in terms of Australian users is rather wider.
3. Content is key
Want to get people clicking through to your website and purchasing your goods or services? Then you need to focus on your content, going by the priorities of Australian digital marketers.
Creative content and the subject line of email campaigns are considered the top two ways to improve campaigns, while offers have overtaken the timing of campaigns in importance over the past year.
4. Success is defined in clicks
Once you send out an email with a juicy offer or piece of content on it, how do you judge if it has been a success?
Nearly eight in 10 businesses cite click rates, with a further 70% identifying open rates. Growth of customer database is picked by 43% of respondents; a trend Responsys says is “encouraging” as businesses start to focus on engaging with targeted consumers, rather than blanket email campaigns.
5. Social media and targeting are the new priorities
Over the next 12 months, the spending priorities of marketers are clear – 68% will be boosting their resources around social media with a further 62% bolstering their investment in mobile.
Responsys says there are now 29 million registered mobile phones in Australia, with 52% of them being smartphones.
Another key priority is targeting. Three in four marketers are aiming to get to know their customers a little better in 2013.