Is your academic and higher education marketing team ready for the holiday shopping season? It may seem like a strange question, but there is a lot that any marketer can learn from the methods utilized by retail marketers to prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The Pew Research Internet Project reports that 74 percent of adults with access to the Internet used social media networking in January of 2014, which is a fact that is not ignored by savvy retailers. Here are three of the lessons that higher education marketers can learn from the world of retail marketers.
Social Media Saavy
Retail marketers have learned some valuable lessons that can be applied to higher education marketing. For example, most marketers make the mistake of posting to their official social media networks during their work hours, but their customers are actually less likely to see them during those times since the are likely also at work. Fast Company reveals that marketers post most frequently on Facebook between one p.m. and four p.m., but that business to customer engagement rates are actually higher on the weekends and evenings across some social channels.
Retailers have also learned to combine their PR and Marketing departments efforts when it comes to social media. In many cases, there is sort of power struggle between public relations experts and marketing experts within a company to control social media, but both voices are critical when it comes to creating the social media face of a company's brand. Social media is a unique component of your brand and it's important to work in concert with public relations experts.
When it comes to providing access to products and services, higher education marketers could learn a lot from retail marketers. Companies like Walmart have created an omni-directional marketing campaign that is spread across smartphones, desktop computers, laptops, tablets and more. Consumers access sites and information from all these devices and making sure your sites are optimized for all mobile devices is key to creating access for users and consumers.
Many retailers have created apps that are specifically designed to allow access to their content, products, and services. Streamlining access and crafting smartphone apps serves to improve the overall experience you customer has, and a good app is like a private world where only your product or service exists. Allowing customers to access all the information they need from you wherever they are makes you a trustworthy brand in the eyes of your consumers. Cyber Monday is proof that customers engage with brands and companies across a mammoth variety of digital means, and a smart marketer should seize this opportunity.
Reaching out to your consumers who have, in the past, shown previous interest in your product and services is a key marketing strategy utilized by retailers every Black Friday season. According to HubSpot, almost 85 percent of retailers will contact their customer base through an email about upcoming Black Friday deals, a statistic that increased by 5 percent from last year.
Simply reminding your customers about upcoming events is an easy and effective way to reach out and remain engaged with them. Just touching base with them keeps your brand in their mind, but don't overdo it or it'll feel oppressive.
At Verge Pipe Media, we're not afraid to test best practices and lessons learned across a variety of industries to help find the right way to tell your brand story. Contact us today to learn more, or download our guide to integrating traditional and inbound marketing.