Three Ways to Use Digital Marketing to Gather Research

July 6, 2011

By Grace Bello

Your brand may already have a social media presence and email marketing strategy. However, are you using these platforms to hear what your consumers are saying about you?

Here are three actionable ways to utilize your organization's digital marketing tools as a listening device rather than a loudspeaker.

Test subject lines.

Sure, email is an inexpensive and efficient way to get your message across. And advanced email marketers such as yours truly utilize A/B tests to optimize their brand's email open and click-through rates. The next step, then, is taking a hint from the winning subject line and learning what your audience is more interested in.

To use an example from a recent ANA email test, I compared results for the subject line "Masters of Marketing Conference and Webinar" versus "Masters of Marketing Conference in Phoenix, AZ and Webinar." The singular addition of the event location boosted click-through rates an additional 60 percent. That is, without discounting, an online ad buy, or email list buy, we gained a significant uptick in email engagement.

Clearly, the ANA's audience is particularly interested in events that take place outside of our home city of New York. (Good thing, too, as our annual Masters of Marketing Conference in Phoenix, Ariz. is sure to be the premier industry event of the year.) Based on your email marketing analytics, what piques your audience's interest?

One tweet, three ways.

Try writing in two or three distinctly different tones on Twitter when promoting the same piece of content. Monitor which message got the most retweets and responses. For instance, our recent missive "4 tips for building a better #blog" got retweeted to 2,306 followers. Had we the time, we could have tested the same link with three different tones, such as:

  • 4 tips for building a better blog
  • Do you want to write more compelling blog posts? Here's how.
  • Blogging could lead to 67% more sales leads! Get blog tips now.

We could then see whether the straightforward, teasing, or authoritative tone fared best. And from then on, we could skew our messages to fit what our audience responds to the most.

Therefore, Twitter, just like your email marketing messages, can serve as a testing ground. Use it wisely.

What clicks?

When it comes to your email marketing, which stories get the most clicks? In my D2C days, anything above the fold garnered the highest CTRs. Whether it was the company logo, the header or the top navigation panel, or a big "click here" button, readers would rather handpick their content from the website rather than from the email itself.

However, here at the ANA, relevant email content is king. The more informative and of-the-moment stories in our emails grab the most reader clicks. Therefore, I look to email analytics to guide which content we should continue to promote from our Marketing Knowledge Center.

Other opportunities to gauge your best content include keyword searches on your landing page as well as analytics reports. In the vein of a survey, use this kind of data to assess what your audience is interested in and, by extension, how to better serve your customers.

What other digital marketing data do you use to guide your brand?

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