E-Commerce Growth Expected This Holiday Season

 

Online marketers need to brace themselves for a good holiday season. That’s according to a panel of digital marketing experts who predict online sales will grow 12% in 2011.  Holiday sales are considered to be sales that take place in the months of November and December. 12% growth would match the same growth online sales experienced last year. In fact, online sales have grown every year since 2005 with the exception of 2008 where it was down 4%.

Most news regarding the global economy is doom & gloom. So how can these experts expect growth in an unforgiving recession? A high share of online consumers are affluent. These consumers are apt to spending a good amount of discretionary income when the stock market is healthy. But even stocks have been lagging and inconsistent this year. All of the quotes tied to the experts who predict a 12% growth in online sales this season allude to these points. Nevertheless, they’re still convinced that it’s going to be busy for ecommerce this holiday season. It’s worth noting that the economy was definitely an issue last year when ecommerce growth was 12% as well. We will hope for the best and know soon enough.  

 

Social Media is on the Rise

Consumer usage of social media continues to grow in the United States and around the world. Social media is so much more than just a way to communicate with friends and family. Today, marketers are becoming more engaged in what social media can do for marketing. The result, marketers are taking involvement to the next level. Next year, 4 in 5 U.S. businesses with at least 100 employees will take part in marketing via social media. This has increased by 5% from 2009 and is projected to grow in 2011 and 2012.

Social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter will be used heavily in 2011 by marketers as they make their presence on these sites more prevalent. Social media is ranked third along with converting traffic, where marketers plan to focus their online marketing budget for 2011. Since social media and online marketing is becoming one of the main outlets for marketers to use, spending for social media will continue to rise.

This positive correlation of social media and usage provides businesses with the opportunity to grow and reach a wider audience. Social media has many benefits to offer businesses. Social media allows for marketers to find out more information about consumers, with the goal of building a relationship with those people. Since consumer usage of social media is on the rise, there are more people out there to make aware of what your business has to offer and how it is different from others. The possibilities are endless using social media and the outlook is positive for the future.

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Top Tips for Marketing Success

There are endless marketing tips for success; you can find them online, in books, and in seminars. Sure, it’s great to get new tips to make your business more successful, but what do you with them after you get them? There are so many tips coming at you from the left and right that it’s difficult to sort through them and find the ones that work for you. What’s the first step? Sit down with your endless pile of tips and customize them to your personal goals. You might find that a couple of tailored tips will take your marketing strategies a long way.

Here are the top three tips:

1. Set and follow clear specific goals – It’s important to clearly identify each goal and develop specific objectives and tactics needed to complete these goals. The goals serve as guidelines to follow throughout your marketing attempts.

2. Maintain a drive and energy system – It is difficult to maintain drive and energy toward marketing goals. It’s easy to have a lot of enthusiasm at the idea generation stage, but energy tends to die out if you don’t receive immediate results. It’s important to renew this energy at each stage of your marketing strategy.

3.Communicate – Tell people what you are doing, why are you doing it, and how you are doing it. The more people that know and understand your marketing goals, the more help and positive feedback you will receive throughout the process.

Ways to Use Social Media

  1. Buy Ad space on social media sites.
  2. Build a base of customer/client connections on LinkedIn. Request introductions to other potential customers/clients through these original connections to continue to expand your base.
  3. Start a company blog.  Many companies blog to keep in touch with their customers.  For example Toyota has an” Open Road Blog.”
  4. Start actively blogging on related blogs or on the blogs of interested individuals in our target market.
  5. Build an interactive Webpage as an offshoot to your main page to further explain a new product service and to generate interest.
  6. Join Facebook and create an interesting profile.
  7. Provide links to dig, reddit and RSS feeds.
  8. Connect through twitter
  9. Build a MySpace page and use it to blog and post videos.

Direct Mail Marketing vs. E-Mail Marketing

When attempting to promote products for your company, you, as a marketer, must decide which marketing strategy would be the best bet for your budget.  Especially in the current struggling economy, marketers need to figure out what will be the most successful and cost-effective option.

direct mail marketing postcards and flyersSending out direct mail could be a very expensive option, especially in comparison to e-mail marketing.  All of the printing costs and shipping costs add up.  The question you must ask yourself is “Is it worth it?”  Does the return on investment outweigh the initial costs?  Also, the waste generated from direct mail does not make it the most environmentally-friendly option.  Although you can have your direct mail pieces printed on recycled paper with eco-friendly UV inks or renewable soy-based inks, there is no guarantee that the recipient will actually recycle the mail when they are finished.  There are benefits to direct  mail marketing campaigns.  They are able to gather a higher number of leads, compared to other marketing techniques.  They add a personal touch to your marketing campaign, and the recipients are much more likely to see a flyer or postcard, compared to an e-mail that can be deleted without even opening it.  A custom design CD/DVD mailer could attract more attention and the recipient might spend a longer amount of time looking at it.

e-mail marketingE-mail marketing strategies are considerably cheaper than direct mail marketing campaigns, but they may not have as high of a return.  In fact, most e-mail service providers filter out junk or spam mail from being sent to the user’s inbox, and sometimes legitimate e-mail marketing subscriptions accidentally get flagged as spam mail.  There is a very small chance that the recipient will actually open and read the e-mail, even if they subscribed to the e-mail advertisements.  But if it does work, it can get out to a large number of people at little or no cost.

Both direct mail marketing strategies and e-mail marketing strategies have their advantages and disadvantages.  A campaign that has a mix of the two strategies could be very successful.  Direct mail pieces that are sent out should at least have a website on them that recipients could easily visit.  If there is no way that consumers could respond from the ease of their own home, without having to mail something back out, the response rate may not be very high.  This, in turn with e-mail marketing could increase your rate of response and online sales.